Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Queen's Knight Advance 3.e5

Do you prefer to develop a piece, open up the center, or grab a space advantage on move three? In the Queen's Knight Defence after 1.e4 Nc6 2.d4 d5 White can choose between 3.Nc3, 3.exd5 or 3.e5.

The Queen's Knight Advance 3.e5 Bf5 looks just like the Caro-Kann Advance Variation 3.e5 Bf5 except for what Black piece in on c6. The difference is perspective. The c6 pawn protects d5 while the Nc6 attacks e5.

Black must determine on which side to castle. In a game between young rapidly improving Catalin-Lucian Patrascu against WGM Suzana Maksimovic, Black castled kingside and attacked kingside. This works in part because White's e5 pawn blocks some of his own attacking prospects. Maksimovic found a nice checkmate to finish.

Patrascu (2069) - Maksimovic (2238), 25th Seacoast Trophy 2015 Eforie Nord ROU (8.5), 30.06.2015 begins 1.e4 Nc6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Ne2 e6 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.h4 f6!? [6...h5 7.Be2 Nb4 8.Na3 c5 9.c3 Nc6=/+] 7.Bb5 Qd7 8.0-0 a6 9.Ba4 fxe5 10.dxe5 b5 11.Bb3 Bc5 12.h5 Bf7 13.Bf4 Nge7 [13...g6!?] 14.c3 Nf5 15.Nxf5 exf5 16.Re1 Be6 17.Nd2 0-0 18.h6 Rad8 19.Nf3 g6 20.Nd4 Be7 21.Qd2 Na5 22.Bg5 c5 [22...Bxg5 23.Qxg5+/=] 23.Nf3 [23.Nxe6 Qxe6 24.Bxe7+-] 23...Nc4 24.Bxc4 bxc4 25.Bxe7 Qxe7 26.b4 d4 27.bxc5 dxc3 28.Qxc3 Rd3 29.Qa5 Bd5 30.Qxa6 Rxf3 31.gxf3 [31.Qd6!=] 31...Qg5+ 32.Kf1 Bxf3 [32...Qh5-/+] 33.Qxc4+ Kh8 34.Red1 [34.Re3!+-] 34...Qxh6 35.Ke1 Qh1+ 36.Kd2 [36.Qf1!=] 36...Rd8+ 37.Ke3 Bxd1 38.Qf4 Qe1# 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Monday, May 30, 2016

Running Uphill vs Roger Peeples

It’s a race. How fast can you bring out your pieces? In this Bird’s Opening I felt I was running uphill as White. Objectively I had good moves. I found a lot of them but not enough of them. The bottom line was my opponent Roger Peeples played very well.

After 1.f4 d5 2.Nf3 g6 3.e3 Bg7, I could not play 4.b3. Therefore I went with the modest 4.Be2. Here 7.Nc3 would have been better. My pieces were cramped.

Black opened the center with 10…e5! He attacked my kingside. My plan to extricate myself was excruciatingly slow. Black came crashing through and smashing me flat. I could not avoid material loss. When it was over, I wished I had played his moves.

Roger Peeples played a beautiful game. It was just the type of win that I would enjoy if I were Black against the Bird. But I had White. We played another postal game four years later. That time I managed to win as White in a Blackmar-Diemer Gambit in 19 moves.

Sawyer (2100) - Peeples (2151), corr APCT 1982 begins 1.f4 d5 2.Nf3 g6 3.e3 Bg7 4.Be2 Nf6 5.0-0 c5 6.d3 0-0 7.a4 [7.Nc3=] 7...Nc6 8.Ne5 [8.Qe1 Bf5=/+] 8...Nd7 [8...Qd6!=/+] 9.Nxd7 [9.Nxc6! bxc6 10.Nd2=] 9...Bxd7 10.Qe1 [10.Bf3!?; 10.Nc3!?] 10...e5! 11.fxe5 Bxe5 12.Nc3 [12.c3 Qe7=/+] 12...Be6 [12...Nb4-/+] 13.Bd2 d4 14.Nd1 Qd6 15.g3 Bh3 16.Rf2 f5 17.Bf1 Bg4 18.Be2 Bg7 19.Bxg4 fxg4 20.e4 Qe7 21.b3 Ne5 22.Kg2 Nf3 23.Qe2 Rf7 24.Nb2 Be5 25.Nc4 Bc7 26.Raf1 h5 27.Be1 h4 28.Nd2? [28.Rxf3 gxf3+ 29.Rxf3 Rxf3 30.Qxf3 Rf8-/+] 28...hxg3 29.hxg3 Bxg3 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Jack Clauser Wins BDG Zeller

Jack Clauser told me about a Blackmar-Diemer Gambit game he played. The line was in the Zeller variation after 3.Nc3 Bf5. His game followed a line from the “Blackmar-Diemer Gambit” by Gary Lane. On page 117 a note cites Boyarinov - Utemov, USSR 1962. Moves are given up through move 9 dxc6! After that point, Jack and his opponent deviated from that game. They were on their own. That game is given below.

Clauser asked me, “Do you have in your database the entire game? If yes, I'd like to review the game.” Jack added, “I am guessing the game continued 9...Bxf3 10.Rxd8+ Kxd8 11.c7+ Kc8 12 cxb8 (Q+) Rxb8 13 Bxb8 Bxg2 14 Bxg2 Kxb8 15 Nf3.”

A few days later Jack wrote,
“Finished my phone chess game today. See attached photo with the score handwritten. I played a guy from South Africa. My name in the app is "JackC1586". The app gave me my name. I had no input. My opponent is "Varro.kun". A friend got me into the app. He invited me via Facebook. I asked how he found the app and he said: Google App Store for Zynga Chess or use search option in Facebook by typing "Chess With Friends". Jack”

Thanks! Jack Clauser is a longtime friend. This game showed the value in playing what is probably the best move 6.Bf4.

Clauser - Varro.kun, Zynga Chess, 16.05.2016 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Bf5 4.f3 exf3 5.Qxf3 Bc8 6.Bf4 c6 7.0-0-0 Nf6 8.d5 Bg4 9.dxc6 Bxf3? [9...Qb6 10.Nd5 Bxf3 11.Nxb6 axb6? (11...Nxc6 12.Nxf3 axb6 13.Bb5+/=) 12.c7 Nc6 13.Nxf3 Na7 (13...Ne4 14.Bd3 Nf2 15.Bb5 Nxd1 16.Rxd1+-) 14.Ne5 e6 15.Rd8+ 1-0 Bojarinov - Utemov, URS 1962] 10.Rxd8+ Kxd8 11.c7+ Kc8 12.cxb8Q+ Rxb8 13.Bxb8 [Also good is 13.Nxf3+-] 13...Bxg2 14.Bxg2 Kxb8 15.Bf3 [15.Nf3+-] 15...Nd7 16.Be2 e5 17.Nf3 a6 [17...f6 18.Rd1+/-] 18.Rd1 Kc8 19.Ng5 f6 [19...Be7 20.Nxf7 Rf8 21.Bc4+-] 20.Nf7 Rg8 21.Bg4 Bc5 22.Rxd7 Kb8 23.Rd8+ [Or 23.Nd8!+-] 23...Rxd8 24.Nxd8 g6 25.Ne6 Be3+ 26.Kd1 f5 27.Be2 e4 28.Nf8 Bh6 29.Nxh7 e3 30.Nf6 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Hopping Happy French Knights

The closed nature of the French Defence tends to favor knights over bishops. That can even be true if the bishops stay on the board for a few extra moves. In the first 16 moves of my offhand club game against Bob Muir, Black moved his knights only once each. Then in the next 17 moves he moved them 11 times. There were checks and forks threatened all over the place.

In this Winawer variation Black could have captured the e-pawn. The critical line is 4.a3 Bxc3+ 5.bxc3 dxe4. At that point White can choose between 6.Qg4 and 6.f3!?

My friend Bob chose the bishop retreat with 4.a3 Ba5 5.b4 Bb6. White had a clamp on the position after 6.e5. Black countered with the thematic but risky 6…c5? It lost a pawn, but I took it the wrong way. White’s extra doubled c-pawn was a big advantage, but I missed several knockout punches. Black fought back and could have equalized. Eventually he ran out of steam.

Sawyer (2010) - Muir (1800), Williamsport, PA 04.05.1999 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.a3 Ba5 5.b4 Bb6 6.e5 c5? [This drops a pawn. Better is 6...Ne7 7.Nf3 0-0 8.Bd3+/=] 7.bxc5 [7.dxc5! Bc7 8.f4+/-] 7...Bc7 [7...Ba5 8.Bd2+/-] 8.Nb5 Nc6 9.Qg4 [9.Nd6+! Bxd6 10.cxd6+-] 9...Kf8 10.Bd3!? [10.Bd2+-] 10...Nge7?! [10...Ba5+ 11.Bd2+/-] 11.Bg5 [11.Ne2+/-] 11...h6 12.Bxe7+ Qxe7 13.f4?! [13.Ne2+/-] 13...a6? [Black should keep his bishop with a check after 13...Ba5+ 14.Kf2 a6=/+] 14.Nxc7 Qxc7 15.Nf3 [15.Ne2+/-] 15...Qa5+ 16.Kf2 Qc3 17.Ke3 [17.Qh4+/-] 17...Na5 18.Rhf1 Nc4+ 19.Ke2 Nxa3 20.Rfc1 Nb5? [20...Bd7 21.f5+/=] 21.Ke3? [21.Bxb5!+- wins the knight.] 21...Na3 22.Qg3? [22.Kf2+/=] 22...Nc4+ [22...Nxc2+! 23.Ke2 Nxd4+ 24.Nxd4 Qxd4-/+] 23.Ke2 Bd7 24.Qe1 Qxe1+ 25.Kxe1 Ne3? [25...Bc6=] 26.Kf2 Ng4+ 27.Ke2 h5 28.h3 Nh6 29.Rcb1 Bc6 [29...Ra7 30.c4+/-] 30.Rb6 a5 31.Bb5 Nf5? [31...Ke7 32.Bxc6 bxc6 33.Rxc6+/-] 32.Bxc6 bxc6 33.Rxc6 Ng3+ 34.Kd3 g6 35.Rc7 Ke8 36.Ng5 Rf8 37.Rb7 f5 38.Nxe6 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Friday, May 27, 2016

Italian Four Knights by Hoskavich

Jeff Hoskavich and I played a few times at the Williamsport chess club in the mid-1990s. As they used to say in the newspaper business, “A good time was had by all.”

We played 8 games. I was the higher rated player and won most of them. This was an offhand game, and my hand was way off.

Hoskavich caught me in this one game for an instructive win. Maybe I should say an instructive loss. I probably learned more than he did. Now I am more sensitive about protecting my king. Jeff may have completely forgotten about this game.

We began as an Alekhine Defence with 1.e4 Nf6. Jeff Hoskavich avoided 2.e5. He played 2.Nc3. I often play 2…d5. I have scored well as Black in this line of the Scandinavian Defence 1.e4 d5. Here I transposed into a Vienna Game with 2…e5. After 3.Nf3 I often play 3...Bb4. This Three Knights Game amounts to a Ruy Lopez reversed.

Instead we entered the Four Knights Game. Hoskavich played the Italian pawn fork line with 4.Bc4 Nxe4 5.Nxe4 d5. I had a good game until move 18. Then I went from the advantage to a completely lost position in one move. That is never good. On move 20, Jeff Hoskavich had two ways to win. He chose to move his king and won my queen. He could have moved his queen and won my king. Put a fork in me. I’m done for.

Hoskavich (1750) - Sawyer (2010), Williamsport, PA 1994 begins 1.e4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.Bc4 Nxe4 5.Nxe4 d5 6.Bxd5 [A good way to play this position is 6.Bd3 dxe4 7.Bxe4 Bd6 8.0-0 0-0 9.c3=] 6...Qxd5 7.Nc3 Qd8 8.0-0 Be6 9.Re1 Bd6 [9...Bc5! 10.d3 0-0=/+] 10.d3 [10.d4 exd4 11.Nb5=] 10...0-0 11.Nb5 a6 [11...Bc5=/+] 12.Nxd6 cxd6 13.Ng5 Bf5 14.g4?! [14.Be3 h6 15.Ne4 d5 16.Ng3 Bg6=] 14...Bg6 [Or 14...Bc8-/+ ] 15.h4 h6 16.h5 hxg5 [16...Bxh5! 17.gxh5 hxg5 18.c3 f5-/+] 17.hxg6 f6?! [More powerful is 17...Qf6!-/+ ] 18.Qf3 Qe8?? [Black was still fine after 18...Ne7! 19.Qxb7 d5=/+] 19.Qd5+ Kh8 20.Kg2 [There is a mate in two with 20.Qh1+ Kg8 21.Qh7#] 1-0

You may also like: Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Gary Maks Plays Alekhine Chess

In 1985 I played in team competition for the Chaturanga Chess Club near Philadelphia. I played on the road team when others did not travel. Here we played at home in Hatboro.

My opponent was this night was Gary Maks. Like many young men our age, we hoped to improve. You can only really do that by playing. So we did. By his comments I judged Gary to be a man who valued faith and family. His rating was on the rise. Later Gary Maks and I became USCF experts rated over 2000.

I find the Alekhine Defence to be a wonderfully restless opening. I have to be busy. If I sit around to do nothing, I lose. I began playing the Alekhine Defence as Black in 1980. Throughout the next decade I studied the books by Vladimir Bagirov and Lev Alburt. They both played the Alekhine hundreds of games each.

I did not play much in 1985. That night Maks played the Alekhine Defence against me. How great is that? We chose 4.Nf3 Bg4 5.Be2 e6. I call this the Bagirov line. Also Lev Alburt played it many times when he took a break from his own 4.Nf3 g6 line.

My approach was to control the center, keep my pieces active, maintain the tension, and probe for a weakness. I found it in his undefended Nb6 after move 23. White won a piece for several pawns. I checkmated Black's king in the middle of the board.

My Chess Training Repertoire this Thursday covers Alekhine Defence. Sign up if you want to receive my weekly training repertoire by email.

Sawyer (1981) - Maks (1720), Hatboro, PA 21.03.1985 begins 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 [I have 4.c4 more often than 4.Nf3 as White.] 4...Bg4 5.Be2 e6 6.0-0 Be7 7.c4 Nb6 8.Nc3 N8d7!? [8...0-0 9.Be3+/=] 9.exd6 cxd6 10.b3 0-0 11.h3 Bh5 12.Ba3 Nf6 13.Qc2 Rc8 14.Rac1 a6 15.g4?! [15.Rfe1+/=] 15...Bg6 16.Bd3 Qd7?! [16...Bxd3 17.Qxd3=] 17.Bxg6 hxg6 18.Qe2 Nh7 19.Rce1?! [19.Rfe1+/=] 19...Ng5 20.Bc1 Nxf3+ 21.Qxf3 Rc7 22.Qe3 Bf6 23.Ne4 Qd8? [Black can maintain a solid defense with 23...Be7=] 24.Nxf6+!? [Even stronger was the immediate 24.d5!+-] 24...Qxf6 [24...gxf6 25.d5+/=] 25.d5 Nxd5 [25...Nc8 26.dxe6+/-] 26.cxd5 Rc3 27.Qf4 Qh4 28.Re3 Rxe3 29.Qxe3 exd5 30.Kg2 Rc8 31.Bb2 Rc2 32.Qd4 Qf6 33.Qxf6 gxf6 34.Bxf6 Rxa2 35.Rc1 Kh7 36.Rc8 [Here White missed a mate in five beginning with 36.h4!+-] 36...g5 37.Bxg5 Kg7 38.Rb8 b5 39.Be3 f6 40.Rb7+ Kg6 41.h4 f5 42.h5+ Kf6 43.g5+ Ke5 44.Re7# 1-0

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

Sheldrick Teaches Boden Mate

Kevin Sheldrick sent this Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. I don't know if the kiddies got the Boden lesson, but we get it here. Thanks! Kevin Sheldrick wrote:

"Hi Tim! I had an interesting Boden's Mate in a BDG today. Intriguingly, I had been preparing a lesson on Boden's Mate several hours earlier in the day with the view to possibly show the kiddies in school chess classes some day.

"Boden's Mate is characterized by the checkmate pattern of my game, played in an analogous position by Samuel Boden (as black in that particular game) in Schuler-Boden, London, 1853.

"In my game, black erred with 9...Be4? but I gave back the advantage with 12. Bc4? Black missed the overloading retort 12...f6!, after which I became once again in the driver's seat. An equal position resulted though after I missed Stockfish's strong 14.b3!, which would have intended tactics like 14...f6 15.Ba3 fxe5 16.dxe5 or 14...Nxc4 15.Nxf7! Finally, when black blundered by castling on move 17, I was about to play some nondescript move when I had this persistent feeling that there was something vaguely familiar about the position, like I had maybe seen something like it very recently..."

Sheldrick (1965) - NN (1988), 3 0 FICS, 21.05.2016 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4 dxe4 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 Bg4 6.h3 Bh5 7.g4 Bg6 8.Ne5 c6 9.h4 Be4? [+- according to Stockfish - Scheerer gives 9...e6 as best for black.] 10.Nxe4 Nxe4 11.Qf3 Nd6 12.Bc4? [12.Bd2!] 12...e6 [12...f6!-+] 13.0-0 [+-] 13...Qe7 14.Bd3 [14.b3!+-] 14...f6 15.Nc4 Nd7 16.Bf4 Nxc4 17.Bxc4 0-0-0? 18.Qxc6+! and black forfeited by disconnection (18...bxc6 19. Ba6 mate). 1-0

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