Archive for the ‘A Personal Chess History’ Category

The Fabulous 10s: Accidental Brilliancies born of blitz

April 9, 2010

9. Nd2 King’s Indian Confuzzlement

Sometimes blitz games create confusion and in the cauldron of confusion bubble forth novelties and “brilliancies.”  Here is a case in point.

IM Aries2 – GM Fier  ICC 5 minute blitz

According to Fier’s finger notes, he is 22 years old, from Brazil, and has a 2581 FIDE rating.  What does one do against a high rating?  Just play directly!

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. d4 g6 3. c4 Bg7 4. Nc3 O-O 5. e4 d6 6. Be2 e5 7. O-O Nc6 8. d5 Ne7 9. Nd2! Somehow the most logical looking move.  I recently made notes to Beliavsky-Nakamura, indicating where white could have played more strongly (Al reached a great game as white then went wrong in the complications).

9…Nd7 Kasparov’s “old” 9…a5 might be better.

10. b4 f5 11…a5 would transpose to a game I won vs GM Peter Biyiasis in Philadelphia 1982 after 12. bxa5 Rxa5 13. a4.  White stands better there.

11. c5 Nf6 11…dxc5 12. bxc5 Nxc5 13. Ba3 offers white great play for the pawn.

12. f3 f4 13. Nc4 g5 14. a4

The course of the game suggests white might be able to do better dispensing with this move and playing 14. Ba3 straightaway.

14…h5 15. Ba3 Ne8 16. Nb5! a6

Pull the trigger!

17. Nxc7! The accidental blitz brilliancy!  This doesn’t regain the piece back right away, but it does set black difficult problems.

Qxc7 18. b5 In blitz, this is almost impossible to solve as black!

18…dxc5 The problem is that a normal defensive move, 18…Rf6, (trying to get white’s dark square bishop off the board), is met by 19. cxd6 Nxd6 20. Nxd6 Rxd6 21. Rc1 Qb8 22. b6! establishing a crushing bind!  A very aesthetic line – white disdains material and keeps his queen bishop.  Feast your eyes on some more moves here: 22…Bf8 23. Qb3 Ng6 24. Rc7! Rd7 25. d6+ Kg7 26. Rfc1! and wins!

19. d6 Nxd6 20. Qxd6 Qxd6 21. Nxd6 b6 22. a5?! Too fancy.  White had “chess memory” of Ginsburg-Christiansen, US Championship 2006, (see position after move 37W) where pawns opposed each other like this with great force for white (also, curiously, Ginsburg-Kriventsov, US Ch. 2006 – after move 23W).  The correct line was the simple mundane 22. Nxc6 Rfxc8 23. bxa6 and white is completely winning.

22…axb5 23. axb6 b4 24. Bc4+ Kh7 25. Bb2 Rb8 26. b7?? Another huge lemon and this one more serious.  The obvious 26. Ra7! won.  The reason being 26…Rxb6 27. Rxe7 Rxd6 28. Bxe5! and wins.

26…Bxb7 27. Ra7 Rfd8? 27…Nc8! would have turned the tables and black would get good winning chances!

28. Rxb7 Rxb7 29. Nxb7 Rd2 30. Rb1 g4 31. Be6 Interesting technical note: the computer points out here 31. fxg4! hxg4 32. Bf1! not giving black ideas against the f3-pawn that happened in the game.

31…gxf3 32. gxf3 c4? Panicky.  32…Ng6 was tougher.

33. Bxc4 Ng6 34. Kf1? 34. Bf7! ended it because 34…Nh4 35. Bxh5 protects f3!  At this point, white didn’t have much time left.

Nh4 35. Be2 Bf8 36. Na5? 36. Bxe5 won but white was just trying not to lose on time.

Ng6 37. Nc4 Rc2 38. Bxe5 Rxc4 39. Bxc4 Nxe5 40. Be2 Bc5 41. Rc1 Bd4 42. Rc7+ Kg6 43. Rb7 Bc3 44. h4 Kf6 45. Bd1 Ng6 46. Rb5 Nxh4 47. Rxh5 Ng6 48. Rb5 White should play 48. Rf5+ then run the king up.

48…Ne5 49. Ke2 Kg5 50. Bb3 Kh4 51. Rb8 Kg3 52. Rg8+ Kh3 53. Be6+ Kh2 54. Rf8 Kg3 55. Rg8+ Kh2 56. Rf8 Kg3 57. Rg8+ {Game drawn by mutual agreement}

A good blitz fight, don’t you think.  And some possible theoretical importance in the Nd2 King’s Indian!

From The Archives of Chess Today

Try this study!  (Golubev,  1984).

White to play and win.


The Fabulous 00s: Strong Chess on your Phone!

April 2, 2009

On your iPhone more particularly – Glaurung and Shredder!

Glaurung is a very strong and free program available from the iPhone “Apps Store.”  I will post some Glaurung games that I contested on my iPhone 3g – it lets you save the games on the phone as PGN!  What progress in the field of computer chess – a program in excess of 2500 USCF strength running on a slim svelte iPhone – I am very impressed!   It allows “takebacks” so hapless humans can takeback many times…. and still not win.   One of the nice features is that when the human taps on the piece to move, the computer draws blue dots on the screen of all that piece’s legal move destinations.  Then the human just taps on one of the blue dots.  The iPhone relies on human finger tapping, not a Treo-style stylus.

“flyer” on ICC also alerted me to Shredder on the iPhone:  “Shredder for iPhone is available now…it rates your play, has a million-move opening book, and 1,000 exercises…though I’m not sure how strong it is :-)”

And again “flyer”:   flyer (18:28 06-Apr-09 EDT): Cyber Chess Ultimate let’s you play on ICC!:


Here Comes Technology

Oh some chess?  A Snappy Caro-Kann Gamelet

The point of this site (besides robot cartoons) is chess (and nominally, chess history). I like the word ‘gamelet’.  It was used a lot in Reinfeld and Chernev books.  Here’s an ICC blitz gamelet

[Event “ICC blitz”]
[Site “cyberverse”]
[Date “2009.04.14”]
[White “aries2”]
[Black “chessIPO1”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “B18”]

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. h4 h6 7. N1e2!? A great blitz weapon.


7…e6 8. Nf4 Bh7 9. Bc4 Nf6 10. Qe2 Nd5 11. c3


 11…Be7? A weak move that gives white the g7 point to attack.  An interesting try is 11… Qd6!? that wound up as a draw in two example database games.

On the other hand, 11… Nxf4?! 12. Bxf4 Bd6 13. Qg4 Bxf4 14. Qxg7 Ke7 15. Nh5! is bad for black and white duly won, 1-0 Rubinetti,J-Benko,F/Buenos Aires 1965.

12. Ngh5! O-O?! Another misstep.  Correct is the cold-blooded 12… Rg8! and now, for example, 13. O-O!? Bxh4! 14. Re1 Be7 15. Qe5 Kf8 16. Nxe6+ fxe6 17. Nf4 Bf5 18. Nxe6+ Bxe6 19. Qxe6 Qd7 20. Qe4 Na6 21. Qf3+ and now the computer indicates a fantastic defense resource: 21…Bf6! 22. Bxh6 Rh8 23. Bd2 Kg8! and black holds.

13. Qg4 I did not consider (but should have) the tricky 13. Bxd5!? exd5! (13… cxd5? 14. Nxg7! Kxg7 15. Qe5+ f6 (15… Kg8 16. Nh5 f6 17. Qg3+ forces resignation) 16. Nxe6+ Kh8 17. Qg3 Rg8 18. Nxd8 Rxg3 19. fxg3 Bxd8 20. Bxh6 with a big ending edge) 14. Qe5 f6! (14… Bf6? 15. Nxf6+ Qxf6 16. Qxf6 gxf6 17. Rh3 is horrible for black) 15. Qe3 Qe8 and black holds on; hard-to-see defense!

13… Bf6 14. Nxg7! A standard, but aesthetic, blow.  With colors reversed, Beliavsky once landed this tactic against ex-WC Karpov on the g2 square in a stodgy QGD and won as black! I recommend that the readers consult the excellent book “Uncompromising Chess” by Beliavsky to improve their game.

14…Bxg7 15. Nh5 Bg6 16. Nxg7 Kxg7 17. h5 Nf6


Position after 17…Nf6.  An interesting moment. 

18. Bxh6+?! I didn’t consider the very strong 18. Qg3! Ne4 (18… Rh8 19. hxg6 fxg6 20. Bf4 Nbd7 21. Bd3 Qe8 22. O-O-O and white wins) 19. Qe5+ Qf6 20. Bxh6+ Kxh6 21. hxg6+ Kg7 22. Rh7+ Kg8 23. Qxe4 Qxg6 24. Qxg6+ fxg6 25. Rxb7 and it’s all over.  The text allows black a surprising way to wriggle out to near-equality.

18… Kxh6 19. hxg6+ Kg7 20. Qg5!  White can go wrong with the unsound 20. Rh7+??  Nxh7 21. gxh7+ Kh8! and white can resign.


Position after 20. Qg5! —  Decision time.

20… fxg6? 20… Rh8!! is a great defense. 21. gxf7+ Kxf7 22. O-O-O Na6 (just getting stuff out) 23.
Qe5 Nd5! (23… Qd7? 24. Rxh8 Rxh8 25. g4 with a big initiative) 24. Bxa6 bxa6 25. c4 Nb6 26. Rde1
Qf6 27. Qc7+ Qe7 28. Qxc6 Rac8 29. Qf3+ Qf6 30. Qxf6+ Kxf6 31. c5 Nd5 32. Kd2 and white can pretend to have a small edge here.

21. Rh6 Now white wins.

21…Qe8 22. Bd3 Nh7 23. Rxg6+ Kh8 24. Qh6 For some reason the stronger check, 24. Qe5+!, did not come to my mind.  After 24… Rf6 25. Rh6 white wins.  When I played this move, I had in mind the nice game continuation, but it’s not forced.

24… Qf7 25. Rf6! 1-0 A pleasing end to a pleasing gamelet.  Black is caught in a cross pin and resigns.


Final position after 25. Rf6!

What’s on the Horizon

We all know Ilya Nyzhnyk (up and coming 12 year old prodigy who needs a vowel).  Who’s after him?  Here are some more youthful Russian prodigies.


Actually as an ethnic quiz identify the NON-Russian in the above photo.

And To Conclude – Some Reader Queries

Some readers were asking, “is it true sushi is served sometimes with real gold leaf?”  Yes it is. For example, on Avenue A in New York City, “Le Miou”.


That’s real gold leaf!  Nutritious?  Dunno, probably not.

Others were asking, “What’s the best looking motorcycle cruiser?”  I would vote for the Victory 8-ball.


Victory 8-ball.  Best Looking?

The Fabulous 60s: McKelvie upsets Benko

March 18, 2009

This just in from Dr. Neil McKelvie (Chemistry Professor at CCNY and Chess Master)

Mark…I noticed that (a) there have been no comments on my Denker submission; BUT (b) if you look up “Neil McKelvie” on GOOGLE, which I just did out of curiosity, I note that the first three entries – meaning most often accessed – are for me. (The next ones: I am not the principal of a religious English school in Yorkshire, and I do not play drums in a NZ rock band!) No 3 is for your BLOG. I have received no comments – have you?

MG Note: New Zealand (NZ) is a fantastic place, every chess player should visit it. The most recent NIC magazine has a story about the Queenstown, NZ Open organized by GM Chandler.  As Dr. McKelvie points out, in Auckland, NZ there happens to be MacKelvie Street but it’s listed as McKelvie Street.

McKelvie on Benko

Now: Pal Benko! I played him twice in MCC championships, and once in a US Open in Boston; but several times in Rapids (once coming in second to Bobby Fischer…7-0 I think was HIS score – ahead of Bisguier and Benko) This game is similar to the Denker game in that I played a highly speculative and probably unsound improvised gambit. *I* think that the most interesting Chess often comes from doubtful moves that no decent Computer would ever play! (Benko scored 7-0 the next year, ahead of Bisguier 5 1/2 – 1 1/2 and me 5-2)

McKelvie – GM Pal Benko Manhattan Club Championship – date 1966?

MG Note to readers: The Manhattan CC moved all over Manhattan, including a stint at the world famous Carnegie Hall at 57th and 7th Avenue.  This game was played before that venue.  Notes in the body of the game are by MG with Rybka kibitzing… see next section for McKelvie’s notes.

1. e4   c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3  e6 6. f4 a6 7. Be3 b5

As in many games, for example SM Bill Kelleher – M. Ginsburg, New England, 1980s (possibly early 90s).

Old Theory

Old Theory

8. e5!? Just as Kelleher played!  Theory presumes this to be premature but play gets very sharp.  It’s odd to see super sharp McKelvie openings because when I (MG) played him he reacted very passively in a QGD MCC Ch. 1985.  Maybe decaf that day?

In the 1970s, this type of structure was covered in a Scheveningen textbook.  Let’s see it:

What we had to work with in the 1970s

What we had to work with in the 1970s

However this 8. e5!? lunge was little covered.  I was certainly shocked when Kelleher tried it against me.

8….dxe5 9. fxe5 Nd5 Just for completeness, 9….b4!? TN 10. exf6 bxc3 11. fxg7 Bxg7 12. bxc3 Qc7 is a small edge for white – thus playable.

10. Nd5 Qxd5 11. Be2 Still following the Kelleher game.  I don’t have that game score handy….(I won after insane complications).  The bizarre computer choice 11. Nf3 retains equality.

11…Qxe5 I  believe that I, too, accepted this pawn because it’s hard to see what else black can do.

12.Qd2    Bb7 A very important position for the theory of this line has been reached.  Interesting, Rybka judges white has almost equal chances.  Black has one narrow way (see next note) to get something.  As McK mentions in his notes below, 12…Bc5! is a good alternative here and Rybka agrees.

13.Bf4    Qd5(? – McK) The best, not easy to see at the board, is 13…Qc5! 14. O-O-O Be7 15. Nb3 Qc8! 16. Bd6 Qd8! 17. Nc5 Bd5! and black has a small plus.

14. O-O-O! A wild continuation hanging a2.  However in the end this turns out to be justified. Rybka mentions 14. Bf3 Qd7 15. Rf1!? with compensation.    It also gives an inhuman line 14. Bf3 Qd7 15. Qc3 Bxf3 16. gxf3!?, also with good compensation.

14…Qd7  (? – Rybka) Benko blinks first, makes a move that doesn’t contribute to development, and he lands in a lost game!  But starting here we have a fascinating battle of the chess engines.  It would be interesting to turn even more engines loose on this one.

Naturally Rybka 2.2 doesn’t like this game choice and recommends 14…Qxa2 15. Nb3 Be7 (forced) 16. Bd6 Bf6 17. Be5! O-O (17…Be7?! 18. Bxg7 is good for white after 18…Rg8 19. Qh6)  18. Bxf6 gxf6 19. Qf4 (or 19. Qh6) – thus far McK analysis- and now a truly amazing defense, 19…Nc6!! 20. Qxf6 Na5 and white has nothing better than a perpetual with queen checks on g5 and f6.  Incredible.   But hang on to your hats.  Rybka 3.1 has seen deeper!  19…Nc6 20. Qxf6 Na5 21. Nc5 Rac8 22. Rd4! and wins!  Thus we have to revise our opinion and say black should not grab on a2!

Rybka 3.1 indicates black should not grab on a2 just yet, develop with 14…Be7, but then 15. Bf3 Qxa2 16. Qc3! causes obvious problems.  Is there any defense at all?  Let’s take a look at this position; the resource it finds for black is truly amazing.

Position after 16. Qc3 (Analysis)

Position after 16. Qc3 (Analysis)

Readers:  A) What should black play from the diagram position above?  B) What’s the correct evaluation with best play for both sides?

15. Qc3! Now black has a horrible game in all lines.

15…Bd5? This makes it worse. 15…b4, while very lame, was the best chance.

16. Nf5! A real cruncher.  Black is dead lost.

16…Nc6 17. Rxd5! exd5  18. Bg4!  Kd8 What a depressing move to have to play. In fact, black could have resigned – see the note to white’s next move.

19. Nd4 (“!” – McK, “?”   – Rybka)

Rybka hates this move because of what’s out there.  Indeed, one of Rybka’s juicy moves, 19. Ne7!!, forces resignation after 19…Qxg4 20. Nxc6+.  Even worse, if that is possible, is 19…Qxe7 20. Qxc6 with utter destruction.   For the sadists in the audience, 19. Nh6!! is just as effective.  For example, 19. Nh6!! Nb4 20. Bg5+ Be7 21. Nxf7+ and it’s +13.95 in computer speak!

This just in from McKelvie:  “Just incidentally….I DID intend Ne7, which of course wins easily, but then picked Nd4, which wins a piece and ALSO wins easily. Why? After Ne7 Black can play B:e7 and then K:d7, with R+N for Q and dead lost, but at least developed and able to survive for a while. After Nd4 Black is still with a useless R and unmoved B. The way I played SHOULD have led to immediate resignation after Qe1/e3 instead of Re1…now THAT was careless of me, or perhaps I wanted to enjoy winning against Benko a bit longer!

I suspect Rybka cannot understand failing to win Q for two pieces instead of just winning a piece, unless I have missed some amazing defence after my Nd4.   Cheers – Neil McKelvie”

19…Nb4! Black doesn’t have to be asked twice to do this. He’s now at only -1.2; if white had done 19. Ne7 it would have been -5 in computer-speak.

20. Kb1 Qb7 20. Rc8 21. Qh3 also loses: 21…Qb7 22. Bg5+! Kc7 23. Qc3+ Kb8 24. Bf4+ and wins the rook.

21. a3 h5 22.  Bh3 a5 23. ab Ra6   24. Nxb5 axb5 25. Bc7+ Ke8  26. Re1+ Re6   27.B:e6   fe   28.Qh3    Rh6    29.R:e6+  Kf7  30.R:h6   gh   31.Qf5+   Kg8   32.Qe6+   Kh7   33.Qf7+   Bg7 34.Nd4    Qa7    35.Nf5    Qg1+ 36.Ka2    b3+  37.K:b3   Resigns

I will try to find the “counter-twin” Kelleher game.

Some notes by McKelvie

Some notes: 12….Bc5 looked good for Black, although after 13.O-O-O O-O (?! – Rybka)  (MG: Rybka likes 13….Bb7! first) 14.Bf3 Ra7 15.Bf4!? Qd4 16.Qd4 Bd4 17.Rd4 White has a little compensation with two Bishops…
13….Qc5 was much better than 13…Qd5. If 14…Qa2 15.Nb3  Be7 16.Bd6 Bf6 17.Be5 O-O(?)
18. Bf6 gf 19 Qh6 a5(?) 20. Bd3 f5 21.g4,,,,  (MG:  See game notes for a discussion of a preliminary computer try, 19…Nc6)
26. Qe3+ was quicker.

Cheers….Neil McKelvie

McKelvie Puzzle

One McK creation from MANY years ago…a Mate in Four (but the first move is fairly obvious).
White: Qh1; Kg2; Pg4; Nb4; Ne8 Black: Kd7 Pb7

9/21/09:  Neil sent in a correction, the above puzzle had a typo. Here is the right version.

White: Kg2; Qh1; N’s b5 and e8; P g4;

Black: Kd7; Pb7    White to play and Mate in 4.

Solution: 1.Ne8-c7
If 1….Ke7 2.Qh7+ If then 2…Kf6 3.Nd5+ and then mirror mates from 4.Qh5 or Qf5 Other moves are uninteresting. HOWEVER
If 1…..Kc6; some logic. Black’s possible second moves with the K are 2…Kb6; 2…Kc5 and 2…K back to d7.  For the Q to then mate in two more moves, it has to get to a3, d4, and e5 respectively. There is only one square from where all three can be reached: a1!
SO: 2.Qa1. But now; what if 2…Pb6. NOW, the K has three squares available: 3…c5 or d7 or b7. To mate then, the Q has to get to c3, e8…AND a8. There is only one square from which to reach all three:3.Qh8. Therefore: Z for Zugswang! Q from h1 -> a1; h8; and a8.

McKelvie on Celts, Irish, Scots

“Mc” and even “M’ ” are valid SCOTTISH (and Irish) abbreviations for “Mac”. For my family name, which comes from the whole area of northern Ireland, the islands to the north, and the Scottish land area to the east; south of Glasgow, “McKelvie is the Scottish spelling, and “McKelvey” is the Ulster spelling. We are supposedly all descendants of a chieftain named “Cielbach Mac Cielbach”, where the “C” turned sometimes into “K” and sometimes into “S” (the northern English name “Selby”) over 2000+ years.

Scots from the North ,”highlanders”, are invariably “Mac”. Lowland Scots, who originally came from Northern ireland anyway, are usually “Mc”. The ROMANS named the group from Northern Ireland the “Scotti”. They were in constant war with the O’Neill’s from the south of Ireland, and so pushed into the south of Scotland, then occupied by the Picts. The two groups united against the Roman invaders. Later a character called Kenneth MacAlpine had married a daughter of the Pictish King, and when he died he became the first king of a united Scotland, having had other claimants killed off. To this day the tall fair-haired Highlanders – descendants of the Picts? – look, think, and talk differently from the Lowlanders. The groups do not always get on well together.
So; the Northern Ireland conflict has a 2000+ year history.

MG Note:  Since I was/am a Philistine savage, previously I believed “Mc” was Irish and “Mac” was Scottish and that was that.  Clearly things are much “Highland mistier.”

The Fabulous 00s: The Scrappy Western Chess Congress 2009

March 9, 2009

Nostalgia in Concord

It was quite enjoyable play in a Bill Goichberg event in Concord, CA.  There was a lot of nostalgia.  For example, I saw IM Walter Shipman battling on the black side of a stodgy Cozio in the last round vs NM Yulia Cardona and the position looked like a stodgy game where I played Walter in the 1989 Manhattan CC Championship!  (I failed to win, narrowly, and missed tying for first in that ’89 event).   By the time I left, it looked like Yulia too would not breach Walter’s tough defensive line.  I also saw Dmitry Zilberstein.  The last time I played Dmitry (not counting an Az – Ca CoC online US Champ. qualifier matchup that he won), it was the 2000 “Universe Open” in San Francisco and we were busy dropping “powerbombs” on each other in a wildly inaccurate King’s Indian.  Many “name” players didn’t do well and dropped out before the end:  Donaldson, Mezentsev, Shankland.  Strugatsky also had big problems and didn’t wind up with a prize.

In the notes that follow, “The Computer” stands for Rybka 3.1.

Big Kid and Little Kid

The event was won by Daniel “Kid” Naroditsky with 4 out of 5.  It is my fault, I squandered a white against him in Round 4 in a misfired attempt to “surprise” and could only produce an anemic draw.   Naroditsky did produce a nice win earlier, soundly defeating Shankland’s mishandled Scheveningen (I have no doubts we will see that game annotated elsewhere).

I also saw an even younger and littler kid (yes, this is possible) David Adelberg, rated only 2095, who produced a big score of 3.5 out 5 (same as me; we tied for 2nd along with Tate, Zilberstein, and De Guzman).   In my last round encounter, I frustratingly mixed up the middlegame move order in a not terribly tricky position and all my winning chances disappeared vs NM Zierk.

Here is a funny Adelberg game from the last round. I might have the introductory move order wrong but at any rate take a look at the crazy position that resulted right out of the opening:

Yanayt had 2.5 out of 4 going into this and Adelberg had 3.  There was a big class prize for Adelberg on the line!

NM Eugene Yanayt (2298) – David Adelberg (2095)  King’s Indian Western Chess Congress, Round 5.  40/2, SD/1

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 d6 3. Nc3 Nbd7 4. e4 e5 5. Nf3 c6 6. Be2 g6 7. O-O Bg7 8. Qc2  O-O Maxim Dlugy used to pay rent by squeezing hapless opposition after 9. d5.  Maxim loved static space advantages.

9. Rd1 cxd4 10. Nxd4 Qc7?! This is a very dubious and passive spot for the queen.

11. Be3 Nc5?! 12. b4 Ne6

Black’s treatment, omitting the “necessary” a7-a5,  looks highly dubious.  Thus far he looks like a victim on the wrong side of a simul. Yanayt goes for what looks like a quick kill.  If he had played 13. Nb3, he could have established a huge edge positionally.

13. Nxe6 Bxe6 14. Bf4 Rfd8 15. c5 Ne8 16. cxd6 Nxd6  17. Nb5

A nice (even if obvious) double pin.  Game over?

Is the Kid Dead Meat?

Is the Kid Dead Meat?

17…Qe7! Game not over!  The kid has a funny “kid” habit of banging out blitz type moves like this very emphatically; shades of a young Jay Whitehead.

18. Bxd6 Rxd6 19. Nxd6 Bxa1

Last chance for Yanayt to continue the fight with a small edge.

20. Nxf7?

Wrong.    I will leave the right plan as an exercise to the reader. After the text move, black had no problems drawing in short order after 20…Bxf7.

The right choice to continue the battle was the difficult 20. f4! Bg7 21. e5.  By leaving the N on d6, white poses practical problems. For example, 21…a5?! 22. b5! +=. Or, 21…Rd8 22. Bc4! Bxc4 23. Qxc4 Qe6 24. Qxe6 fxe6 25. Kf2 +=. The right reaction for black is 21…g5! but this is hard to decide on in a position where it looks like there are safe alternatives. After 21…g5 22. g3 gxf4 23. gxf4 Qh4! 24. Rf1 a5! black has enough counterplay.  This is not an obvious line and deviations give white the edge.

Stay tuned, I will present some interesting games I played vs Gutman, IM De Guzman, FM Naroditsky, Yanayt, and Zieck.

And now my own games.

Josh Gutman (2190) – M. Ginsburg, Round 1.
Sicilian Kan

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. Nc3 a6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Qc7 6. Bd3 Nf6 7. Qe2 Nc6(!) It’s really a Taimanov now, but one where it looks like black has solved his problems.

8.  Nb3 This decentralizing move cannot offer anything.  On the other hand, after 8. Nxc6 bxc6 9. e5 Nd5 10. O-O Be7 11. h3 O-O 12. Qe4 g6 13. Bh6 Re8 black is OK too.

8…Be7 9. f4

Could try something strange now

Could try something strange now

9…d6 It’s noteworth that  the computer likes the surprising 9… h5!? that I never considered.  If 10. h3 (10. e5!? Ng4 11. h3?! (11. O-O b5 (11… Nb4?! 12. Be4 d6 13. a3) 12. h3 Qa7+ 13. Kh1 Bb7 14. a4 b4 15. Ne4 f5 16. Nd6+ Bxd6 17. exd6 Kf7 18. c3 Kg6 with a strange game) 11… Bh4+! 12. Kf1 Nf2 13. Rg1 Nxd3 14. cxd3 d6 and black is very happy) 10…d6 11. Be3 b5 12. O-O Bb7 and black is all right.

10. Be3 b5 Hunting down the B/d3 with 10… Nb4?! 11. O-O O-O 12. a3 Nxd3 13. cxd3 Bd7 14. Rac1 Bc6 15. Nd4 gives white an easy position to play.

11. a4 This plan is slow and black equalizes with no problems.

11…b4 12. Nb1 12. Nd1 e5 13. O-O O-O 14. Nf2 d5 15. f5 Rd8 16. a5 d4 17. Bd2 Bb7 is fine for black.  Basically, once the N/c3 has left, black has a lot of say in the center.

12… O-O 13. O-O Bb7 The immediate 13… e5! is nice.  I did not consider it.  Black can make do without the fianchetto on b7. For example, 14. N1d2 exf4 15. Bxf4 Ng4 16. h3 Nge5 17. Nc4 Be6 with equal chances.

14. N1d2 e5 Someone like Ulf Andersson would play 14… Rfe8! which is more psychologically clever – delaying e5, and hoping  white misplaces his pieces. For example, 15. a5 e5 16. f5 d5 17. Bb6 Qb8.  The text is OK, it just reduces the possibilities.

15. Nc4  d5 Here black had the evident 15… exf4 which is good enough for equality. 16. Bxf4 (16. Rxf4 Ne5 17. Bb6 Qd7 18. Nba5 Nxc4 19. Bxc4 d5 is interesting but not forced) 16… Rfe8 17. a5 Ne5 18. Nb6 Rad8 and black is comfortable.

16. Nb6? A bad tactical miscue.  One good move was 16. Bb6! forcing the black queen back first.  Then, 16…Qb8 17. exd5 Nxd5 18. Bxh7+ Kxh7 19. Qd3+ Kg8 20. Qxd5 exf4 21. Qe4 f3!? with bizarre complications.  White also had the simple capture 16. exd5 Nxd5 17. fxe5 (Not now 17. Bxh7+? Kxh7 18. Qd3+ Kg8 19. Qxd5 Nd4! and witness the following powerful sequence: 20. Qxe5 Qc6!  21. Rf2 Bh4!! 22. Rd2 (22. Raf1 Bxf2+ 23. Rxf2 Rfe8 24. Qxd4 Rad8 25. Nba5 Rxd4 26. Nxc6 Rd1+ 27. Rf1 Rxf1+ 28. Kxf1 Bxc6 29. b3 Bd5 30. Bd2 Bxc4+ 31. bxc4 a5) 22… Nf3+!!  23. gxf3 Qxf3 and wins! – a very nice sideline) 17… Nxe5 18. Nxe5 Qxe5 19. Bd4 Qc7! and it’s about even in the middlegame.  On the other hand, the queen trade 19… Qxe2? is very bad; 20. Bxe2  is a good ending for white.

16… dxe4! Now white quickly goes down the drain.

17. Bc4 White has to play this depressing move; the point is that 17. Nxa8 exd3! 18. Nxc7 dxe2! wins since the N on c7 gets trapped.  For example,  19. Rfe1 Bd6 20. Bc5 (20. Nb5 axb5 21. axb5 Nd4 22. Bxd4 exd4 23. Rxe2 Bxf4 24. Nxd4 Ng4 25. Nf3 Be3+ 26. Kf1 (26. Kh1 Bc5) 26… Bb6 wins) 20… Bxc7 21. Bxf8 Kxf8 22. Rxe2 exf4 and wins.  White played his 16th move too quickly not seeing the N/c7 cannot get back.

17… Rad8 Now, with …Nd4 threatened and a solid extra center pawn for black, white is just lost.

18. fxe5 Black wins after 18. a5 Nd4 19. Nxd4 exd4 20. Bf2 Rfe8 21. Kh1 Bc5.

18… Nxe5 19. Bxa6

Nothing helps.  If 19. h3 Rd6 20. a5 Rc6!  is a self-blocking, computer-style move that… wins.

19… Neg4! A typical Kan overloading.  White must lose heavy material.

20. Rxf6 Qxh2+ 21. Kf1 Nxe3+ 0-1

Round 2. I continue my winning ways briefly before going on a drawing rampage in rounds 3 through 5.

IM M. Ginsburg – NM E. Yanayt   King’s Indian, Saemisch, 6. Bg5

1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 g6 3. e4 d6 4. d4 Bg7 5. f3 O-O 6. Bg5 My old favorite from the 1980s; I defeated IM Israel Zilber in Canada in a sharp game and Marcel Piket in Holland (GM Jeroen Piket’s brother).

6…c5 I faced 6…Nc6!? vs. Danny Edelman OTB and versus Naroditsky in ICC blitz.  White should probably not react hyper-aggressively as I did with 7. d5 Ne5 8. f4 as I did in those games.

7. d5 e6 8. Qd2 exd5 9. cxd5 a6 10. a4 h6 11. Be3

White might get a small edge after 11. Bxh6 Nxe4 12. Nxe4 Qh4+
13. g3 Qxh6 14. Qxh6 Bxh6 15. Nxd6 Nd7.

11… Nbd7 12. Nh3 Kh7 Some prior games have featured h5, Nh7, and f5 with a wild game.

13. Nf2 Rb8 14. Be2 Qc7 15. O-O c4?

This is an over-ambitious idea, donating d4 to white.   Black can hang tough with 15… b6 16. b3 Re8.

Vacuum on d4

Vacuum on d4

16. Bd4! Filling the vacuum. 16. a5  is also a good move but the move in the game might be stronger.  The computer gives the nice regrouping 16. a5  b5 17. axb6 Nxb6 18. Bd4 Re8 19. Rfc1 h5 20. Ncd1! Bh6 21. Ne3 Nfd7 22. Qa5 with a big edge.

16… Nc5? On 16… b5 17. axb5 axb5 18. Ra7! Qd8 19. b4!? (or 19. Rfa1) white is much better.   Still he should try this as the text just drops material.

17. Bxc4 Nxa4 18. Nxa4 Qxc4?! This loses quickly.  Relatively best was 18… b5 19. Be2 (The computer’s choice – also 19. Bxb5 axb5 20. Rfc1 Qb7 21. Nb6 is great for white) 19… bxa4 20. Rxa4 Nh5 21. Rc1 Qd7 22. Bxg7 Kxg7 23. Qd4+ Kh7 24. Nd3 Bb7 25. f4 Ng7 26. Rb4 Rfe8 27. Bf3 will win; this line is just more complicated than 19. Bxb5.

19. Ba7 Bd7 20. Rfc1 Qb5 21. Nc3 Qc4 22. Ne2! The queen is caught with Ne2-d4 coming up.


Round 3. The start of my drawing “reign of terror.”

IM De Guzman (2396) – IM Ginsburg  Modern Defense

1. d4 g6 2. Nf3 Bg7 3. c3 d6 4. e4 Nf6 5. Bd3 O-O 6. O-O Nc6! A long time ago in the 1970s I tried this as white versus IM Sal Matera and got nothing.

7. Bg5 Nd7 8. Nbd2 Qe8 9. Re1 e5 10. Nb3! Excellent play.  I had only anticipated exchanging on e5 with a level game.

Position after 10. Nb3!

Position after 10. Nb3!

10… h6 11. Bh4 b6?! Not a good reaction but I was feeling uncomfortable.    I spent a lot of time and came up with this awkward move.  Better was the accurate 11… exd4 12. cxd4 a5! 13. a4 (13. Rc1 a4 14. Nbd2 a3 15. b3 g5 with sharp play) 13…Nb4 14. Rc1 c6! neutralizing the c-file and black has ‘tidied up’ nicely.

12. Bb5 Bb7 13. Qd3!? Very interesting.  White operates with Qc4 threats.

13…exd4 I didn’t understand that 13… a6!? was playable after all –  14. Bxc6 Bxc6 15. Qc4 Nf6 16. d5 Bb5 17. Qxc7 Qb8 18. Qxb8 Raxb8 19. Bxf6 Bxf6 with quite decent compensation.

14. cxd4 Rc8 15. Rac1 Ncb8 16. a4 a6 17. Bc4 Nc6 18. Qd2 Nd8 19. Qe2 Ne6!? I am just flipping pieces around and now make this semi- bluff.  I am just waiting for my chances.  I didn’t like the looks of 19… a5 20. h3 Ne6 21. Qd2 and black is suffering.

20. Bg3? The only clear error by White in this game.  He believes black’s semi-bluff and moves his bishop onto a bad square.  Correct was the grab  20. Bxa6! Bxa6 21. Qxa6 g5?! (21… Nf6 22. Qc4 Ra8 23. Ra1 Qd7 24. Bxf6 Bxf6 25. e5 d5 26. Qb5 c6 27. Qd3 Be7 28. Nbd2 Nf4 29. Qc3) 22. Bg3 g4 23. Nh4 Nxd4 24. Nxd4 Bxd4 25. Qe2 h5 26. Nf5 Bf6 27. h3 and white is better.  If he had played 20. Bxa6, I would not have played the committal g6-g5-g4 idea; rather, I would have kept pressure on the queenside pawns and hoped for some kind of compensation.

20…Nf6! Now black is very much OK.

21. d5 Ng5!? The computer likes 21… Nc5 22. Nxc5 bxc5 23. b3 Rb8.    The text is also quite good.  Black has excellent dynamic play.

22. Nxg5 hxg5 23. Ra1 If 23. Bxa6 Bxa6 24. Qxa6 Nh5 (24… Ra8 25. Qd3 Rxa4 26. Rxc7 Rxe4 27. Rf1 Qd8 28. Rc6 Rfe8 29. Rxd6 Nd7 30. Qb5) 25. a5 Bxb2 26. Rc2 Nxg3 27. hxg3 Be5 28. axb6 Ra8 29. Qb7 cxb6 30. Rc6 g4 31. Qxb6 Qb8)

23… Nh5! Black offered a draw and white accepted.  I could have played on since after  24. Bxa6 Nxg3 25. hxg3 Bxa6 26. Qxa6 Bxb2 although chances are equal black has the easier game to handle with the strong unopposed bishop.


Round 4.

Ginsburg – Naroditsky  King’s Indian Defense   “Smyslov Bg5”

The kid was ‘en fuego’ fresh off a convincing win over Shankland.  My job was to calm him down.

1.. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. c4 Bg7 4. Nc3 O-O 5. Bg5 Unfortunately this sideline is harmless as black demonstrates quickly in the game.

5…d6 6. e3 c5 7. d5

What happens if White avoids 7. d5?  Here’s a cautionary tale between an ex-WC and a fellow who once tied Botvinnik in a WC match: 7. Be2 Nc6 8. O-O Bf5 9. dxc5 dxc5 10. Qxd8 Rfxd8 11. Rad1 Ne4 12. Nxe4 Bxe4 13. b3 h6 14. Bf4 Nb4! 15. a3 Na2! 16. Rxd8+ Rxd8 17. Rd1 Rxd1+ 18. Bxd1 Nc3 19. Nd2 Bd3! and white resigned due to 20. Bf3 e5! winning a piece, Smyslov-D. Bronstein, Teeside 1975. Elegant geometry by Bronstein. White also had zero after 7. Be2 cxd4 8. exd4 h6 9. Bf4 Bf5 and black won eventually, Smyslov-Epishin Rostov 1993. We start to get the sense that 7. d5 is the only “test” but it’s not much of a test.

A very well motivated and computer-looking move to avoid the g5-d8 pin.

Position after 7...Qb6!

Position after 7...Qb6!

It was too much to hope for junior crudity with  7…h6 8. Bh4 g5? and white got a crushing advantage on the light squares in Ehlvest-Liu, Marshall CC Summer International 2008 (although Ehlvest blew numerous wins then gave Liu a forced mate which he missed; talk about adventure).

8. Qc2(?!) Ehlvest elected 8. Rb1 and this might be a little more challenging. After 8. Rb1 Na6 9. Nd2 h6 10. Bh4 g5 11. Bg3 Bf5 12. e4 black should have retreated with 12…Bg6 keeping good chances, but he went for 12…Nxe4?! and lost in Ehlvest-Garcia Luque, San Roque 1996.

8…e5 Black is also OK after 8… Na6 9. a3 Bf5 10. Bd3 (10. e4 Bd7) 10… Bxd3 11. Qxd3 Qxb2 12. O-O Qb6 13. Rab1 Qc7)

9. dxe6 9. Be2 Na6 is zero.

9… Bxe6 10. Rd1 Nc6! 11. a3 Weirdly the computer indicates 11. Rxd6(?) Nd4! 12. Rxd4 cxd4 13. Nxd4 Rae8 14. Nxe6 Rxe6 as being all right for white but what human would like that?

11… Rad8 Black is also doing well after 11… Na5.

12. Bd3 I hated my game here so i offered a draw.

I was afraid of 12…Na5! and black is starting to build a nice initiative.  After this, if 13. Nd5 I’d definitely rather be black. Naroditsky was focusing more on the rather inferior 12…h6 so he accepted.
Next time I will try a main line with Nd2 or Ne1!


Round 5. It all come down to this.  Since on other boards De Guzman was drawing Naroditsky and Tate was drawing Zilberstein, I needed to win.  And at a certain moment I had my chances…

NM S. Zierk – M. Ginsburg   Sicilian Kan

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Bd3 Qb6 6. Nb3 Qc7 7. Nc3 Nf6 8. O-O b5!? 9. f4 Bb7 10. e5 Nd5 I was modeling my play after some vague recollection of DeFirmian-Charbonneau, where black won a nice positional game  (World Open, I think, a few years ago).

11. Nxd5 Bxd5 12. Qe2 Nc6 13. c3 d6 Black is fully OK – so the opening is a success.  Conversely, from white’s point of view, he has not played in the most challenging way.

14. exd6 Bxd6 15. Be3 O-O 16. Nd2 Na5 17. Ne4 Be7 18. f5 exf5 19. Rxf5 Bc4 The computer indicates the fearless 19… Rad8 20. Rd1 Nc4.  The text is very safe.

20. Rh5? Very weak.  Now I have real chances to win the tournament.  Once upon a time I put a piece offside vs GM Jan Smejkal and he just smirked and won by technique.  Let’s see my technique…
White would do better with e.g. 20. Bd4 Bxd3 21. Qxd3 and it’s equal.

20… g6 Since this move helps black, white’s last move was pointless.
21. Rh3 Really *the* moment of the tournament for me.


Position after 21. Rh3.

21…Rad8? What a frustrating inaccuracy this will turn out to be!  The obvious 21… Bxd3 22. Qxd3 Nc4 23. Bd4 f5!  gives initiative and a great structure.  For example,  24. Nf2 Bc5 25. b3 Bxd4 26. Qxd4 Rad8.   The nature of black’s edge is fantastic piece coordination along with the nice h7,g6,f5 pawn structure.

22. Bd4 f5 23. Nd2 Bf6 Black has no winning chances anymore after this lame move.  The tactical blackout I had on move 21 was 23… Bxd3?? 24. Qe6+ Rf7 25. Qxg6+ ! and white wins.  I made the offside rook on the h-file make sense!  So I am *not* getting off the d3 bishop with no problems anymore.   A tournament winner needs to be alert!  The last chance by the way to keep the game going here was 23….Bd5.

24. Bxf6 Rxf6 25. Bxc4+ Now the game is dead . Boo!  First place was $1200 and second place was $900.  A whole slew of not terribly alert players tied for second (Tate missed an easy win vs Zilberstein).
If I had won, i would have tied for first with Naroditsky.

25…Nxc4 26. Nxc4 bxc4 27. Re1 Rfd6 28. Rh4 Rd2 29. Qxc4+ Qxc4 30. Rxc4 R8d7! Cute, but it’s still a draw.

31. Kf1 Rxb2 32. Re2 Rd1+ 33. Kf2 Rdd2 34. Rxd2 Rxd2+ 35. Kf3 Rxa2 36. Rc7 Black has won a pawn and according to the well known rule of rook endings, it is still hopelessly drawn.

36…Rc2 37. h4 a5 38. g4 fxg4+ 39. Kxg4 a4 40. Ra7 Rxc3 41. Rxa4 White offers a draw and black out of inertia “tries” a few more moves.

41…h5+ 42. Kg5 Rg3+ 43. Kh6 Kf7 44. Ra6 Rg4 45. Rb6 Rxh4 46. Rxg6 Rh1 47. Ra6 h4 48. Kh5 Draw agreed.  The five
players with 3.5 out of 5 (MG, Zierk, Tate, Zilberstein, De Guzman) each win
the paltry sum of $340.  Chess doesn’t pay well to the unalert ones.


The Fabulous 00s: Kamsky Loses like he Wins

February 18, 2009

The Kamsky Win

Consider this game from the US Championship finals, 1991.

[Event “ch, USA Finals Match 1991”]
[Result “0-1”]
[White “Joel Benjamin”]
[Black “Gata Kamsky”]
[ECO “C69”]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.O-O Qd6?! Not a trustworthy line although it was popular in the dawn of modern theory in the 80’s. White meets it effortlessly.

6.d3 Ne7 7.Be3! Ng6 8.Nbd2 c5 9.Nc4 Black has a very poor game already.

9…Qe6 10.Ng5 The computer likes 10. h4 also.

10…Qf6 11.Qh5 Bd6? 11…h6 was required.

12.f4! Black is toast.

Les noirs sont perdus

Les noirs sont perdus

Black toddles on to what should have been an early grave…

12…exf4 13.e5 Nxe5 14.Bxf4 White is completely winning.  So simple!

14…Nxc4 15.Bxd6 Black is also not long for this world after 15. Rae1+ Be7 16. dxc4.  The text should also win trivially.

15…Qd4+ 16.Kh1 Nxd6 17.Rxf7?? Oh no! The brutal 17. Rae1+ Kd7 18. Nf3! with the idea of Ne5+ crushes black.  This backs up the psychological finding that the most common blunders overlook retreating moves.  In this case, reculez pour mieux avancez! (to e5).  But to make the blunder more perplexing, there are several reasons why it’s no good.

17… Qg4! Cold shower. The computer also shows that the cold-blooded and scary-looking  17…Nxf7! repels white after 18. Nxf7  O-O! or 18.  Re1+ Kd7! 19. Nxf7 Re8! and white has no good discovery after 20. Rxe8 Kxe8.  Or, 20. Qh3+ Kc6 finito.  Finally, 18. Qxf7+ Kd8 19. Re1 Bd7 and black consolidates and wins. 

18.Re1+ Kd8 19.Qxg4 Bxg4 20.Rxg7 h6 21.Nh7 Bd7 22.Nf6 Bc6 23.Kg1 Kc8 24.Ree7 Kb8 25.Rxc7 Ne8 26.Nxe8 Rxe8 27.Kf2 Re6 28.Rce7 Rf6+ 29.Kg3 Ka7 30.Ref7 Rxf7 0-1

Conclusion:  Gata played black, didn’t know the opening, staggered into a lost game immediately, and then somehow was forced to win by his opponent who was, it is true, suffering from a virulent case of Rustam-itis.

The Kamsky Loss

Now consider game 2 from the 2009 Topalov-Kamsky match. This time it is Gata with the ‘unlucky’ white pieces in a Ruy.  Once again black’s treatment does not impress.

[Event “Topalov-Kamsky Match”]
[Date “2009.02.18”]
[Round “2”]
[White “Gata Kamsky”]
[Black “Veselin Topalov”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “C65”]
[WhiteElo “2725”]
[BlackElo “2796”]
[EventDate “2009.02.18”]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Bc5? 5. Nxe5! This line is just bad for black.  What kind of Bulgarian preparation is this?  We won’t be seeing this line again in the match, since Gata will have read my notes.

5…Nxe4 6. Qe2 Nxe5 7. d4 Black is not having a whole lot of fun after the simple 7. Qxe4 Qe7 8. Nc3.  For example, 8…c6 9. d4!.  There is also the nice pendulum variation 8. Nc3 Nc6 9. Re1 Qxe4 10. Nxe4 Be7 and now the paradoxical and hard to spot 11. Nc3!! which is very bothersome. I’m surprised white did not go for that, as Russians say “the game can only have two possible results” – white win or white draw.

7…Qe7 8. dxc5 Nxc5

19th Century Dismal

19th Century Dismal

Black’s pieces are poorly placed and he has lost the bishop pair.   He has sold his soul for one lousy pawn which white can win back. We’re in 19th Century Dismal.

9. Nc3? The obvious first tendency for a novice player is 9. Bf4! giving a nice edge.  Did white somehow out-think himself here?  Maybe he just has a case of the Bulgarian Willies (TM). For example, 9…f6 (ugly! – but other moves are even worse, hanging the c7 pawn) 10. Re1! c6 11. Bxe5 and white is better.  Or, 10. Re1 O-O 11. Bxe5 fxe5 12. Bc4+! (a nice zwischenzug) 12…Kh8 13. Qxe5 and white has an obvious edge powering through to the 7th rank.  Another crummy variation for black is 12. Bc4+! Ne6 13.  Qxe5 Qh4 14. Qe2.

Why didn’t he do this?  Since the Topalov team is also reading this as I see from my access logs, expect some “fine-tuning” in the openings as the match goes on.

9…Ng6? This is not good.  9…c6 is correct. The psychedelic follow-up 10. b4 a6!! with level chances is quite droll.  Topa didn’t eat his Wheaties on this day.

10. Qh5? Why lurch over there?  Suddenly in aggression mode? The exceedingly simple 10. Be3 gives a nice edge.  Next time order an espresso around move 5!

10…c6 11. Bg5 f6 12. Rae1 Ne6 13. Bd3 O-O It is totally unclear what white was thinking but his “tempo gains” have come to nought and black is fine.

14. Bd2 d5 15. f4 Qc5+ 16. Kh1? The elementary 16. Be3 kept the balance.

16…d4 17. Bf5?? What the heck?  A tactical blackout reminiscent of low-quality 19th century matches.  17. Qxc5 was necessary with only a small edge.

17…Rf7?? Oh no!  Black misses the simple 17…Nexf4! and wins!   Was there something in the air or water?

18. Ne4 Qd5 19. Bxg6? 19. Ng3!

19…hxg6 20. Qxd5 cxd5 21. Nd6 Rc7! Was this totally overlooked by white?  Maybe.

22. c4 It’s just horrible for white after 22. Nxc8 Raxc8 23. Rxe6 Rxc2 24. Bb4 Rxb2 25. a3 d3 26. Ree1 Rcc2! and white is paralyzed.  The text is also miserable.

22…dxc3 23. Bxc3 d4 And black is just winning.  A truly bad game.

24. Bb4 Bd7 25. Rf2 a5 26. Ba3 b5 27. b3 b4 28. Bb2 Ra6 29. Ne4 Rac6 30. Kg1 Rc2 31. g3 d3 32. Rd1 f5 0-1

Do you see the parallels?   We have two Ruys in which utter indifference was displayed to good moves in the opening.

In game 1 of our selection, Gata played the part of the Village Oaf in the opening and was forced to win.  In game 2, Veselin played a dismal variation (were his helpers the oafs?) that might draw and might lose and Gata, through a “tactical firestorm”, forced Veselin to win.

In Other Chess News

The grass-roots movement to ban Hanken from writing about chess games in Chess Life is gaining momentum.

And In Other News – ChessBase Misses the Most Key Guy

ChessBase published what it considers the biggest (monetary) winners and losers in chess in the past year. It’s hard to understand why they would overlook Steve Feinberg, a chess master who has lost billions by an ill-timed acquisition by his private equity firm, Cerberus LLP, of Chrysler.  Apparently knowing nothing of cars or recent history, he appointed Robert Nardelli (who had spectacularly failed at running Home Depot but awarded himself a gigantic “golden parachute” cash bonus for being fired) and also knows nothing of car companies.  Guess what, Chrylser is going down the toilet and so is billions of U.S. taxpayer money in the form of (insane) government loans.  And the story is never-ending – the government might flush billions more down this Caissic toilet.  Feinberg’s losses dwarf the paltry $1.8 Billion loss of Boaz Weinstein – one of many risk-taking chess trader cowboys who has gone off the rails. Bankers Trust didn’t do well with the New In Chess-advertized “Chess players must be good at trading” thesis in the early 90’s.

Search Engine Terms

Readers used these terms to find my site. Note the multiple “Anne V” entries.

anne v 21
alex sherzer 6
chess forced mates 4
vladimir kramnik 3
scary sushi 3
stephen feinberg 3
wood backgammon chess 20″ “30.00” 2
chess robert james fischer marshall 2
esserman morra 2
anne v….. 2

Facebook Suggestion Oddities

Sometimes Facebook recommends some pretty odd ‘friend’ possibilities. Recently I was amused to see a) a notorious tournament chess cheater and b) a psychotic (the best kind) female in my list.

The Fabulous 00s: Where are they now

December 13, 2008

A nice chess personality (hint:  Tucson, female, retired from chess) from bygone days happens now to live in a cool house!


Whoah!  More like a “Dome” or a “Lair”.

I must credit the social network “Facebook” for this find.  Facebook as I recall used to be not so good. It has really improved!   Now I can keep up with the latest doings of Jessica Ambats, Ben Finegold, and Susan Polgar!  When I check on them, I locate other long-lost buddies – hence the dome find pictured above!  And Facebook is certainly more fun than “LinkedIn” which is occupied, to a large extent, by self-gratifying ego puffery passages.  Such as mine.  🙂  I am very talented at droning on and on about my Edgar-on-the-Internet development work or my academic information systems writings.  Borrrring.

In the next post, I will go back to the squares with Nakamura’s win over Vachier-Lagrave in the “Dlugy” Benko.  This variation was a subject of pre-computer study in the early 1990s when such players as Gennadi Sagalchik and Josh Waitzkin were active. 🙂

Let’s End the War in Iraq, Shall We?

Jolly good idea.  Let’s proceed, forthwith.   Maybe we need a little more than shoe tossing – but kudos to the brave soul who hurled his shoes.

“The brother of the journalist who hurled his shoes at President Bush
said his sibling’s actions were “spontaneous” and represented millions
of Iraqis who want to “humiliate the tyrant.” Dhirgham al-Zaidi
described his brother’s hatred for the “material American occupation”
and the “moral Iranian occupation.”  This guy was a real hero to take this action (resulting in his arrest) at a bla bla bla press conference!


Grandparents of Caylee Anthony bla bla bla

U.S. news is often so depressing.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the killer had help covering up the crime. This is as much a downer as the little kid who shot his dad and his dad’s friend dead in Arizona after the dad incomprehensibly showed him how to shoot guns.

The Fabulous 00’s: The Rise of Web Chess Art

May 13, 2008

I stumbled across an ueber-cool chess art site – all sorts of interesting drawings, but I couldn’t fathom how to get out of the introductory page for a while! Here is what I see on the intro page as of May 12, 2008.

Here it is, the entry page. Click on the crown to get started.

And here is another sample.

Carina Jorgensen

According to the artist,

“Czharina tells you: you can call it chess art 😉 but the style is a mix of fantasy/naturalism/surrealism”.

I like it! De Gustibus non est Disputandum.

Here’s a brief artist bio:

Carina Jørgensen, 21 years, from Denmark, and she has played chess since she was 6. She likes the Politiken Cup – that’s a great event that takes place every year in Copenhagen in July.  Here she is (on the left) playing a Romanian girl in a French tournament, 1997.

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman

Weirdly I also learned when I was 6, but I didn’t know about tournaments until I was 13. C’est la vie.

The Fabulous 00’s: The Headache of Dos Hermanas Online Blitz

April 6, 2008

ICC is hosting every year a relatively big money (2,000 Euros [$3,400] first) online blitz (3 0 time control) event named Dos Hermanas. For the second year running, an untitled player won in what must be considered a gigantic upset against numerous GMs.

Here is Chess.FM’s John Henderson reporting in an official ICC email marketing/promotion blurb:

“Jorge Sammour-Hasbun: The ICC’s Cinderella Man
Who says lightening doesn’t strike twice? Last year’s Cinderella-story winner of the Internet Chess Club’s annual Dos Hermanas blitz tournament, Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (ICC NECF-InSchools), proved that lightening does indeed strike twice as he retained his title.
Sammour-Hasbun, 28, who lives in Massachusetts, was the only untitled player among the seven-strong grandmasters in the eight-player final, yet he defied the odds again to win the title and $3,4000 (approx. €2,000) first prize.
En route to the title, he beat IM Anton Kovalyov, GMs Timur Gareev, Jobava Baadur and Dmitry Kononenko, before defeating his good friend, GM Ronen Har-Zvi, by a score of 4-1, to take the top prize and online blitz bragging rights for another year.
Ronen Har-Zvi was the first to congratulate Sammour-Hasbun in yet another stylish performance, and was even magnanimous enough to interview the 2008 Dos Hermanas champion for Chess.FM. Recorded LIVE, just minutes after the match, you can listen (free to non-members) to the two finalists’ thoughts on Dos Hermanas (including some amazing analysis of their games) in this exclusive, 36 minute video from Chess.FM. To view the video, click here.
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Given the nature and magnitude of the repeat upset, many people were upset.

But as I understand it, the matches are not proctored. Last year (2007) proctors were present for the finals in selected cases (as a hubbub over the impending upset grew – GM Ian Nepomniatchi was screaming foul), but not in 2008. Wouldn’t it be better to either proctor the match or use webcams? This to me in any event marketed so heavily should be absolutely required. Otherwise there will always be a cloud over the ‘winners’. There are so many easy ways to cheat in this event.

For example, in previous DH events, people on the prize list in the final rounds have been summarily disqualified, including some big names in chess. Among the infractions there have been: a) having a team logon as the player from IP addresses separated by thousands of kilometers, b) obvious engine usage (every move matching and Blitzin ICC client also reporting an engine), and so on. The cheaters have been women’s world championship contenders, top Chinese GMs, and so on. Naturally ICC is loath to keep records – they are fearful probably of a lawsuit, because online cheating is easy to suspect strongly and hard to prove. But ICC really needs to get a handle on this and get audit controls in place. In the past, there have been blunders. ICC has accused Alex Lenderman (“Manest” on ICC) and it took quite some time for Lenderman to successfully clear his name. He is now a successful vendor and lecturer on ICC. In addition, Sammour-Hasbun was awarded a (C) as well (meaning he was computer-assisted) in the past when he used a different handle. He quit ICC in a huff and was absent for a long time. ICC’s client software, “Blitzin”, has process monitoring that has evolved over the years. Naturally these techniques are proprietary – but clearly not enough. We need stronger controls in the finals.

For a person motivated to win the event, can’t they simply have a friend over to assist? (if there is no proctor or webcam).

The event seems to be a mockery in its current state. Ronen Har-Zvi’s rather sycophantic interview of the tournament winner did little to allay my fears. Instead of Har-Zvi speculating on how strong this player is or that player is, it would be better to get proctors in place to make sure all the players are playing by themselves, alone. Then we can judge how strong everyone really is.

When this discussion was brought up in Channel 2, one of ICC’s communication areas, an admin Albi(*) expressed doubts that an honest proctor could be located for a remote location. This may well be the case, but a little pain is a lot of gain in terms of Dos Hermanas peace of mind, fairness, level playing field, and all those good things. Even a cheap webcam would be better than nothing – and the audience might have good fun scrutinizing players’ facial expressions as their precious seconds tick down!

I look forward to ICC’s revisions to the current format.

How do People Get to My Stuff?

April 4, 2008

Readers often type search terms into standard Web search engines then click-through to my site.

Let’s see some typical search terms, as reported by my wordpress statistical engine:

March 2008 Part 1

Search Views
nick conticello 3
ehlvest 3
what do you call one russian? a drunk. 2
titanic games 2
ivy league comparison 2
pictures of nyc in the 1980s 2
richard kaner chess 1
chess slav 1
harley dyna built 1
collins kids chess 1

March 2008 Part 2

Search Views
dmitry gurevich 2
mark ginsburg 2
elizabeth fedorowicz 2
fighting dogs 2
chess life 2
chess life larsen 2
elizabeth vicary 2
inna izrailov 2
alan schwartz of bear stearns 1
morozevich asshole 1

Hopefully this strange melange of terms gives you an idea of strange melange of content on this site. A certain je ne sais quoi, wouldn’t you say? Mirabile dictu.

Postscript April 19, 2008.

Some more terms.

Search Views
har-zvi ronen chess 3
r-d1 photos 2
walter shipman chess 1
boorrj 1
judit polgar 1
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counter black pirc 1
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hedgehog chess 1
aradhyula vaishnav game 1
hedgehog vs dogs 1
ace greenberg jp morgan 1
antique high school photographs 1 1
two dogs 1
3 player chess 1
games cochrane gambit 1
chess cochrane gambit 1
70s font writing 1
strange photographs 1
gggg 1

More Terms April 24, 2008

michael carrubba 3
berlin writing 2
old letters 2
elizabeth vicary chess 2
chess tournaments and chess history 2
mark ginsburg 2
chess oil scam 1
famous pictures from the 1970’s 1
nick conticello 1
mark ginsberg ft lauderdale 1
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kramnik 1
genius “peter winston” 1
“elizabeth vicary” 1
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emmanuel perez chess 1
robin spital 1
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michael wilder chess 1
bobby fischer 1
dmitri bankers trust chess 1
old chess photos 1
examples of personal letters 1
“andrew karklins” chess 2008 1
“john litvinchuk” 1
wolf shirt 1
1990s pics 1
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david hoffner 1
patrick wolf 1
barth andrea 1