Monday, June 26, 2017

Conquest vs Mestrovic 3.Bg5

Zvonimir Mestrovic wins with active creativity in a Queens Knight Defence 1…Nc6. Black pushed the initiative and won a beauty. White pinned the phantom knight with 1.e4 Nc6 2.d4 d6 3.Bg5. Black’s pawn structure after move eight reminded me of a position Michael Basman might reach after 1.e4 g5.

Stuart Conquest is a British grandmaster. He has been active in chess activities for a long time as a player, commentator and tournament director. I found his writing to be very entertaining. One of Stuart Conquest most successful playing years was 1990. This led to Conquest earning the grandmaster title in 1991. According to FIDE, his peak rating of 2601 came in 2001.

Raymond Keene, another British GM, wrote a book with Byron Jacobs entitled “A Complete Defense for Black”. Keene played 1…Nc6. They wrote in the Forward that “1…Nc6 is a pleasant blend of soundness and aggression. There are few Black defences in which White can be overrun with such rapidity…”

This game is an example of full court action. Both players are attacking and defending at the same time. Mestrovic speeds up his assault when he responds to an attack with an attack on moves 22 to 24. On move 26 Black sacrifices a rook for a mating attack. The winner’s conquest was the result of bold strategy and accurate tactics.

[My London 2.Bf4 Playbook is available.]
[New is Blackmar-Diemer Playbook 6 with paperback.]

Conquest (2465) - Mestrovic (2440), Bad Woerishofen op 1990 begins 1.e4 Nc6 2.d4 d6 3.Bg5 h6 4.Bh4 g5 5.Bg3 Bg7 6.c3 Nf6 7.Nd2 0-0 8.h4 g4 9.h5 e5 10.dxe5 Nxe5 11.Qc2 c6 [11...Rb8=] 12.Ne2 Re8 13.0-0-0 Qa5 [13...b5=] 14.Kb1 Be6 15.Nb3 [15.Nc1+/=] 15...Qb6 [15...Qa4=] 16.Nf4 Bc4 17.Bxc4 [17.Bh4+/=] 17...Nxc4 18.Rhe1 [18.f3 Ne3=] 18...a5 19.Qd3 [19.Kc1 a4-/+] 19...Qb5 20.Re2 c5 21.f3 d5 22.e5 a4 23.exf6 [23.Na5 Rxa5-/+] 23...Rxe2 24.Qxe2 axb3 25.a3 Bxf6 26.Qd3 Rxa3 27.bxa3 Nxa3+ 28.Kc1 Nc4 29.Qf5 Qa5 30.Qc8+ Bd8 31.Qxg4+ Kh8 [31...Bg5 32.Qc8+ Kg7 33.Qh8+ Kxh8 34.Kb1 Qa2+ 35.Kc1 Qb2#] 32.Ng6+ fxg6 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Friday, June 23, 2017

Sicilian Defence vs Sandford

The flexibility of the Sicilian Defence can be a curse. Players have wide latitude in how to arrange the pieces. One slight inaccuracy can decide the entire direction of the game. Tom Sandford played White in this Sicilian Defence. Ray wrote (edited for space):

"This first round game between Tom Sandford and me was played in Houlton, Maine on 6-3-17. The time control was game/65. This is a bit fast for me. I made a mistake in this of putting my queen on the wrong square. I had more time than to work with but had a lost game..." [After] "I stopped writing down the moves I was able to win the white pawns on the queenside, but he won all of my pawns on the king side. The pieces all got traded off, which left him with three passed pawns. He had less time than I did with only about 48 seconds remaining to play. I had one or two minutes. I resigned."

My friendship with Ray Haines goes back 45 years when he often played the King's Gambit against me. This was his only loss in the event. I plan to show his wins soon.

[My new King's Gambit Playbook is now available.]

Sandford - Haines, Houlton, ME (1), 03.06.2017 begins 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 [4...Nxd7] 5.0-0 [5.c4] 5...Nc6 6.d4 [6.c3!?] 6...cxd4 7.Nxd4 Nf6 8.Re1 [8.Nc3=] 8...e6 [8...g6!?] 9.Bg5 Be7 10.c4 a6 11.Nc3 0-0 12.Qd2 [12.Nxc6 Qxc6 13.Rc1=] 12...Rfd8 13.Rad1 Nxd4 14.Qxd4 b5?! [14...Qc6=] 15.cxb5 axb5 16.e5 Ne8 17.Bxe7 Qxe7 18.Qb4 Qb7 19.exd6 Qc6? [19...Qb8 20.Ne4+/-] 20.Re3 [20.Nxb5!+-] 20...Nf6 [20...Rxd6 21.Rxd6+/=] 21.Red3 [21.Re5+-] 21...Ra7 22.a3 Rad7 [22...Rb7 23.h3+/-] 23.Qxb5 Qxb5 24.Nxb5 Rb8 25.a4 Nd5 26.b3 Nb4 27.Rc3 Nd5 28.Rc4 Kf8 29.Rdc1 Rbd8 30.g3 [Or 30.a5+- ] 30...f6 31.Rc8 Ke8 32.Kg2 Nb6 33.R8c6 Nd5 34.R6c5 Nb4 35.R5c4 Nd5 36.Rh4 h6 37.Rg4 g5 38.h4 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Benoni Defence by Zintgraff

Gary Zintgraff got sidetracked from the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit and Smith-Morra Gambit. Jonathan Rea took the game into a Benoni Defence. Zintgraff wrote:

"Dear Tim: Below is a game of mine from the May 2017 Methodist Hospital Chess Club. I believe the development and attacking principles learned from BDG games helped me develop the attack in the opening of this game. My opponent had defeated me the prior month when he had the White pieces. Sincerely, Gary D. Zintgraff"

[My new King's Gambit Playbook is available.]

Zintgraff - Rea, Methodist Hospital CC, 05.2017 begins 1.d4 c5 2.Nf3 [I played 2.Nf3 with the idea of possibly transposing to a Smith-Morra Gambit.] 2...e6 3.e4 g6? [This response leads me to open up the game and forget the Smith-Morra Gambit.] 4.d5 exd5 5.exd5 Bg7 6.d6 Nf6 7.Qe2+ Kf8 [My last two moves were to prevent castling.] 8.Nc3 Nc6 9.Bg5 h6 10.Bh4 Kg8 11.0-0-0 a6 12.Nd5 Kh7? [This gets the King into relative safety and frees the Rook, but leaves f7 undefended. 12...g5 12...g5 would have been better.] 13.Qc4 [The Queen feints at the c5-pawn, but is really attacking f7.] 13...b6?? 14.Bd3 [White should have played 14.Nxf6+! Qxf6 15.Bxf6 Kg8 (15...Bxf6?? 16.Qxf7+ Bg7 17.Ng5+ hxg5 18.h4 mates) 16.Bxg7. After the game continuation of...] 14...Bb7 [White wins the Queen or mates.] 15.Nxf6+ Bxf6?? [15...Qxf6 16.Bxf6 Rhf8 avoids the immediate mate but is still losing.] 16.Qxf7+ Bg7 17.Bxg6# 1-0 [Notes by Zintgraff]

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Monday, June 19, 2017

Kings Gambit Playbook 3.Nf3

My new King's Gambit Playbook is a basic guide to a repertoire for White. You offer material in a gambit to gain big advantages against the normal moves of your opponent. A gambit increases the excitement and risk for both players. Your opponent will make more mistakes under pressure.

This gambit is well suited for players who like to attack. I've played it over 700 times from one side or the other. In 1972-74, Ray Haines and Graham Cooper used to play it against me all the time. Frustrated, I found what became my super solid system with the Caro-Kann and Slav Defence as Black and the London System as White.

By 1980, I played the Kings Gambit and then the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. Those gambits fit me well. I scored better than ever. My Playbook series is meant for me. I write what I would want to know to play my opening well.

Alex Yakimenko defeated R. Kutschenko at the Basel Masters in early 2017 with a Kings Gambit Falkbeer Counter Gambit.

[My new King's Gambit Playbook is available in paperback.]

Yakimenko (2242) - Kutschenko (2101), Basel Masters 2017 Basel SUI (3.48), 03.01.2017 begins 1.e4 e5 2.f4 d5 3.exd5 e4 4.Nc3 [The main line is 4.d3 Nf6 5.dxe4 Nxe4 6.Nf3 Bc5 7.Qe2+/=] 4...Nf6 5.Bc4 Bc5 6.d4 [6.d3!?] 6...Bb4 [After 6...exd3 White can choose between 7.Qxd3 (and 7.cxd3 0-0 8.d4 Bg4 9.Qd3 Re8+ 10.Nge2) 7...0-0 8.Nge2 Re8 9.h3] 7.Nge2 Nxd5 [Taking on d5 seems to be a reason for 6...Bb4, but maybe Black might want to try 7...Bg4!? ] 8.0-0! Nf6 9.f5! b6 [9...Nbd7 10.Bg5+/=] 10.Bg5 Bb7 11.Ng3 [11.Bxf6 Qxf6 12.Nd5 Bxd5 13.Bxd5 c6 14.Bxe4+/-] 11...Bxc3 12.bxc3 Qd6 [12...0-0 13.Bxf6 Qxf6 14.Qg4+/-] 13.Nh5 [13.Bxf6 Qxf6 14.Qg4 0-0 15.Rae1+-] 13...Nxh5? [Now Black's game completely falls apart. 13...Rg8!? ] 14.Bxf7+ Kxf7 15.Qxh5+ Kf8 16.f6 g6 17.Qh6+ Kf7 18.Qg7+ Ke6 19.Qxh8 Nd7 20.Qxh7 Nf8 21.Qg7 Kd5 22.Qf7+ Kc6 23.Bf4 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Friday, June 16, 2017

English Opening 1.c4 g6 2.f4

I combined two openings 1.c4 and 1.f4 in this Symmetrical English. Historically, Loewe won as White against Kennedy in 1849. Chigorin drew as White with it in 1880. Hansen - Nimzowitsch 0-1 in 1928. Black usually responds 2...Nc6 or 2...Nf6 with equality. I drew Poul Rasmussen of Denmark. He had a peak ICCF rating of 2267 in 1993.

My English Opening vs van Willigen began 1.c4 g6 2.f4 as in Vospernik vs Minic in 1961. Basman vs Hartston reached this position by transposition in 1974. My plan was similar to the Marmaduke Wyvill formation 1.c4, 2.Nc3, 3.e3 and 4.f4. Jan Willem van Willigen of the Netherlands rated 2422 earned the title of International Correspondence Chess Master in 2007.

[My book London 2.Bf4 Playbook is available.]
[My new King's Gambit Playbook is available.]

Sawyer - Van Willigen, corr ICCF, 1982 begins 1.c4 g6 [1...c5 2.f4 Nc6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.g3 Bg4 7.Bg2 e6 8.0-0 Be7 9.d3 0-0 10.Nxd5?! (10.Bd2=) 10...exd5 11.e4!? dxe4 12.dxe4 Qxd1 13.Rxd1 Nd4 14.Rf1 (14.Kf2=) 14...Bxf3 15.Bxf3 Nxf3+ 16.Rxf3 Rfd8 17.Rf1 Rd4 18.e5 Rad8 1/2-1/2. Sawyer - Rasmussen, corr ICCF 1982] 2.f4 c5 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bg7 5.Nc3 d6 6.g3  [6.Be2=] 6...Nc6 7.Bg2 0-0 8.d3!? [8.0-0] 8...a6 9.Qd2 [9.0-0=] 9...Ne8 [9...b5=/+] 10.b3 Rb8 [10...Bf5=] 11.Bb2 e6 [11...b5 12.0-0=] 12.0-0 Bd7 13.a4 Na5 14.Qc2 b5 [14...Qb6=] 15.axb5 axb5 16.Nd2 f5 17.Ra2 [17.Nxb5 Bxb2 18.Qxb2 Bxb5 19.Qc3 Nxb3 20.Nxb3+/=] 17...Nc6 [17...bxc4 18.bxc4 Nc6=] 18.Bxc6 Bxc6 19.Ne2 [19.cxb5 Bxb5 20.Nxb5 Rxb5 21.Bxg7 Kxg7 22.Rfa1+/=] 19...Bxb2 [19...Nf6=/+] 20.Rxb2 Nf6 21.Ra1 Ng4 [21...b4=/+] 22.Nf1 Rf7 23.Rba2 [23.cxb5 Bxb5=] 23...bxc4 24.bxc4 Rfb7 25.Nc3 h5 [25...e5=/+] 1/2-1/2

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Bishops Opening Italian Game

My new Italian 2.Bc4 Playbook is a step by step chess opening guide to your easy repertoire for White. You begin 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 followed by d3 and Nf3. The Italian 2.Bc4 is a Bishop’s Opening that heads for the Giuoco Pianissimo. This move order avoids tricky Black gambits (such as the Elephant and Latvian) covered in Philidor 2.Nf3 Playbook.

This Italian 2.Bc4 is a repeatable sound choice well suited for careful players who do not want to worry about wild tactics early in the game. White builds up a gradual attack. The 200 diagrams cover the variations that you are most likely to face. I give a reasonable move for White in each position with a brief comment as to why it is recommended.

Masters like openings that keep pieces on the board to maximize opportunities. Here Fabiano Caruana works up a sudden attack against Varuzhan Akobian.

[My Italian 2.Bc4 Playbook is a 1.e4 cousin to the 1.d4 London 2.Bf4 Playbook.]

Caruana (2817) - Akobian (2645), PRO League KO Stage 2017 INT (4.3), 25.03.2017 begins 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 c6 4.Nf3 d5 5.Bb3 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Bd6 [6...Bxd2+ 7.Nbxd2] 7.Nc3 dxe4 8.Ng5 0-0 9.Ncxe4 Be7 10.h4!? Nbd7 11.Qf3 Qe8 12.0-0-0 a5 13.a3 Nd5 14.Rde1 h6 15.Ng3 [15.Qg3!?+/-] 15...Ra6 [15...N7f6 16.Nf5+/=] 16.Nf5 f6 [16...Nc5 17.Ba2+/-] 17.Ne6 Nc5 18.Nexg7 Nxb3+ 19.cxb3 Qg6 20.Rh3 Bxf5 [20...Kh8 21.Rg3 Qh7 22.Nxe7 Nxe7 23.Rxe5!+-] 21.Nxf5 Kh7 22.Rg3 Qf7 23.Nxh6 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Monday, June 12, 2017

Bogoljubow Wins with 1.Nc3

Magnus Carlsen won a game with 1.Nc3 against Giri. One hundred years ago the chief proponent of 1.Nc3 was the British player John Herbert White, co-founder of Modern Chess Openings (MCO) in 1911 (with R.C. Griffith, who died 1955). Early MCO editions dedicated a page to 1.Nc3. After White died in 1920, later editions reduced coverage. Before J.H. White, there were games by Arved Heinrichsen from the Baltic area. MCO cited a game or two by Heinrichsen. He played 2.e3 like a reversed French Defence.

Efim D. Bogoljubow played 1.Nc3 once against Nikolay Zubarev in the USSR Championship at Leningrad in 1925 (below). Sixty years ago Ted Dunst played 1.Nc3 in some notable American events and MCO named the opening the Dunst Opening.

IM Dirk Daniel Van Geet (Netherlands), Correspondence GM Ove Ekebjaerg (Denmark), Correspondence Expert Anker Aasum (Norway) and FM Harald Keilhack (Germany) have all done a lot to promote 1.Nc3. IM Zvonimir Mestrovic (Slovenia) played a variety of openings including 1.Nc3 hundreds of times.

[My Philidor 2.Nf3 Playbook is now available.]

Bogoljubow - Zubarev, URS-ch04 Leningrad (10), 1925 begins 1.Nc3 d5 2.e4 d4 3.Nce2 e5 4.Nf3 Bd6 5.Ng3 c5 6.Bc4 Nc6 [Black can castle quickly with 6...Nf6 7.0-0 0-0 8.d3 Nc6 9.a4=] 7.d3 Be6 8.Nf5!? [8.Bxe6 fxe6 9.c4=] 8...Bxc4 9.dxc4 Bf8 [9...g6 10.Nxd6+ Qxd6 11.0-0=] 10.0-0 g6 11.Ng3 Bg7 12.Ne1 [12.a3!?=] 12...Nge7 [12...Nf6 13.Nd3 Qe7 14.Bg5 0-0=] 13.Nd3 Qd6 14.f4 f6  [14...exf4 when White has either 15.e5 (or 15.Bxf4 Ne5 16.Bxe5 Bxe5 17.Qg4=) 15...Nxe5 16.Bxf4 0-0 17.Ne4=] 15.a3 a5 16.Qg4 h5 [16...0-0! 17.f5 b6 18.fxg6 hxg6 19.h4 Rad8 20.h5 Qd7=] 17.Qh3 b6 18.fxe5 Nxe5 19.Nxe5 fxe5 20.Bg5 Rf8 21.Ne2 Ng8 22.Rxf8+ Bxf8 23.Rf1 Bg7 [23...Be7 24.Bxe7 Kxe7 25.Qh4+ Nf6 26.Qg5 Rg8 27.Nc1+/=] 24.Nc1 Bf6 25.Qh4 Bxg5 26.Qxg5 Ra7 27.Nd3 Re7 28.b4 Re6 [28...cxb4 29.axb4 Re6 30.bxa5 bxa5 31.Qd2 Qc7 32.Ra1+/-] 29.bxc5 bxc5 30.Rb1 Nf6 [30...a4 31.Rb5+-] 31.Qxg6+ Kd8 32.Rb5 Nd7 33.Qxh5 Rf6 [33...Kc7 34.h4+-] 34.h3 Qe6 35.Qh8+ Ke7 36.Rb7 Qc6 37.Qg7+ 1-0

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