2 Strange Pictures and a Chess Openings Tidbit

It’s almost Halloween.

Here are the eerie Sky Eyes of Bryce Canyon, Utah.  I took this shocking photograph on October 12, 2004.  There are absolutely no chess events at or near Bryce Canyon and there haven’t been since the beginning of time.


And here is what happens when the author ignores the warning “Do Not Put Face in Push-Pin Exhibit.”  But the exhibit is crying out for a face mold!  A bunch of push pins, what does the curator expect?  Thus the author’s face mold as of October 19, 2007.  What’s the technical term, a bas-relief?  Or an intaglio?  There has to be some technical term here.


Readers are probably weary of these photos already and what we do to break up the photo monotony is to present a small Openings tidbit.

French Defense Tidbit

Here it is.   As Black, if you like the French, and someone plays like this in the Exchange French:

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 exd5 4. c4

The correct move isn’t so easy to spot.  It is (drum roll) the counter-intuitive 4…Nc6! and white cannot easily defend the center.   Black gains easy equality, and sometimes even an edge, in all lines.  So remember this move and don’t play the weaker 4….Bb4+?! or 4…c6?!. I know what you are thinking: this variation hardly ever happens. But it does! French defense aficionado Simone Sobel didn’t know 4…Nc6 and played the inferior 4…Bb4+ and lost a game in a Florida Swiss. I had to tell her after the game in the midst of her angst and woe about this 4…Nc6! trick and I can only hope she remembers it for “the next time.”  By the way, I have a suspicion (but cannot prove) that this trick originated from IM Michael Brooks. At the very least, he communicated it to others. But where did it originate? That is a question for chess openings paleontology.


2 Responses to “2 Strange Pictures and a Chess Openings Tidbit”

  1. Fluffybunnyfeet Says:

    Well, I turned the search over to my ChessAssistant HugeBase, and who should pop up at the top but – Frank James Marshall! Of course! C. Ward – Marshall, London 1902 (the position actually arises from an Albin Counter): 4…Nc6! 5. Nf3 Bg4 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Be2 Bb4+ 8. Nc3 0-0 9. 0-0 dc 10. Bxc4 Qd7 11. a3 Ba5 12. Bb5 a6 13. Bxc6 Qxc6 14. Ne5 Bxd1 15. Nxc6 Bxc3 16. Rfxd1 Bxb2, and Black was, I think, clearly better – Frank must have relaxed in the endgame.

    By the bye, I want to congratulate you on a most brave and entertaining blog – I’ve decided to do likewise, also to mark my own return to (occasional) tournament play. Let’s wish each other (differently graded) luck!

    Jim The Undead Master

  2. Fluffybunnyfeet Says:


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