Sunday, July 31, 2016

Ruy Lopez Yates Bogoljubow 9.d4

Let’s face it. In the King Pawn Closed Ruy Lopez it looks and feels like a waste of time to play 9.h3. My friend Bob Muir liked to play the Yates Variation with 9.d4 as White.

Many played 9.d4 before the Englishman Frederick Yates. He had the distinction of doing well with it against grandmasters. Yates drew both Alekhine and Capablanca with 9.d4. Yates won against Efim Bogoljubow after 9.d4 exd4 at London 1922. When these two met again in New York 1924, Bogoljubow won as Black after 9.d4 Bg4. This became known as the Bogoljubow variation, even though he played both ninth moves repeatedly.

Others tried the line in early games. Emanuel Lasker and Euwe played it was White. Edward Lasker and Rubinstein played it as Black. Capablanca and Thomas both played it from both sides. Prior to all those, Spielmann played 9.d4 vs Marshall in 1911.

As for my adventures, when I had Black against Muir and 9.d4, I chose the Bogoljubow variation 9…Bg4. The bishop pins the f3 knight. This puts added pressure on d4. White’s two most common tenth move responses are 10.Be3 or 10.d5. Bob Muir chose the second move in this game. I combined my kingside threats with capturing queenside pawns. White was down two pawns with two more in danger when he resigned.

Muir (1800) - Sawyer (2011), Williamsport, PA 1995 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.d4 Bg4 10.d5 [10.Be3 exd4 11.cxd4=] 10...Na5 11.Nbd2 Nxb3 12.axb3 Ne8 [12...c6 13.dxc6 Qc7 14.Nf1 Qxc6=] 13.c4 bxc4 [13...Bd7 14.Nf1 f5=] 14.Nxc4 [14.bxc4+/=] 14...f5 15.Ne3? [15.exf5 Rxf5=] 15...Bxf3?! [15...fxe4 16.Nxg4 exf3 17.gxf3 Bg5-/+] 16.Qxf3 fxe4 17.Qg4 Nf6 18.Qe6+ Rf7 19.Nf5 Bf8 20.Bg5 Qe8 21.Qxe8?! [21.b4=] 21...Nxe8 22.Ng3 h6 23.Be3? [23.Bd2 Rb8=/+] 23...Nf6 24.Rad1 Rb8 25.Rc1 Rxb3 0-1

You may also like: Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Saturday, July 30, 2016

French Defence vs Mark Aikins

Throughout my career people would find out that I played chess. I have many interests. I talk about chess, but hopefully not too much. I try not to annoy my non-chess playing friends! Sometimes people ask if they can play me a game. Other times I happen upon a chess game in progress and play the winner.

I do not remember the exact occasion of this game. Probably I was at some church related conference in Pennsylvania. We would meet friendly people and have some spare time during breaks or after the meetings. Sometimes we played golf. I’m terrible at it. When I play a good golfer then I lose 18 holes in a row! Some are close but all are lost.

I met Mark Aikins in chess. Clearly he knew how to play, but he was not a competitive tournament player. It was just nice to play. Here I am winning in 18 moves instead of losing in 18 holes.

For some strange reason I played the French Defence 1.e4 e6 as Black. Two years before this game I had written a book on the Alapin French. That book covered the line after 2.d4 d5 3.Be3. Our game below sees White also play a pawn and bishop but to the more conservative squares of 2.d3 d5 3.Be2.

At this point I realized my opponent knew how to play but he was still at the beginner stage of opening theory. My strategy was to go after him tactically with a constant stream of threats. The result was brutal and predictable, like my golf game in reverse.

Aikins - Sawyer, Mt Bethel 1997 begins 1.e4 e6 2.d3 d5 3.Be2 [A more tricky move would be 3.Qe2 Be7 4.Nf3 Nf6=] 3...Nf6 4.Nf3? [This loses the first pawn. 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 Be7=] 4...dxe4 5.dxe4 Qxd1+ 6.Kxd1 Nxe4 7.Re1? [This loses the second pawn. 7.Be3 Nc6-/+] 7...Nxf2+ 8.Kd2 Ne4+ 9.Ke3 Nf6 10.Kf2 Bc5+ 11.Be3? [This drops a piece to a knight fork. Otherwise White is just down two pawns. 11.Kf1 Nc6-+] 11...Ng4+ 12.Kg3 Nxe3 13.Bb5+ Bd7 14.Nc3? [White could defend the c2 pawn and the rooks with 14.Na3 Nc6-+] 14...Nxc2 15.Bxd7+ Nxd7 16.Red1 Nxa1 17.Rxa1 0-0-0 18.Ne5? [After 18.Re1 Be7-+ Black would only be up a rook and three pawns.] 18...Nxe5 0-1

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

Gruenfeld Defence Confused Knight

Gruenfeld Defence has long been a favorite of mine. Typically White answers 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 with moves that open lines for attack. Most frequently played are 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 or 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3 which leads to 5...dxc4 6.Qxc4 0-0 7.e4. White aims for sharp play. Black must find accurate tactical counter play to survive.

Hank Ross found another approach in our 1981 APCT postal game. He developed quickly after 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.e3 0-0 6.Bd3 c5 7.0-0. All of White’s moves were good. The problem was that they did not directly threaten to attack Black. Since White did not go after d5, then I decided that Black can go after d4.

I executed a clear central strategy with my confused queenside knight. Look at this: 8…Nc6, 10…Nxd4, 11…Nc6, 14…Nd4. All those moves led to White regaining his pawn with 15.Rxe7. Tactical play followed that allowed White a missed chance to save the game. Black won with a discovered check combination.

Ross (1709) - Sawyer (2100), corr APCT 1981 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.e3 0-0 6.Bd3 [6.cxd5 Nxd5=] 6...c5 7.0-0 cxd4 8.exd4 Nc6 9.Qe2?! [9.h3=] 9...dxc4 [9...Bg4! 10.Be3 dxc4 11.Bxc4 Nxd4 12.Bxd4 Bxf3=/+] 10.Bxc4 Nxd4 11.Qd1? [11.Nxd4 Qxd4 12.Rd1=] 11...Nc6 12.Qxd8 Rxd8 13.Re1 Bf5 14.Bf4 Nd4? [Now White can regain equality. Black should activate his second rook and remain a pawn up. 14...Rac8-/+ ] 15.Rxe7 Nxf3+ 16.gxf3 Rd4 17.Bxf7+ Kf8 18.Rae1 Rxf4 19.Nd5? [White can save the position with 19.Bb3! Rb4 20.Rf7+ Kg8 21.Rxb7+ Rxb3 22.Rxb3=] 19...Nxd5 20.Bxd5 Bh3 21.Bxb7 Rb8 22.Bd5 [Or 22.Bc6 Rf5-+] 22...Rf5 23.Bc4 Rg5+ 24.Kh1 Bg2+ 25.Kg1 Bxf3+ 26.Kf1 Bg2+ 27.Kg1 Bd5+ 28.Kf1 Bxc4+ 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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Thursday, July 28, 2016

BountyHunter BDG Huebsch 4.Nf3

In the Blackmar-Diemer Huebsch Gambit after 1,d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4 Nxe4, White almost always captures the knight with 4.Nxe4. I noticed a curiosity years ago. When very high rated computers played this line as White, they often did not take on e4. Instead these chess engines developed a piece such as 4.Nf3, 4.Bd3 or 4.Bb5+!?

“BountyHunter” was usually some version of Rybka. Here it won a Blackmar-Diemer Huebsch Gambit against the very high rated unknown opponent with the handle “uncles”.

The moves 4.Nf3 Nxc3 5.bxc3 give White a few little advantages in exchange for the disadvantage of being a pawn down.
What are White’s advantages?
1. A strong pawn on d4.
2. A better control of e5.
3. A lead in development.
4. A rating over 3000!

This line is section 5.1 in my Blackmar-Diemer Games 2 book.

BountyHunter (3055) - uncles (2934), ICC 3 1 Internet Chess Club, 27.08.2007 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4 Nxe4 4.Nf3 Nxc3 5.bxc3 Nc6 [5...e6 6.Be2 Bd6 7.0-0 0-0=/+; 5...g6 6.h4 Bg7 7.h5 c5=/+] 6.Bb5 e6 7.0-0 Bd6 8.c4 0-0 9.Re1 dxc4 10.Bxc4 h6 11.Bb2 Ne7 12.a4 Nd5 13.Ne5 Bb4 14.Re4 f6 15.Ng6 Re8 16.Qh5 c6 17.Bc1 Qc7? [17...f5! 18.Ne5 fxe4 19.Qf7+ Kh7 20.Qg6+ Kg8= with a draw by perpetual check] 18.Rg4 Bc3? [18...Bd6 19.Bxh6 Bxh2+ 20.Kh1+/-] 19.Rb1 f5 20.Rg3 Bxd4 21.Bxh6 b5? 22.Bxd5 cxd5 23.Ne5 Bxf2+ 24.Kxf2 Qxc2+ 25.Qe2 Qxe2+ 26.Kxe2 Re7 27.axb5 Rb7 28.Rbb3 Kh8 29.Rg6 f4 30.Bxf4 Rxb5 [30...Bd7 31.Nxd7 Rxd7 32.Rxe6+-] 31.Rbg3 Rb2+ 32.Kd1 Rab8 [Or 32...Rb1+ 33.Bc1+-] 33.Nf7+ Kg8 34.Rxg7+ Kf8 35.Bd6+ Ke8 36.Bxb8 Rb1+ 37.Kc2 Rxb8 38.Nd6+ Kd8 39.Rxa7 Rb7 40.Nxb7+ Kc7 41.Nd8+ Kb6 42.Ra8 Ba6 43.Rb3+ Bb5 44.Rb8+ Kc7 45.R3xb5 Kd6 46.R8b6+ Kc7 47.Nxe6+ Kd7 48.Rxd5+ Ke7 49.Nc5 Kf8 50.Rd7 Ke8 51.Rb8# 1-0

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Shapiro Orthodox Queens Gambit

What makes a chess opening “orthodox?” The word means conventional, traditional, mainstream and established. In other words, an orthodox chess opening is reliable. It is one that fully playable. It has stood the test of time.

If you lose a game in such an opening from either side of the board, whose fault is it? Take a wild guess. You cannot use the saying that you were a victim of the opening. The opening was fine. The player who lost was the problem.

In 1985 I played Meyer Shapiro of New York in a postal chess game with the Orthodox Queens Gambit Declined. We were pretty close to equal in the opening. He had chances, and I had chances. A key point of this game was White’s choice to push his c-pawn all the way to 9.c5. The recommended strategy for Black is to attack the backward pawn as soon as possible with 9…e5.

For some reason I chose to delay that counter thrust. I treated the position like a Lasker Defence with the moves 9...h6 10.Bh4 Ne4 11.Bxe7 Qxe7 12.b4 Nxc3 13.Rxc3 e5. Apparently I wanted to reach an endgame. But be careful what you ask for. I missed some key moves and drifted into a lost position. Shapiro did well and found a nice win.

Shapiro (1999) - Sawyer (2000), corr APCT 1985 begins 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bg5 0-0 6.e3 Nbd7 7.Rc1 c6 8.a3 [8.Bd3 dxc4 9.Bxc4=] 8...a6 9.c5 [9.Qc2] 9...h6 [9...e5! 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.dxe5 Nd7=] 10.Bh4 Ne4 [10...e5!=] 11.Bxe7 Qxe7 12.b4 [12.Nxe4! dxe4 13.Nd2 f5 14.Nc4+/=] 12...Nxc3 13.Rxc3 e5 14.dxe5 Nxe5 15.Be2 Bf5 [15...a5!=/+] 16.Nd4 Be4 17.f3 Bh7 18.0-0 Rae8?! 19.a4 f5?! [19...Ra8=] 20.Qb3 [20.f4+/=] 20...Nf7 [20...f4! 21.Rd1=] 21.b5 axb5 22.axb5 Nd8? [22...Qf6 23.bxc6 bxc6 24.Nxc6 Qxc6 25.Bb5 Qf6 26.Bxe8 Rxe8 27.Rd1+/=] 23.bxc6 bxc6 24.Nxc6 Nxc6 25.Qxd5+ Qe6 26.Bc4 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

John Vehre in Open Ruy Lopez

John Vehre, Jr. is a USCF National Master from Ohio. In the early 1980s we played three short postal chess games. One was in CCLA and the other two were in APCT. I only had White in one of our games. We played an Open Ruy Lopez after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Nxe4.

This famous variation had been played many times in the world championship at Baguio City in the Philippines. Always Anatoly Karpov had the White pieces and Victor Korchnoi played Black. Vehre and I followed the main line 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6. This is the only time I ever reached this position against a human as White. I did play it twice as Black and scored a split 1-1. Also I tested the line a few times vs computers.

There are four popular ninth moves for White. I chose the most popular 9.c3 which is the one that has the lowest winning percentage at 54%. The other three moves are 9.Nbd2 (61%), 9.Be3 (61%), and 9.Qe2 (58%) according to my database. After 9.c3 Black scores well with my opponent’s choice 9…Bc5. On move 11, Vehre played the line 11…f5!?

Many players sacrifice a knight with 11…Nxf2. This is known as the Dilworth Variation. It contains many traps, but we did not go there. A critical Dilworth line is given in the notes to this game. John Vehre and I agreed to a draw. In the final position, critical lines lead to Black giving a perpetual check or repeating moves.

Sawyer (2050) - Vehre (2150), corr APCT 1980 begins 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 0-0 11.Bc2 f5!? [The Dilworth variation goes 11...Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Nf1 Ne5 16.Be3 Rae8 17.Bc5 Nxf3 18.gxf3 Rf7 19.Kg2=] 12.Nb3 Bb6 13.Nfd4 Nxd4 14.Nxd4 Bxd4 15.Qxd4 [15.cxd4!?+/=] 15...c5 16.Qd1 f4 17.f3 Ng5 18.a4 b4 19.h4 [19.cxb4+/-] 19...Nh3+ 20.gxh3 Qxh4 21.Rf2 1/2-1/2

You may also like: Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Monday, July 25, 2016

King's Indian Hughes 6.Nge2 Wins

White has a few related issues to deal with on the kingside when facing the King’s Indian Defence. These are the major questions:
1. Where will the light squared bishop be developed?
2. Where will the f-pawn go? It can stay on f2, or go to f3 or f4.
3. Where will the knight go? If the pawn goes to f3, then Nge2.

In our King’s Indian Defence game Robert Hughes played 5.Bd3, 6.Nge2 and only later 11.f3. Black got a passed pawn on d4, but was unable to use it effectively. All of a sudden on move 27 I decided to "play for a win" from a very equal position and mixed things up. The only one who got mixed up was me, and I obtain a losing position.

I must have been discouraged by the fact that I was down a pawn. White was winning. Again, I resigned when comparatively I stood only a little worse. Usually we play on when only down one pawn. The next year when we met in another APCT event. And again I had Black. I said forget this King’s Indian Defence stuff. I am going to play a gambit. That time I chose the Albin Counter Gambit and won.

Hughes (1800) - Sawyer (1944), corr APCT EMQ-3, 08.01.1997 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Bd3 0-0 6.Nge2 Nc6 [6...e5 7.d5=] 7.0-0 e5 8.d5 Nd4 9.Nxd4 exd4 10.Ne2 [10.Nb5 Re8 11.Re1 a6 12.Nxd4 Nxd5 13.cxd5 Bxd4=] 10...Re8 11.f3 c5 12.dxc6 [12.b4!?] 12...bxc6 13.Bg5 c5 14.Qd2 Qb6 15.Nf4 Be6 [15...Bb7 16.Nd5 Bxd5 17.cxd5 Nd7=] 16.b3 a5 17.Rab1 Qb4 18.Qf2 Nd7 19.Nxe6 fxe6 20.Bd2 Qb6 21.f4 Rf8 22.Qg3 Rae8 23.f5 Ne5 24.Bc2 Qb7 25.fxg6 hxg6 26.Bf4 Kh7 27.Rf2 d3? [Better would be 27...Rf7= when Black has adequate defensive resources.] 28.Bxd3 Nxd3 29.Qxd3 d5? [29...Bd4 30.Be3 Rxf2 31.Bxf2+/=] 30.exd5 [30.e5 Rf5 31.Rbf1+/-] 30...exd5 31.Rf3 Bd4+ 32.Kh1 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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