Saturday, April 30, 2016

Dutch Mama Ain’t Happy

There’s an old saying, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” In chess you have to keep your queen happy, or your family will be unhappy.

The White family in this Dutch Defence game kept asking their queen to do more things. “Mama, can you watch over the light squared bishop? How about the other bishop too? Mama, can you watch over the d-pawn? The c-pawn? The a-pawn? Can you protect the king from the Black queen?” Mama was not happy!

But first, Ray Haines provides a note: “I played Lance Beloungie in round 3. We have played many times in the past in Aroostook County. We both traveled 5 hours to the south to play in the Maine State Closed Championship. We wanted to play new people. We were not real happy about having to play each other. Lance had a lower score than I did in the event, but his rating went up, so he had a good result.”

Haines added, “We both play the Dutch defense so he knows the opening that I play. It still seemed like the best choice for me against his move order. I won the game.”

Ray explained 13...e5. “I played pawn to king four with the idea of giving up the rook for the bishop. My pieces are all pointing at the white king. I know that my computer does not like the move, but when I had it play out the game from that point I won. Lance saw the rook could be taken but did not think it was safe to take it, I do agree with the computer. Computers are good, but they do not understand the idea of a positional sac. Here I have 2 bishops, a good knight and my rook can support my pawns.”

Things did not go well for White. In view of Black's compensation, White chose not to play 14.Bg5 and win the Exchange. Then White gave his poor queen too much to handle. The last straw was when his knight abandoned the queen with 19.Nh3? The Black used the same rook he had earlier tried to sacrifice for his final winning move 20…Rf2! This threatens to capture the White queen or to play a devastating check by the Black queen.

Beloungie - Haines, Maine State Championship (4), 10.04.2016 begins 1.d4 f5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.g3 [3.Bg5 is the standard continuation after 2.Nc3.] 3...g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.e4 fxe4 [Or 5...Nxe4 6.Nxe4 fxe4 7.Bxe4 d5=] 6.Nxe4 0-0 7.Be3 [7.Nxf6+ exf6 (7...Bxf6 8.Nf3 d5 9.0-0+/=) 8.Ne2 d5 9.0-0+/=] 7...d5 [7...Nxe4 8.Bxe4 d5 9.Bg2 Bf5 10.c3 Qd6=] 8.Nxf6+ Rxf6 9.Ne2 c6 10.Qd2 Bf5 [10...Rf8 11.0-0-0 Nd7=] 11.h4 h5 12.0-0-0 Nd7 13.f3 e5!?  [13...Nb6 14.b3 Qd6=] 14.Rdg1 [14.Bg5!+/- wins the Exchange.] 14...Qf8 15.c3 [15.Kb1=] 15...Nb6 [15...Re8=/+] 16.b3 e4 17.fxe4 dxe4 18.Nf4 Nd5 19.Nh3? [19.Kb2 Nxe3 20.Qxe3 c5=/+] 19...Bxh3 20.Bg5 Rf2! 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
Copyright 2016 Home Page / Author Page /
Sign Up for free weekly Chess Training Repertoire updates

Friday, April 29, 2016

Workman Makes Haines Work

The Ray Haines Ruy Lopez vs Bradley Workman in the 2016 Maine State Championship raises possibilities to offer coaching advice. Ray was interested in what I thought about his game. Here I pretend that he asked me three questions. My answers attempt to offer help. Comments from Ray Haines are in quotations.

“I decided to play a gambit line in the Ruy Lopez, which has worked well for me in the past. He did not take the gambit pawn.”

Question 1: What about my choice of opening?

1.e4 and 1.d4 are both good for you. You play well in active positions. Ruy Lopez is a good choice if you do not want to memorize a lot. After 6 moves White had not moved anything on the queenside. Ruy Lopez is like a slow tank. It cannot be hurried, and it cannot be stopped. Moves like 7.d3 or 7.Re1 seem better with d4 later.

That gambit made life easier for Black. His first plan would last to about move nine. After six, he had moved three pieces. His plan might include Bc5, d6 and 0-0. After those moves it becomes more difficult for Black to avoid mistakes which give you targets.

Your rush to quickly open the center gave his developed pieces something good to do. So he does not need to find a plan. All he needs to do is attack before you develop.

“I did not check his rating before the game. He did things, which may have distracted me a little. I would make my move. He would look at it. Then he would get up from the table without making a move. He would either leave the playing room or walk around looking at the other games. He then would come back to the table and sit down, but before making his move he would look at the floor. He did this with the first 10 or 15 moves.”

Question 2: How should I react to my opponent’s behavior?

He was not one of the masters rated above you in this event. It sounds to me like his were normal nervous actions of a young man who does not play in tournaments very often. As much as possible, I suggest you ignore him. Analyze on his time.

“My first small mistake was on move 12… I helped him develop his king bishop… The next mistake should have cost me the game because I missed the fact that he had a double pin on my queen bishop. This let him win a piece… The game did not end at move 51 but because of the time trouble I did not write down the right moves. The game went on for 20 more moves… We traded off all of the pieces at the end, which forced a draw.”

Question 3: What do you think about how I handled the game?

The gambit chosen jump started Black’s game. Database results slightly favor Black in that line. I agree with your assessment of move 12. His pin of your bishop on move 19 was a challenge.

Your opponent appears to be an improving player who had the better position throughout most of the game. He missed several chances for advantage. Workman made you work for 70 moves. You used all your time. Considering this, a draw is not that bad.

Haines - Workman (1638), Maine State Championship (3), 09.04.2016 begins 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 b5 5.Bb3 Bb7 6.0-0 Nf6 7.d4 [Many players prefer the slower build up with 7.d3= ; or to prepare d4 with 7.Re1 Bc5 8.c3 d6 9.d4=] 7...Nxd4 8.Nxd4 exd4 9.e5 Ne4 10.c3 d3 [Maybe best is 10...Nc5= ; Interesting but risky is 10...dxc3 11.Qf3 Nd6!=] 11.Qxd3 d5?! [11...Nc5!=] 12.exd6?! [12.Nd2+/=] 12...Bxd6 13.Qe2 0-0 14.Nd2 Nc5 [Black has a strong attack with 14...Qh4!-/+ ] 15.Qg4 Nd3 16.Nf3 Ne5? [16...Qf6=/+] 17.Nxe5 Bxe5 18.Bg5 Qd3 19.Rad1 Qg6 20.Qh4? [20.f4! Qb6+ 21.Rf2+/=] 20...h6 21.f4 hxg5 22.fxg5 Qh7? [Black returns the favor. 22...Bd6-+] 23.Bxf7+! Rxf7 24.Qxh7+ Kxh7 25.Rxf7 Re8 26.h4 [26.Rdd7 Kg6 27.Rfe7 Rxe7 28.Rxe7 Bd6=/+] 26...Kg6 27.Rfd7 [27.Rdd7 Rh8-/+] 27...Bc6 [27...Bg3!-+] 28.R7d3 Re6 [28...Kh5-/+] 29.Kf1 Rd6 30.b3 Rxd3 [30...Kh5! 31.Rxd6 cxd6-/+] 31.Rxd3 Kf5 32.Kf2 Be4 33.Rd7 Ke6 34.Rd8 Bxc3 35.Re8+ Kf5 36.h5 Bd4+ 37.Ke2 Bxg2 [Black has a better endgame after 37...Bc6 38.Re7 Kxg5 39.Rxc7 Bxg2-/+] 38.h6 gxh6 [Much stronger is 38...Kg6!= ] 39.gxh6 Be4 40.h7 Bb1 41.h8Q [41.a3+/-] 41...Bxh8 42.Rxh8 Bxa2 43.Rh3 Ke5 44.Kd2 Bb1 45.Rc3 Kd6 46.Rh3 Kc5 47.Kc3 b4+ 48.Kb2 Bg6 49.Rh6 Bd3 50.Rh4 Kb6 [50...c6=] 51.Rh5 [White could pick off a pawn here, and maybe he did during the next 20 moves. 51.Rxb4+ Bb5 52.Rh4+/=] 1/2-1/2

You may also like: Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
Copyright 2016 Home Page / Author Page /
Sign Up for free weekly Chess Training Repertoire updates

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Lev Zilbermints Wins Englund 1.d4 e5

Our gambit friend Lev Zilbermints launched another successful Englund Gambit. Lev demonstrated once again that constant aggressive tactical play pays off. Zilbermints knows how to attack. It shows in his frequent Internet Chess Club blitz wins.

A FIDE Master with the handle "ScacchicAgelast" played the White pieces. Naturally a higher rated titled player wins most of the time. I am sure that if Zilbermints played the main line of any popular opening, the master would be well-prepared. That's the point.

Lev Zilbermints takes players out of the preparation. His offbeat unorthodox methods of attack surprise good players. Here Lev employs his pet line 1.d4 e5 2.dxe5 Nc6 3.Nf3 Nge7. I don't know when he started playing it.

The earliest game I have of his in this line is from 1996. I played it in 1997 and 1998. My collection has over 100 of his games in this line, only a fraction of what he had actually played. In theory White might have improved. In actual practice, Black won.

ScacchicAgelast (2317) - Zilbermints (2181), ICC 5 0 Internet Chess Club, 06.04.2016 begins 1.d4 e5 2.dxe5 Nc6 3.Nf3 Nge7 4.Bf4 Ng6 5.Bg3 Qe7 6.Nc3 Qb4 [6...Ncxe5 7.Nxe5 Nxe5 8.Nd5 Qd6 9.Qd4+/-] 7.Qd2 Qxb2 8.Rb1 Qa3 9.Rb3 Qa5 10.Nd5 [10.Rb5 Qa3 11.Nd5+-] 10...Qxa2 [10...Qxd2+ 11.Kxd2 Kd8 12.e3+/=] 11.Nxc7+ Kd8 12.Nxa8 Bb4 13.Rxb4 Qa1+ 14.Qd1 Qc3+ 15.Nd2 Nxb4 16.e3 Nxc2+ 17.Ke2 d6?! [This move is risky but tricky. Black could have played 17...b6 18.Qb1 Bb7 19.Kd1 Nb4 20.Ne4+/=] 18.Ne4? [White falls for a mate. Correct is 18.Nf3! Bg4 19.Qd2+-] 18...Bg4+ White resigns 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
Copyright 2016 Home Page / Author Page /
Sign Up for free weekly Chess Training Repertoire updates

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Staunton Gambit My Best Brilliancy

I played a brilliant quick crushing win. What a beautiful open field mate! It's too bad we cannot play these types of quick crushes more often. I sacrificed a rook on move 9. Seven checks in a row and it's checkmate against John Hathaway in Dutch Defence.

I played the Staunton Gambit before I began playing its cousin, the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. This is the best one I ever played in my life. After 1.d4 f5 2.e4 fxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6, White has a choice to make. The move 4.Bg5 often allows White to regain the pawn.

When I am in a gambit mood, I go for 4.f3. It worked great this time! Lots of people have won pretty games with the Staunton Gambit. This was my best.

John and I were friends who played at the North Penn Chess Club. We had some fun times. Hathaway became the Pennsylvania state chess champion a few years later.

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

Sawyer - Hathaway, Lansdale, PA 24.07.1981 begins 1.d4 f5 2.e4 fxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 [Against me most players have declined the gambit with 4...d5.] 5.Nxf3 e6 6.Bd3 Be7 7.0-0 b6 [7...0-0= is much safer.] 8.Ne5 Bb7 [Black is calmly developing, but now...] 9.Rxf6! [or 9.Bxh7 Rxh7 10.Qd3!+-] 9...Bxf6 10.Qh5+ g6 11.Bxg6+ hxg6 12.Qxg6+ Ke7 13.Qf7+ Kd6 14.Nb5+ Kd5 15.c4+ Ke4 16.Qg6# 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
Copyright 2016 Home Page / Author Page /

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Van Kerkhof in Huebsch 5.Bf4

FIDE Master David Van Kerkhof wins as White in a Huebsch Gambit. The Huebsch has increased in popularity. This is partly due to the fact that Blackmar-Diemer Gambit has a reputation of being dangerous ground to enter. If the gambit was refuted, masters would never play it as White, and defenders would accept the BDG pawn with glee as Black.

So, White gambits a pawn on e4. The basic difference between the BDG (3...dxe4 4.f3) and the Huebsch (3...Nxe4 4.Nxe4) is Black's kingside knight. In the BDG it sits on Nf6. In the Huebsch that knight is quickly exchanged for White's queenside knight.

This tournament game played in the Netherlands sees Van Kerkhof vs Renzo Ducarmon. White's choice for developing a bishop on move five is 5.Bf4 vs the Huebsch. Both 5.Be3 and 5.Bc4 are common alternatives.

The move 5.Bf4 has the advantage that it prepares a quick queenside castle. I am unsure about the strength of the move 8.Qe3!? It worked this time. Further tests are needed.

Van Kerkhof (2318) - Ducarmon (2091), 9th OGD Prinsenstad 2016 Delft NED (2.5), 26.03.2016 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4 Nxe4 4.Nxe4 dxe4 5.Bf4 e6 6.Qd2 c5 7.0-0-0 Nc6 8.Qe3!? Qd5 9.c4 Qf5 10.d5 Nd4 11.Ne2 e5 12.Bg3 h5 13.f3 exf3 14.Nxd4 cxd4 15.Qxe5+ Qxe5 16.Bxe5 Bg4 17.Rxd4 [17.Bxd4 fxg2 18.Re1+ Kd7 19.Bxg2=] 17...f6 18.Bg3 Bc5 19.Rd3 h4 20.Bf4 g5 21.Be3 fxg2 22.Bxg2 Rc8 23.Bxc5 Rxc5 24.Re1+ Kd7 25.Rd4 h3 26.Bh1 f5 27.b4 Rcc8 28.d6 Rhe8 29.Rxe8 Rxe8 30.Bxb7 Rb8 31.Ba6 Rxb4 32.Bb5+ Kd8 33.Rd5 a6 34.Bxa6 [34.a3+/-] 34...Ra4? [34...Be2 35.Rc5=] 35.Bb5 Rxa2 [Or 35...Rb4 36.Re5+-] 36.c5 Ra5 37.c6 1-0

Monday, April 25, 2016

Sicilian Defence Dragon Darryl Hartman

Long ago I learned about attacking when players castle on opposite sides. I think it was from the book "The Art of the Middlegame" by Paul Keres and Alexander Kotov. Maybe not. My memory fails me sometimes. I do remember that it was a great book.

When players castle opposite sides, the plan is to push pawns at your opponent's king. In the Sicilian Defence Dragon Variation, both sides get to test out the theory.

Here vs Darryl Hartman, we played a popular line in opening theory. White ripped open the kingside and sacrificed in a bold manner. Black picked up extra pawns. His were scattered and hanging. After move 21, Black could not easily avoid a perpetual check.

Hartman and I played one other very short draw that year. In that game, I tried 4.Qxd4. Apparently neither of us felt like playing the game.

Sawyer (2100) - Hartman (2100), corr APCT 1982 begins 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 [4.Qxd4 Bd7 5.c4 1/2-1/2. corr APCT 1982] 4...Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Bc4 0-0 9.Qd2 Bd7 10.0-0-0 Rc8 11.Bb3 Ne5 12.h4 h5 13.Bg5 Rc5 14.g4!? [14.Kb1=] 14...hxg4 15.h5? [15.f4=] 15...Nxh5! 16.Nd5 Rxd5 [16...Re8-/+] 17.Bxd5 Qb6 18.c3 e6 19.Bb3?! [19.fxg4!=] 19...gxf3 20.Kc2? [20.Bh6 Qd8-/+] 20...Rc8 [20...a5!-+] 21.Bh6 [21.Be3 Ng4-+] 21...Nc4 [This leads to a drawn position. Black is still better after 21...Bxh6 22.Qxh6 f2-/+] 22.Bxc4 Rxc4 23.Bxg7 Kxg7 24.Rxh5 gxh5 25.Rg1+ Kf8 26.Qh6+ Ke7 27.Qg5+ Kf8 28.Qg8+ Ke7 29.Qg5+ 1/2-1/2

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
Copyright 2016 Home Page / Author Page /
Sign Up for free weekly Chess Training Repertoire updates

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Scandinavian Defense to Nimzo-Indian

I could not have guessed the opening. We started with 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 as a Scandinavian Defence. After 2...Nf6, I threatened to hold the pawn with 3.c4. Richard McCullough offered a gambit with 3...c6. I wanted to take the pawn, but it seemed that Black could get a lot of play after 4.dxc6 Nc6. I didn't want that.

I transposed to a Panov-Botvinnik Attack with 4.c4 cxd5. The game continuation 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nf3 Bb4 7.Bd3 dxc4 8.Bxc4 led to the Nimzo-Indian Defence. No, I would not have guessed that my 1.e4 would be a Nimzo-Indian. The Caro-Kann order takes one more move by each side to reach this Nimzo-Indian position.

White busted open the position with 11.d5. The game became very sharp and tactical. White won a pawn. The pieces continued to make threat after threat. In the end Black allowed his knight to be trapped, and it was soon over.

Sawyer - McCullough (1719), corr APCT P-388, 1978 begins 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.d4 cxd5 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nf3 Bb4 7.Bd3 dxc4 8.Bxc4 0-0 9.0-0 Nbd7 10.Qe2 b6 11.d5 Bxc3 12.dxe6 fxe6 [12...Bb4 13.exd7 Qxd7 14.Bg5+/=] 13.Qxe6+ Kh8 14.bxc3 Nc5 15.Qe2 Re8 [15...Bg4 16.h3+/=] 16.Ng5 Qe7 17.Qc2 [17.Qxe7 Rxe7 18.Be3 Bb7 19.Rfe1+/-] 17...g6? [17...Ba6 18.Bxa6 Nxa6 19.Be3+/-] 18.Nf7+ Kg8 19.Nd6+ Be6 20.Bxe6+ Qxe6 21.Nxe8 Rxe8 22.Be3 Nce4 23.Qb3 Nd5 24.Bd4?! [24.Rfe1!+-] 24...Nd2 25.Rae1 Nxb3 26.Rxe6 Rxe6 27.axb3 Re2 28.Rc1 Kf7 29.Kf1 Rb2 30.c4 Rd2 31.Be5 Nb4 32.Bc3 Rxf2+ 33.Kxf2 Nd3+ 34.Ke3 Nxc1 35.b4 Nb3 36.Kd3 Nc1+ 37.Ke4 Na2? [37...Ke6 38.Bd2+/=] 38.Bd2 Ke6 39.Kd4 Kd6 40.c5+ bxc5+ 41.bxc5+ 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
Copyright 2016 Home Page / Author Page /
Sign Up for free weekly Chess Training Repertoire updates

Now in Kindle and paperback

Blog Archive