Friday, January 29, 2016

Daniel Benjamin and King's Indian

I won a chess game vs Life Master Dan Benjamin in the King's Indian Defence and the Saemisch Variation. The catch is that at the time he was not yet a master. A few months later he made a huge jump in his rating.

A key aspect of our game was my attempt to play a Blackmar-Diemer Gambit after 1.d4 Nf6 2.f3. My hope was 2...d5 3.e4 dxe4 4.Nc3 which is a BDG. After 2...c5 3.d5 White can play more original lines, but I was happy going from Benoni to King's Indian.

Danny Benjamin saw his rapid rise to master playing other kids and adults. Daniel took lessons from chess teacher Dan Heisman. Within a year Daniel Benjamin saw his rating go flying past me. His rating rose to 2400 when he got to high school and backed off only slightly. Benjamin played over 300 games at the master level as a teenager.

Dr. Daniel J. Benjamin went to Harvard and Cornell. His expertise is in economics, psychology and research in things beyond what I understand. I wish him well.

Sawyer - Benjamin, Hatboro, PA 26.01.1989 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 c5 3.d5 d6 4.e4 Nbd7 5.c4 g6 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.Bg5 0-0 8.Qd2 Qa5 9.Bd3 a6 10.Nge2 Ne5 11.0-0 Bd7 [11...h6! 12.Bh4 (not 12.Bxh6? Bxh6 13.Qxh6 Nxd3-+) 12...Bd7=] 12.a4 Qb4 13.b3 Rab8? [13...Nxd3 14.Qxd3 Qa5=] 14.Rab1 b5 15.axb5 axb5 16.cxb5 Bxb5 17.Bxb5 Rxb5 18.Nxb5 Qxd2? [18...Qxb5 19.b4 Nc4 20.Qd3+-] 19.Bxd2 Rb8 20.Nbc3 Nd3 21.Nc1 Nb4 22.N3a2 Na6 [or 22...Nc2 23.Rb2+-] 23.Nd3 Nd7 24.Kh1 Bd4 25.Rfc1 Nb4 26.Ndxb4 cxb4 27.Nxb4 Be5 28.Bh6 Rxb4 29.Rc8+ Nf8 30.Rxf8# 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Purple Dutch Defence vs O'Hearn

It's funny the things you remember about your opponents. As I recall Jim O'Hearn lived in Portland, Oregon. What I remember was that he wrote out his postcards with chess moves using the color purple. Recently I went to one of my favorite restaurants and waitress had me sign the bill with a purple pen. That reminded me of my opponent Jim from long ago.

Jim O'Hearn takes on my Dutch Defence Classical Variation where I played 6...d6 and 7...Qe8. In the mid-1980s I played very little chess while raising a family. Soon I would fall in love with the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit and renew my chess interest. I had Black in three of my four APCT games vs Jim O'Hearn. My score vs him was two wins and two draws. Below is our final game.

I earned an APCT Life Achievement Certificate for finishing more than 200 games there. American Postal Chess Tournaments run by Helen and Jim Warren for over 30 years. Helen directed the tournaments and Jim handled the business finances. The made their money through membership dues, entry fees and selling chess books.

My Chess Training Repertoire this Thursday covers the Dutch Defence. Sign up if you want to receive it by email.

O'Hearn - Sawyer, corr APCT 1985 begins 1.d4 e6 2.Nf3 f5 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 Be7 5.0-0 0-0 6.c4 d6 7.Nc3 Qe8 [A critical line is 7...Ne4 8.Qd3+/=] 8.Nd2 Nc6 9.d5 Nd8 10.e4 e5 11.f4 exf4 12.gxf4 fxe4 [12...Qg6=] 13.Ndxe4 Nxe4 14.Nxe4 [14.Bxe4+/=] 14...Qg6 15.Kh1 Bf5 16.Qf3 b6 17.Rg1 Bf6 18.Nxf6+ Qxf6 19.Qf2 [19.Bd2=] 19...Nf7 20.Be3 Nh6 21.Bf3 Rf7 22.Bd4 Qd8 23.Rg5 Bd7? [23...Bg6=/+] 24.Rag1 Nf5 25.Bc3 g6? [25...Qe8 26.R1g2+/-] 26.Bh5 [White is winning with 26.Rxf5 Bxf5 27.Qd4!+-] 26...Qe7 27.Re1 Qd8 28.Bd1 [White would be winning with 28.Bxg6 hxg6 29.Qg2+-] 1/2-1/2

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Monday, January 25, 2016

Gene Simmons Move Your Chess Piece Forward

I am from Maine. You find it in the northeast corner of the United States. I listen to business marketing experts such as Mike From Maine and John Lee Dumas with his EO Fire podcast. We were from Maine even if we don't live there now.

Gene Simmons, lead singer of KISS, contacted John Lee Dumas to be interviewed. Simmons told JLD how important it is in life to communicate clearly. Imagine you are applying for a job along with others. The man who has the power to hire you sets your resume aside and says, "So tell me about yourself." Gene Simmons said, "those first few words you open your mouth and say... will either move your chess piece forward and get you closer to getting that job, or you're going to go right back in line."

Ray Haines from Maine moves his chess pieces forward. He won a Colle System with his own style of play. Ray played a Game/30 vs JOACHIMELBEN from Germany. Ray kept fighting and was rewarded. Haines noted at his 30th move: "I missed the best line, but this is a fast time control and I played the first idea I had. The notes that follow would have been stronger." He added Rybka analysis below.

Haines - Joachimelben, Chess24, 23.01.2016 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e3 c6 [If Black wants a Slav type set-up, it might make sense to play 2...Bf5 here.] 3.Bd3 Nf6 4.Nf3 Bg4 5.Nbd2 Nbd7 6.h3 Bh5 7.Qe2 Qc7 8.c4 [8.e4 looks good here with slightly better open lines for White.] 8...dxc4 [White stands better after this natural move. Black could play more aggressively with 8...e5!=] 9.Nxc4 b5 10.Ncd2 e5 11.g4 Bg6 12.dxe5 Nxe5 13.Nxe5 Qxe5 14.Nf3 [14.f4 Bxd3 15.fxe5 Bxe2 16.Kxe2 Nd7 17.Nf3=] 14...Qc7 [Backing off leaves White with a good game. Black is better after the subtle move 14...Qd5!=/+ due to White's weak points at d3, f3, and h3.] 15.0-0 Bd6 16.a4 b4 17.b3 0-0 18.Bb2 Nd5?! [18...Ne4=] 19.Rac1 Rfe8 20.Bxg6 hxg6 21.Qc4 Rac8 22.Rfd1 Qe7 23.Qd4 f6 24.Nh4 [Houdini found that combination 24.Rxc6! Rxc6 25.Qxd5+ Qe6 26.Qxe6+ Rxe6 27.Nd4+/-] 24...Be5 25.Nxg6 Qf7 26.Nxe5 fxe5 27.Qe4 Rf8 28.Rd2 Nf6 29.Qxe5 Qxb3 30.Qe7 [Rybka 4: 30.g5! Nh5 31.g6 Nf6 32.Qf5 Rcd8 33.Rxd8 Rxd8 34.Bxf6 gxf6 35.Rxc6 Qd1+ 36.Kh2 Qd7 37.Qxf6 b3 38.Ra6 Rf8 39.Qb2 Qc7+ 40.f4 Rb8 41.Re6 Qc2+ 42.Qxc2 bxc2 43.Rc6+- "] 30...Rf7 31.Rd8+ [31.Qe5!=] 31...Rxd8 [31...Kh7!-+] 32.Qxd8+ Rf8 33.Qd4 Qxa4 34.g5 Nh5 35.g6 Qb5 36.Rc5 Qe2 37.Qh4 Qxb2? [Black draws with 37...Qd1+ 38.Kh2 Qe2 39.Kg2 Qf3+ 40.Kg1=] 38.Qc4+ 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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Friday, January 22, 2016

Sozin Sicilian Bachler vs Fawbush

The classical Sicilian Defence with 6.Bc4 is known as the Sozin variation. Bobby Fischer specialized in that line 50 years ago. It still works well, but as in most Sicilian lines, Black equalizes with good play. In some ways it is like the Italian Game or the Scotch Gambit. The bishop at c4 aims at key squares d5, e6, f7 and g8.

Here is the game Kevin L. Bachler vs George E. Fawbush in the Sozin. I knew these both as strong postal chess players 30 years ago. I played them both. Bachler beat me in our only game.

Like me, Fawbush was a very active postal player. Fawbush and I met many times. He crushed me a bunch, but a couple of the wins I had vs Fawbush came at key moments in my chess career. In the game below, "G.E.F." (as his moves were signed) wins out during long battle. Fawbush was an APCT Life Master.

Bachler - Fawbush, corr 1982 begins 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 Nc6 7.Bb3 Be7 8.f4 Qa5 [8...0-0 9.Be3=] 9.Qd3 [9.0-0 d5 10.Nxc6 bxc6 11.e5=] 9...0-0 10.0-0 [10.Bd2=] 10...Nxd4 11.Qxd4 d5 12.Be3 dxe4 13.Nxe4 Rd8 [13...b6=/+] 14.Qc3 Qxc3 15.Nxc3 Ng4 16.Bf2 Nxf2 17.Kxf2 Bc5+ 18.Kg3 Bd7 19.Ne4 Bd4 20.c3 Bc6 [20...Bb6=/+] 21.Ng5 Bf6 22.Nf3 a5 23.Rad1 a4 24.Bc4 a3 25.bxa3 Bxc3 26.Bb3 Kf8 27.Rxd8+ Rxd8 28.Rd1 Ra8 29.f5?! [29.a4 Bf6=/+] 29...e5 30.Ng5 e4 [30...Ke7-/+] 31.Kf4 Re8 32.Nxh7+ Kg8 [32...Ke7=] 33.Ng5 e3 34.Bxf7+ Kf8 35.Bc4 [35.Bxe8!+/-] 35...Bd2 36.Be2 Ra8 37.Nf3 Ra4+ 38.Kg3 Ba5 [38...Rxa3=] 39.Rd3 [39.Nd4+/=] 39...Bc7+ 40.Kh3 Be4 41.Rd4 Bxf3 42.Rxa4 Bxe2 43.Re4 Bb6 44.Re6 Bd3 [44...Bc5-+] 45.g4 Bf1+ 46.Kg3 e2 47.h4 Ba5 48.Kf2 e1Q+ 49.Rxe1 Bxe1+ 50.Kxe1 Bh3 51.g5 Bxf5 52.h5 Be6 53.Kd2 Bxa2 54.Kc3 Bf7 55.h6 gxh6 56.gxh6 Be8 57.Kc4 [57.Kb4 Bh5-+] 57...Ba4 58.Kd5 b5 59.Ke6 Kg8 60.Kf6 Kh7 61.Kg5 Bd1 62.Kf5 Kxh6 63.Kf6 Bc2 64.Ke5 Kg5 65.Kd5 Kf4 66.Kd4 Ba4 67.Kd3 Kf3 68.Kd4 Ke2 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Harabor Beats London System

Mihai Harabor beat my London System using Queen's Indian set-up. Black put bishops on b7 and e7. He completed his development in a very compact manner. Then he fired back at the White center. I had a chance for a slight edge, but frankly, I was outplayed.

After my early wins in the Sicilian and French vs Harabor, he went on to become a strong correspondence player. His current ICCF rating is 2285 based on 429 games. My ICCF rating is 2157 based on 65 games. I had moments of brilliance. I won 26 USCF postal games in a row and was rated well over 2200.

In the 1990s after my first book was published, my play fell apart. I spent more time on writing than on keeping my skills sharp. I love writing. It was annoying to see my rating fall hundreds of points. After 20 years and 1000 games, I gave up correspondence play. I turned to blitz chess and returned to writing.

In 1993 Chess Digest published the London System by Andrew Soltis. It lists me as a Research Assistant for that book but not based on this game!

Sawyer (2003) - Harabor (2217), corr APCT Q-171 (12), 08.1993 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.Bf4 c5 4.c3 b6 5.e3 Bb7 6.Nbd2 Be7 7.h3 0-0 8.Bd3 d6 [The alternative is 8...Nc6 9.0-0 when Black will need to make a decision about where to place his d-pawn.] 9.0-0 Nbd7 [9...Nc6 10.Qe2 is often played.] 10.Bh2 [10.Re1= Rybka, Stockfish & Komodo] 10...Re8 11.Nc4 Nf8 [11...Qc7=] 12.Qe2 [12.dxc5! dxc5 13.Nce5 Ng6 14.Bb5+/=] 12...b5 13.Ncd2 c4 14.Bc2 a6 [14...d5= closes in Black's light squared bishop, but it also fights for e4.] 15.e4! Ng6 16.Rad1 Qc7 17.Rfe1 [17.e5!?] 17...e5 18.dxe5?! [Not a good plan. Better is 18.Nf1 with play similar to a Ruy Lopez.] 18...dxe5 19.a3? Bc5 20.Nf1 Nf4 21.Qd2? [21.Bxf4 exf4=/+] 21...Rad8 22.Qc1 Rxd1 23.Qxd1 Rd8 [23...Qb6!-+] 24.Qc1 N6h5 25.Ng3 [25.Ne3 f6-/+] 25...Qb6 26.Nxh5 Bxf2+ 27.Kh1 Nxh5 28.Rd1 Rxd1+ 29.Qxd1 Ng3+ 30.Bxg3 Bxg3 31.Qd7 g6 32.Nxe5 Qf2! 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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Monday, January 18, 2016

French Defence Tarrasch vs Harabor

The French Defence can be attacked with pawns or pieces. The Tarrasch Variation 3.Nd2 allows White more open piece play. In the 3...Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 line Black seeks counter play with the moves 5...c5 and 9...f6 to open both bishop files.

Here I review games by Mihai Harabor. Our French Defence and Sicilian Defence were played when we were up and coming postal chess players in 1980. In my next post I look at the game we played 13 years later when we both much more experience.

This French Tarrasch saw us play a popular 3.Nd2 Nf6 line. White attacks the e-file and e6 in particular. Black hopes his piece activity compensates for this weakness. Black got too aggressive. His thematic ...e5 counter attack in the center did not work well on this occasion. White ends up with an extra bishop after some tactics.

My Chess Training Repertoire this Thursday covers the French Defence. Sign up if you want to receive it by email.

Sawyer (2000) - Harabor (2100), corr CCLA 1980 begins 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.Bd3 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.Ne2 Qb6 8.Nf3 cxd4 9.cxd4 f6 10.exf6 Nxf6 11.0-0 Bd6 12.Nf4 0-0 13.Re1 Bd7 14.Be3 [14.Nxe6 Rfe8 15.Bf5=] 14...Qc7 [14...Rae8 15.g3=] 15.g3 e5? [15...Rac8 16.Ng5+/-] 16.dxe5 Nxe5 [16...Bxe5 17.Ng5+/-] 17.Nxe5 Bxe5 18.Rc1 Bc6 [18...Qd8 19.Nxd5+-] 19.Ne6 Qf7 20.Nxf8 Rxf8 21.Rc2 Qd7 22.Bc5 Re8 23.Rce2 Bd6 [23...Qc7 24.Bxa7+-] 24.Rxe8+ Nxe8 25.Rxe8+ Qxe8 26.Bxd6 Qe6 27.Bf4 d4 28.Qe2 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Friday, January 15, 2016

9 Ways Ruy Lopez is Reliable

Why is the Ruy Lopez so reliable? Chess masters trust this opening from both sides of the board. They have for 150 years. My first tournament game was a Ruy Lopez when Boris Spassky was world champion. Bobby Fischer won a Ruy Lopez in game 10 of the 1972 match when the title changed hands. Much of the world calls this the Spanish Opening after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5.

Consider nine reasons masters love Ruy Lopez.
1. It is completely sound but not a forced draw.
2. There are very few early piece exchanges.
3. Any piece might become useful and active.
4. There are lines to please any style of player.
5. Both sides have options for pawn structures.
6. Middlegames strategy influences the result.
7. Tactics are the reason for strategical moves.
8. Club players like to copy master openings.
9. Masters understand what to do and why.

One way I test openings is to play vs chess engines. I copy what computer plays vs me in multiple blitz games, changing colors after every game. Typically vs a strong engine in the same opening I lose as White, lose as Black, lose as White, etc. But not always. Sometimes I win or draw.

Shredder chose the Ruy Lopez Chigorin 9...Na5. I obtained a good position but let it slip on move 32. After my blunder, I offered a draw. Fortunately it was accepted.

Sawyer (2002) - Shredder 8 (3322), Florida, 14.02.2006 begins 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 Na5 10.Bc2 c5 11.d4 Qc7 12.Nbd2 cxd4 13.cxd4 Nc6 14.Nb3 a5 15.Be3 a4 16.Nbd2 Bd7 17.Rc1 Qb7 18.Qe2 Rfe8 19.Bd3 Rab8 20.dxe5 dxe5 [20...Nxe5 21.Nxe5 dxe5 22.Bc5=] 21.Bc5 Nh5 22.g3 Nb4 23.Nxe5 Nf6 24.Nxd7 Qxd7 25.Bb1 Qxh3 26.e5 Ng4 27.Nf1 g6 28.Bxe7 Rxe7 29.Rc5 Re6 30.Rxb5 Rxb5 31.Qxb5 Nc6 32.Qxa4? [32.f4! Nd4 (or 32...Nh2 33.Re3+/-) 33.Qd3 Nf5 34.Qd8+ Kg7 35.Bxf5 gxf5 36.Qg5+ Kf8 37.Qxf5 Rh6 38.Qe4+-. Now Black could be up the Exchange for a pawn after my 32.Qxa4? Ncxe5 33.Rxe5 Rxe5 34.Be4 Nf6 35.Bg2 Qg4-/+] 1/2-1/2

You may also like: Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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