Archive for the ‘Internet Chess Club’ Category

The Fabulous 10’s: Some Humoristical Think-Quick Endgames

February 27, 2011

Either You Know It or You Don’t

In an ICC 5-minute blitz game I found myself battling LeopoldStotch.  This person’s profile says he is 9 years old, from Colorado, and the current rating of the child genius at least in ICC blitz is 2506!

Let’s pick up the action at the very end, where I have 12 seconds left and the nine year old, (typical for nine year olds), has more than a minute.  Blitz is the ultimate arbiter asking “Do You Know This Position?”  A person “inventing a solution” for the first time, i.e. muddling through, won’t win in the 12 seconds!

IM Aries2 – LeopoldStotch (2506)

White to move

Well, 1. Kb6?? stalemate does not suggest itself.    1. Rf7 Ba7  2. Kc6 B-somewhere doesn’t get anywhere either!  I found the key idea, a tempo loss,

1. Rg8 (or other rook moves along the 8th rank).  Black’s reply is forced:


Do you see the win now?    Escaping me in the time remaining was the very simple 2. Rg7+ Ka8 3. Kb6 B-somewhere 4. a7! nailing the black king in and preventing the bishop return to b8.  Even if the bishop can now check the white king, the white king finds haven on a6 and there no stalemates, so white wins.

This tempo loss motif finds its way into other endings where white has to break down a compact black formation.

One such position is discussed in Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual.







White to play


In a blitz or regular game sudden death finale, it really pays to know this, because otherwise one would run out of time!

The annoyance is that a player’s first tendency is to use the White King close up to mate the counterpart, but 1. Qa6? Rc7+ 2. Kb6 Rc6+! 3. Kxc6 is stalemate!  A typical blunder where the king and queen were just too close!

The win is quite elegant and not the most obvious.

1. Qe5+! Ka8 (or 1…Ka7, same thing) 2. Qa1+! (using the long-range power of the queen) 2…Kb8 3. Qa5! reaching the same position as our starting one except now it’s black to move.  It turns out black cannot keep his rook near the king, and it must move far away, where it is lost in a few moves due to the checks.  For example, 3…Rb1 (3…Rh7 4. Qe5+ Ka8 5. Qa1+! (this again!) 5…Kb8 (or 5…Ra7 6. Qh8 mate!) 6. Qb1+ is another excellent example of the queen’s range, picking up the rook) 4. Qd8+ Ka7 5. Qd4+ Ka8 6. Qh8+ Ka7 7. Qh7+ picking up the errant rook!

As Dvoretsky points out, Philidor introduced this study in 1777.  It demonstrates very well how the queen can make use of all the squares on the board. If I had seen it anytime between 1777 and 2009, I would have defeated IM Pruess in the Mesa International!  I could not figure out how to separate the K & R in a sudden death finale.

And never mind the time I could not defeat IM Danny Edelman at the Manhattan Chess Club in a Game/30 game, because I mistakenly believed in K&B&N versus lone king, the B&N *must* keep the opposing king penned to the last rank and shepherd it to the right corner.  That false idea kept me from executing the correct B&N mate, where the superior side *does* allow the lone king some breathing room while it is shepherded to the corner of the bishop’s color.  At least it was a moral victory of sorts since it was a good game before the botch (I recall I was white in a Winawer, but lost the game score.)  This game, of course, was a long time ago because the poor Manhattan Chess Club does not exist anymore.

Now I’m 0 for 3 in these things, but at least have started to collect the failures!


Try this agonizing puzzle from Dvoretsky’s excellent “Endgame Manual 2nd Edition”!

White to play and win.

A Real Head-Scratcher

The first moves are obvious: 1. b6 axb6 2. a6 Kb6Kc6  Now what?


Many readers are asking about 14-year-old GM Illya Nyzhnik (2530) from Ukraine (note: this is a Chessbase spelling, some people prefer Nyzhnyk which is cooler).  For example what does he look like?

Here he is.

The Nyzh

The Fabulous 10s: Chess and Online Media

July 26, 2010


Over at (aka ICC), I have been doing some Game of the Days for Chess.FM online broadcasts. I remember way back when Tony Rook started Chess.FM.  At some point, I suggested Skype be used.  Tony Rook was bought out, new leadership took control of ICC, and … Skype was introduced as a broadcast platform. 🙂  I did Game of the Day for Rounds 9 and 10 of Dortmund 2010 Sparkassen (Naiditsch-Kramnik and Leko-Naiditsch).  I learned from a viewer that Naiditsch is pronounced NIGH-ditch not NAY-ditch.


Over at, I composed some video lectures on “When to Use (and When Not To Use) Computer Engines.

Some reasons so far to use the engines:

1) you play a game or observe a game where the opponent plays an inferior opening and you forget what to do (or, if you are observing, the inferior side “gets away with it” illogically) – check later with a computer!

In Lecture 1, I went over 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Qb6? 6. e5! Bc5 7. Ndb5! as an example to see the comprehensive, computer-backed, refutation.

2) you see a high level game giving an inferior opening some rough treatment and you want to meld that into a complete way of dealing with it – check with the computer!  In lecture 2, I went over the Blumenfeld Declined (1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 c5 4. d5 b5 5. Bg5!) as an example.  Why am I the only person who heard of the Dutch Blumenfeld theme tournament?

Chukcha Jokes

Chukcha (Russian Eskimo) is going to Moscow and his friends ask him to bring back some butter.

They tell him to find it on sale, simply find the longest line.

He found the Lenin’s Tomb line instead.

When asked why he did not bring back any butter, he said “I found the longest line, but when I got closer, I found out the salesman was dead.”

How did Jinky Fischer Come About

Answering an email like this:
My name is miss JOY YAK i am single and 5.5ft.How are you,
i hope your are find and in sound health.I went through your profile today and i took interest on it. I am interested in your profile,Kindly contact me. (
I will tell you more about myself and picture

And for Some Dutch Scenery

Mark Ginsburg and Christine Syben in Delft, Holland December 1989 - photo E. Tall

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: 2009 USCL Week 9 Opening of the Week

November 1, 2009

USCL Week 9 Opening of the Week (OOTW)

USCL Week 9 action sees a Caissic Horror Show brought out of the storage closet for Halloween!

Charbonneau, Pascal (NY) -Enkbhat, Tegshsuren (BAL)

Fugly Caro  Advance

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. g4? LOL!  This move is not good! White ‘forgets’ to play the mainline 4. Nc3 first covering e4.  An ideal risky line in USCL fast time limit play unless black knows it (nightmare scenario).



4…Bd7?! LOL again!  Black submits to white’s bully-boy ploy and transposes inadvisedly into an old Bronstein-Petrosian 1959 USSR Ch. game.  Note his game is not at all bad here, but students of the Nezhmet-Mackenzie Wars (striking similarities to TV’s Clone Wars) know that black should pop into the juicy square with 4… Be4! 5. f3 Bg6 and white is hurting in all variations.  For example, 6. h4 h5 7.  Bd3 Bxd3 8. Qxd3 e6 and ewww.  Or, 7. Ne2 hxg4 8. Nf4 Bh7 9. fxg4 e6 10. Nc3 c5! and black is faster.   The nice thing is that black doesn’t have to do anything special, white’s problems are all self-inflicted with the 4. g4? lunge. Consult the above link for full gory details.

5. c4 Na6!?  A nice inventive move.  Black starts to redeem himself after the misstep last move. After the plausible but passive 5… e6 6. Nc3 Ne7 7. c5 (White might be better off not doing this) 7…b6! 8. b4 a5 9. Na4 Nc8! 10. Rb1 axb4 11. Rxb4 bxc5 12. dxc5 here Petrosian played 12…Qc7? and missed a great shot, namely: 12… Na6! 13. Bxa6 Qa5!! exploiting white’s uncoordinated army. After 14. Bd2 Qxa6 black is just better.  In the game Petrosian held on and drew, but Bronstein stood better with the space advantage (USSR Ch. Tbilisi 1959).

6. cxd5 After 6. Nc3 the move 6…Be6!? is very interesting.  For example, 7. Nh3 dxc4 8. Nf4 Qd7 9. Nxe6 Qxe6 10. f4 g6 11. b3 h5 12. f5 gxf5 13. Bxc4 Qg6 14. gxf5 Qg2 15. Rf1 Nb4 and it’s anybody’s game. Not for the faint of heart.  Even so, 6. Nc3 might be stronger; note black’s big improvement on move 6 in the game.


Knight Jump! Do it!

6… cxd5?! Boo!  Black doesn’t follow through on his nice last move!  Indicated was the logical and aesthetic knight jump 6…Nb4! exploiting the early g2-g4 opening of the c6-h1 diagonal. If  7. e6 (7. Qb3 Nxd5 8. Qxb7 Rb8 9. Qxa7 Nb4 10. Na3 Bxg4 11. Bd2 e6 and black is all right) 7…fxe6 8. Nf3 cxd5 and black is fine.  Another humorous line: 7. Nc3 Qb6!? (7…Nxd5 is dead equal) and black can always take on d5 with the knight later. This game was just one big set of black missed opportunities.

7. Nc3 e6 8. h4 h5 9. gxh5 Nh6 Here, the immediate 9…Qc7 10. a3!? Nc7!? makes sense, rerouting right away the problem knight on a6.

10. Bd3 Qb6 11. Nge2 Nc7 12. a3 a5? Last chance to be competitive with 12…O-O-O! unclear.

13. Na4 Qa7 14. Rg1 Bb5 15. Bc2 We’re far afield of the opening now, but just notice that the simple 15. Bxb5+ Nxb5 16. Bxh6 Rxh6 17. Rc1 leaves black with a completely dreadful game.  This is just to highlight that black drifted while white was purposefully developing.

15…Nf5 16. Bxf5 exf5 17. Ng3 Bd7 18. Be3 b5 19. Nc5 Bxc5 20. dxc5 Qa6 21. Rc1 O-O-O 22. c6 Be6 23. Qd4 g6 24. Bg5 Rde8 25.
h6 Kb8 26. Ne2 Qa7 27. Qd2 Bc8 28. Bf6 Rh7 29. Nd4 Qb6 30. Rg3 Rxh6 31. Nxb5 Rxh4 32. Bxh4 Qxb5 33. Bf6 Ba6 34. Kd1 f4 35. Rgc3 d4 36. Rf3 Nd5 37. Kc2 Qxc6+ 38. Kb1 Qb6 39. e6 Nc3+ 40. Ka1 Qxe6 41. Qxf4+ Ka8 42. bxc3 Qb3 43. cxd4 Bd3
44. Rxd3 Qxd3 45. Qg3 1-0

Well, I hope next time we see the juicy 4…Be4! on the board!

Postscript 11/4/10: I can hardly believe I’m writing this, but Teshburen played 4…Bd7? again, missing 4…Be4! again!  vs Esserman, USCL 2010.

In Other Week 9 News

I see Jan van de Mortel won Game of the Week with an interesting Dragon vs Bartholomew.  The variation as a whole does not have a good reputation.  I am still a fan of 14. Rc1! and am a) surprised Bartholomew did not play it and b) wondering how Jan would improve if Bartholomew had played it.  The full move order being

1.e4  c5  2.Nf3  d6  3.d4  cxd4  4.Nxd4  Nf6  5.Nc3  g6  6.Be3  Bg7  7.f3  0-0  8.Qd2  Nc6  9.0-0-0   Nxd4  10.Bxd4  Be6  11.Kb1  Qc7  12.Nd5  Bxd5  13.exd5  Rfc8  14.Rc1!.

This inquiry, coupled with the Caro weirdness we looked at in this article and also in the “refutation post” referenced above, propels my “findings” onto center stage for future USCL duels.   Or, does it?  :O   🙂

Concluding Remarks

Thank you Internet, for enabling the USCL and other chess online . The next image shows what the world would be like without the Internet.


What if the World Had No Internet?

Amusing Postscript 11/10/09

Dana Mackenzie is at it again trying to resuscitate this ugly duckling (ostensibly excited by Charbonneau’s chaotic win) but … sorry.

I added a postscript to my original refutation to deal with this new attempts.

The Fabulous 00s: Scorpions Continue Winning Ways

October 29, 2009

Week 9 USCL Action: Arizona 3 Seattle 1

Going into the match, I was not hopeful at all about our chances.   HA81 said we would lose by the distance between two raindrops.  We were not sure what a “raindrop” is, but weather-wise we had woes: Tucson had encountered a cold snap and temperatures had dropped from the 80s to the 60s.  Our team was besides itself looking in closets for emergency general-use hoodies.  And, one of our team assistants came into the room having previously suffered from a combination of Swine Flu, Mono, and Regular Flu.  It was a potent and potentially lethal combination of virii.  Did you enjoy that plural of the word ‘virus’?  I know I did.  Virii!  In college, I took Virology (a Graduate-level course) from Dr. Jane Flint at Princeton.  I was a junior and full of hubris.  Having failed the first midterm with a 47 out of 200, (I was told this was more like a “K” or an “L” than an “F”),  I learned fortuitously I still had a day left to “Drop Class” option.  And Drop Class I did.  I’m going to have to blame the Student Union here.  They served beer to anyone (NJ was an “18” drinking age state at that time). But I remember that word, virii!  In summary, if elected, I pledge to bring back “18” drinking age states!

Here is a photo of our fourth board, Amanda Mateer, going over some opening possibilities with our first board, Alejandro Ramirez at the playing site (Agricultural Resource Economics Center, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ).  You know what they say about prep, the substantial majority of the time is spent on stuff that did not occur.


Prep Time

Soon it was time to start and the games got into full swing.  I went to our commentary room down the hall and monitored the progress from there.

The first board, Nakamura-Ramirez, turned into a very interesting strategical affair in an Alekhine’s.

Board 1. GM Nakamura – GM Ramirez  Alekhine’s Defense

1.e4 Insta-moved (after Naka was 20 minutes late to the board)

1…Nf6 Insta-moved.

2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.c4 4. Nf3 is a whole different story.

3…Nb6 5.exd6! 5. f4 had its heyday in the 1970s and never came back. Ljubo defended some wild games on the black side.

5…exd6 6.Bd3 Be7 7.Ne2 0-0 8.0-0 Nc6 9.Nbc3 Re8 10.Be3 Nb4 11.b3 Nxd3 12.Qxd3 Bf6 13.Rad1


Tough Road Ahead

A nice setup for white. Although black nominally has won the bishop pair, he must still work hard to equalize from this start position.


Interesting.  Yermo was kibitzing and liked 13…Bg4 but it appears 14. Rde1! with the idea of Ne2-f4, defusing black’s plan of Bg4-h5-g6, leaves white with a plus.

14.a4 A good idea for white here would be 14. Ng3! controlling f5 and preventing black’s equalizing plan.

14…d5 15.c5 Bf5 16.Qd2 Nc8 17.Bh6 Ne7 18.h3 Be6 19.g4 Bh8 This bishop has to get out of the way to prepare …f7-f5 later, which will be a necessary space-gaining defensive mechanism.

20.Qf4 Nc6 21.Qg3 Qd7 22.Bf4 Rac8 23.Rd2 a6 24.Rb1 b6 25.b4 bxc5 26.bxc5 Na5

Typical of the Alekhine’s, the horse finds a nice spot on c4.  Black is fine.

27.Kh2 f5 28.g5 Bf7(?!)

28…Nc4!? 29. Rdd1 c6 is a very solid way to play.

29.Rdd1 Qc6

The queen looks a little strange here.

30.Ng1! Nc4 31.Nf3 Bg7 32.Re1 Suddenly black has problems!  White can choose when to occupy e5 especially with a bishop.  If black is not careful, the wrong pieces will come off the board and white will have a crushing grip on the dark squares.


Problems Surface!

32…Re4!? A radical Petrosian-style attempt to upset things, and it surprisingly works!  It’s often the case that “disorienting” moves work well.  However, in this particular position, white could have found his way clear to a plus.

33.Nxe4 dxe4 34.Ne5 Bxe5


Key Moment

35.Bxe5? After 35. dxe5 white is better.  For example,  35…Qxc5 36. Rec1! (an important move) 36… Qe7 37. Qb3! Nxe5 38. Qb7!.   Also, enjoy the geometric 36…Rd8 37. Qe3!! – imagine that occurring in a USCL game, the spectators would go nuts! This sort of tactical play is normally Nakamura’s forte.  He may have overlooked black’s response in the game.


A nice fully equalizing shot! Most ICC kibitzers were simply calling for black’s demise here, focusing on the ratings of the players, not the board.  I reminded them to look at the board and general confusion started to take over.  Then the kibitzers switched to the “black is mated on the dark squares” theory but that just isn’t happening here.

36.Qc3 Nf3+ 37.Kg3 Nxe1 38.Qxe1 Qxa4 39.Qc3 39. Rb7 is equal.  The text actually gives black something to work with.

39…Bd5 40.c6 Qxc6 41.Qxc6 Bxc6 42.Rc1 Bd5 43.Ra1


Quiz Time

43…Bc4 44.Rc1 Bd5 45.Ra1    1/2-1/2

A draw was a good result for us, but actually now, in the calm of the next day, the position is good for black.  As a test for yourself, can you identify a 43rd move for black that keeps very good winning chances?   Nobody noticed it while the game was in progress; it’s a hard quiz.

Stay tuned: I will post the other games in this spot.

Board 2.  Altounian-Mihaliuk

Good prep by Levon.

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qh4 Nxc3 7.dxc3 Nc6 8.Bf4 f6 9.Bh6 This two-step with the bishop is all Greek to me, but apparently it was Levon’s comfort zone as he was playing rapidly.

9…e5 10.Bxf8 Kxf8 11.Qh6+ Kf7 12.e4 Be6 13.Bb5 g5?

Black should play 13…Qe7.

14.h4 g4 15.Nh2 Qe8 16.Be2 To show how positions can be approached differently, I would play here castles short, and (with perhaps Qe3 thrown in), then play f2-f4 with numerous very nasty threats to pry open black’s king like a sardine can.  Levon plays a completely different plan.

16…Qg8 17.0-0-0 Qg6 18.Nxg4 Qxh6+ 19.Nxh6+ Kg6 20.Ng4 And so white is just a pawn up with a big time edge.  Levon converts easily.

20…Rad8 21.b3 a5 22.Ne3 Ne7 23.g3 a4 24.Kb2 Rxd1 25.Rxd1 Ra8 26.Bc4 Bxc4 27.Nxc4 b5 28.Ne3 axb3 29.axb3 Re8 30.Rd7 c6 31.g4 h5 32.f3 Black resigns 1-0

Board 3   Milat – Adamson Benko Gambit

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5 4.cxb5 a6 5.bxa6 g6 6.Nc3 Bxa6 7.g3 d6 8.Bg2 Bg7 9.Nf3 Nbd7 10.Rb1 Nb6 11.b3 Bc8 12.Nh4 h6 13.Qc2 Qd7 14.Bb2 g5 I guess this is all topical theory, but black’s position is very precarious.

15.Nf3 Bb7 16.Rd1 0-0 17.0-0 Ra7 18.e4 Rc8 19.Rfe1 Ng4 20.h4 Ne5 21.Nxe5 Bxe5 22.hxg5 hxg5 23.Qe2 g4 It looks like black has to do this, but it’s very sharp and black had little time left.

24.Qe3 Kh7 25.f4 gxf3 26.Qxf3 Rg8 27.Qh5+ Kg7 28.Bh3 Qe8 But now white spends most of his time and accepts a draw offer!   Kg7 to f8 is not THAT scary.

Given the match situation, white must play on.  Boo. Game drawn by mutual agreement 1/2-1/2

Board 4.  Mateer-Sinanan  Nimzo-Indian

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 0-0 5.e4 d5 6.e5 Ne4 7.Bd3 c5 8.cxd5 exd5 9.Nge2 Nc6 I don’t know theory, but black does not seem to be doing well here.  In addition, he was spending a lot of time.

10.0-0 Bxc3 11.bxc3 cxd4 12.Ba3 Interesting.  I expected 12. cxd Nb4 13. Qb1 Nxd3 14. Qxd3 with a definite plus.

12…Re8 13.cxd4 Qa5 14.Bxe4 dxe4 15.Bd6 Bg4 16.Ng3 Qd5 17.h3 Nxd4 18.Qb2 Bf3! A clever way to confuse.

19.gxf3 Nxf3+ 20.Kg2? It worked!  20. Kh1! is correct. Then black can play 20…Qe6 to set up the game drawing mechanism.

20…Nh4+? 20…e3! 21. fxe3 Nxe5+ and the bishop on d6 falls.

21.Kh1 Qe6 22.Kh2 Nf3+ 23.Kg2 White offered a draw and indeed this is just a draw.  Black should take it because first of all he’s a piece down; secondly every half point matters in USCL play and his game move was patently hopeless.  The real problem in this match was Milat not fighting on in the board 3 struggle enjoying a substantial time advantage and a plus pawn.

23…Ng5 24.Rh1 Qg6 25.Qe2 f5 26.Qh5 f4 27.Qxg6 hxg6 28.Nf1? Note here 28. h4! just ends the game in white’s favor.

28…Nf3 29.h4 Rac8 30.Rb1 b6 31.e6! Rxe6 32.Bxf4 Once again white is just winning.

32…Rc2 33.a3 Ra2 34.Rb3 Rc6 35.Ng3 Nd4 36.Rb4 Ne6 37.Be3 Rxa3 38.Nxe4 Rc2 39.Kf3 Rd3 40.Ra1 Rd7 41.Rba4 Rcc7 42.Ng5 Nd8 43.Bf4 Rb7 44.Re1 Re7 45.Rae4 Nc6 46.Bd6! A nice way to finish up.

46…Nd4+ 47.Kg2 Black resigns 1-0

When all was said and done, we had won the match 3-1!  Quite an upset!  And nobody was happier than Amanda Mateer, who found a nice Bd6! move to finish her game!  To his credit, her opponent NM Sinanan refused a draw in a drawn position (forced repetition) to battle on for his team a piece down. Some would just call it foolhardy, but it did give Amanda the much-coveted t-shirt.

Here’s a photo of the happy team.


The Happy Squad

From left to right:  Levon Altounian, Robby Adamson, Amanda Mateer, and Alejandro Ramirez.

We attracted quite a few fans in the commentary room.  There was even a dork wearing a strange T-Shirt (much inferior to the one Amanada Mateer won from Endgame Clothing!).


Dorky Spectator

Yale Wing Chun Kung-Fu at a Scorpions-Seattle match?!

The Fabulous 00s: USCL Opening of the Week (OOTW) Week 8

October 24, 2009

In Week 8, we had an interesting old-school Semi-Slav Meran (think Larsen, Uhlmann, and other giants of 1960s Candidate Matches!) with lots of twists and turns.

Quick Chess History Preamble

Before proceeding, you must, must play over these titanic Uhlmann-Larsen Semi-Slav games.  You’ll be glad you did.  Larsen in his heyday really uncorked some nice tactics and had a nice positional flow as well.  And Uhlmann was no weakie, scoring quite a few wins over Larsen in his career.

From 1968. Larsen finds a back-rank weakness to conclude the game, demonstrating the power of a Q&N versus weak pawns.

From the 1971 Candidates Match. Computers showed this to be a swindle where black should have lost but it was still a nice king-hunt.

And my personal favorite, also from the 1971 Candidates Match, Larsen ends the game with a spectacular bishop move that overloads white’s forces.

OK, now that this necessary historical detour is out of the way, on with the USCL action.

USCL Week 8 Meran Action

Vinay Bhat (SF) – Alexander Stripunsky (QNS)  USCL Week 8, Semi-Slav Meran

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 dxc4 7. Bxc4 b5

The Meran

The Meran

8. Bd3

I want to draw the readers’ attention to the interesting try popularized by Larsen and Korchnoi in the 1960s, 8. Bb3!?.  After, for example, 8…b4 9. Ne2 Ba6 10. O-O Be7 11. Re1 O-O 12. Nf4 Nd5? (12… c5 13. e4 c4 14. Bc2 is very complex) 13. e4 Nxf4 14. Bxf4 white was simply better in and won in the ending,1-0 Kortschnoj,V-Ciric,D/Leningrad 1964.  And 8. Be2 is a totally different story, too.  The text is by far the most popular, but an argument can be made not to block up the d-file.

8… Bd6 9. O-O O-O 10. Qc2 Bb7 11. a3 a5!?

Here, 11… Qe7 was met by the surprising gambit  12. Ng5!? Bxh2+ 13. Kxh2 Ng4+ 14. Kg1 Qxg5 15. f3 and black could not hold the position in the long run,   1-0 Vyzmanavin,A (2580)-Shirov,A (2710)/Tilburg 1992.

To e3-e4 or not to e3-e4

To e3-e4 or not to e3-e4

12. e4!? Slovenian GM Alexander Beliavsky is a connoisseur of slow build-ups. Here, he preferred 12. Bd2!? Qe7 13. h3 b4 14. axb4 axb4 15. Ne4 Nxe4 16. Bxe4 Nf6 17. Bd3 c5 18. dxc5 Bxc5 19. Rxa8 Rxa8 20. Rc1 Bd6 21. e4 Nd7 22. Bg5 f6 23. Be3 Rc8 24. Bc4 Ne5 (24… Bc5!) 25. Nxe5 Bxe5 26. Qb3 Kf8 27. f3 Rc6 28. Rd1 Bxb2??  (28…h6 +=) 29. Bb5 Rc3 30. Qxb2 Rxe3 31. Qd4!  1-0 Beliavsky,A (2545)-Platonov,I/Kiev 1978.  A very nice piece win tactic at the end.  With the game move, white asserts in the center.  However, observe the note to black’s 15th and also black’s suggested improvement on move 16.  These seem to suggest black is OK here.  We might want to focus on 12. Bd2!? again as unassuming as that looks.

12… e5 13. dxe5 Nxe5 14. Nxe5 Bxe5 15. h3 Re8!?

Dubious looks 15… c5?! 16. Bxb5! (The other capture, 16. Nxb5 is met by the perplexing 16…c4! 17. Bxc4 Nxe4 with some activity) 16… Bxc3 17. bxc3 Bxe4 18. Qe2 and white was definitely better.  However, black hung on and drew later, 1/2-1/2 Epishin,V (2615)-Dokhoian,Y (2545)/Moscow 1991/URS-ch

But very interesting and logical here is 15… Nh5!? 16. Ne2 Re8?  (16…Qd6! 17. f4 Rad8!, a key Meran tactic to remember, and it’s fully equal!) and white won, 1-0 Maric,A (2443)-Tkeshelashvili,S (2286)/New Delhi 2000.  It’s always thematic in Merans to work on the dark squares.

16. Be3

Key Moment

Key Moment

16…Qe7? Black misses the nice resource 16… Bd4! with level chances.

17. Ne2! Now black has problems with his sleeping Bishop on b7 and strange queenside pawns.

17…Bc7 Nothing is solved by 17… Rad8 18. Rad1.

18. Bc5! Bd6 19. Bxd6 Qxd6 20. f4? Up to this point, white had a clear and pleasant advantage, with the passive B/b7.  However now he’s too impulsive and lets that fellow out of the box. After the simple 20. Rad1!  black is suffering.  For example, (20… Qc7 21. Bxb5 Nxe4 22. Nd4 and white maintains a plus.

20… c5! We’re out of the opening now, and black opportunistically has created a good game. I will just draw attention at the end to one very USCL-style double blunder that occurred.

21. e5 Qb6 22. Rf2 c4 23. Bf5 Nd5 24. Re1  Ne3 25. Qb1 Nxg2  26. Rd1 Rad8 27. Bd7 Re7 28. Rd6 Qc5 29. Qd1 Ne3?? Time pressure?  Very nice was 29… Nxf4!! 30. Nxf4 Qxe5 31. Ng2 Qg3 32. Kf1 Be4 33. Nf4 Bd3+ 34. Nxd3 Qxd6 and wins.

30. Bc6? Maybe also time trouble?  White misses the escape 30. Bxb5! Rf8 31. Qd4 Qxb5 32. Nc3 Qe8 33. Qxe3 Re6 and it’s equal!

30… Rxd6 31. Qxd6 Qxc6 32. Qxc6 Bxc6 33. Nd4 Bd7 0-1

And in News of the Surreal: When Do Bots Go Bad?

When they shout one or more tokenizers!

TriviaBot(TD) shouts: *** Element 1 undefined in Congratulations to !1 for winning the trivia game with a score of !2 points.

The Fabulous 00s: USCL Week 6 Opening of the Week (OOTW)

October 8, 2009

The Inscrutable Chinese Dragon

I guess we could say it’s a gambit of structure (backward pawn on d6 after black moves e7-e5) for activity.  It’s not to my taste at all, but so far this USCL season Shabalov has tried it versus Kudrin and Kiewra just tried it versus Bick.  And black so far stands at 1-1.

Let’s see these games.

John Bick (TEN) – Keaton Kiewra (DAL)  Chinese Dragon

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 Nf6 4. Nc3 cxd4 5. Nxd4 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 O-O 8. Qd2 Nc6 9. Bc4 Bd7 10. O-O-O Rb8 The characteristic move of the Chinese Dragon.  In 1974-5, Paul Whitehead (upholding black) and Jay Whitehead (upholding white) were debating the merits of the other mainlines in countless blitz games at the San Francisco Mechanics Chess Club with 10…Rc8 and 10….Qa5 and ….Rfc8.

Chinese, anyone?

Chinese, anyone?

In defense of the Chinese, I think it makes more sense than …a7-a6 which Magnus Carlsen tried a few times (notably getting crushed by Topalov).  In case you were wondering how it got its name, Gallagher writes about its dubious origins in the 2002 NIC magazine.  Some journalist just happened to be in China…

11. Bb3 Na5

When the Chinese Dragon first got on the radar in 2002, Chris Ward tried 11… Ne5.  An unimpressed Joe Gallagher wrote in NIC magazine “I do not predict a bright and glittering future for the Chinese Dragon.”  Nevertheless, that game Gallagher-Ward British Ch. 2002 ended in a draw after  12. f4 (12. Bh6 Bxh6 13.
Qxh6 b5 14. Nd5 Nxd5 15. exd5 a5 16. Nc6 Bxc6 17. dxc6 e6 18. h4 a4 is an unsound piece sac for white — 19. h5 Qf6 20. hxg6 Qxg6 21. Qxg6+ hxg6 22. Bxe6 fxe6 23. Rxd6 Kf7 and black is better.

Also possible is 12. h4 b5 13. h5 Nc4 14. Bxc4 bxc4 15. h6 Bh8 16. Nf5 Bxf5! (not 16…gxf5?? 17. Bb6! winning)  17. exf5 Qa5 18. fxg6 Ne4 19. fxe4 Qxa2! (the tempting at first glance 19…Rxb2? 20. g7! wins for white) 20. Nxa2 Bxb2+ 21. Kb1 Bc3+ with a humorous draw!

12… Neg4 13. Bg1 b5 14. h3 b4 15. hxg4 bxc3 16. Qxc3 Rc8 17. Qg3 Bxg4 18. Re1 Qa5 19. c3 e5 20.
fxe5 dxe5 21. Nf3 Rxc3+!  Not very hard to see but nevertheless a pleasing drawing combination from Chris Ward, Dragon aficionado.

22. bxc3 Qxc3+ 23. Kb1 Rc8 24. Bxa7 Qd3+ 25. Kb2 Qc3+ 26. Kb1 Qd3+ 27. Kb2 Qc3+ {And drawn, Gallagher-Ward British CH 2002.})

Conclusion:  11…Ne5 needs re-examination because the way this game goes isn’t very pleasant for black.

12. Bh6 Bxh6

It’s not risky per se to have the white queen drawn out to h6, but it can always go back and black has not gained time. 12… b5 13. Nd5 Nxb3+ 14. Nxb3 Bxh6 15. Qxh6 doesn’t look too different from the game and black has problems.

13. Qxh6 b5 The weird gambit 13… e5 14. Nde2 b5? (marginally better 14… Nxb3+ {Kurnosov-Pavlovic, Hastings 2009 but black faced the usual difficulties and white won} was played in Zambrana-Yuan, Sao Paulo 2008.  White then played the lemon 15. h4? and lost but he should have taken on d6 with an edge.

14. Nd5! Of course!   This is a key moment.

Decisions, Decisions

Decisions, Decisions

14…e6?! As Shabalov played against Kudrin earlier in the USCL year, but this position is just suffering for black.  Die-hard Chinese-ites will play 14….e5 here and claim near-equality.  And maybe they are right – it’s hard to break down black’s game.  Afterthought: the move 14…e5 15. Nf5!? is interesting here and worth careful examination; white might keep a small plus. I don’t know how much 15. Nf5!? has been analyzed elsewhere; better ask Golubev. 🙂

From black’s point of view, it’s worth also looking at 14…Nxb3+.  This is actually transposing, usually, to 14…e5.  Then, 15. Nxb3 e5 is best met with 16. Nxf6+ Qxf6 17. h4!? or the simple 17. Kb1 and white has a small edge.  Instead,  Robson played 16. h4?! against Papp in Spice(B) 2009, and Papp gained equality after 16…Nxd5 17. Rxd5 Rb6.  Papp lost later after weakening himself unnecessarily with …g6-g5? on the solid kingside and falling prey to a tactic.  Conclusion:  this is the last spot for black to avoid getting  a lasting disadvantage with either 14….e5 or 14…Nxb3 (these two often converge).  We’ll have to ask Golubev what he thinks.

15. Nxf6 Qxf6 16. h4 Qg7 17. Qg5! Excellent, as Kudrin played against Shabalov.  Black is under pressure.   This move pinpoints black’s positional deficiencies and is exactly why I don’t like the 14…e6?! line for black.


It’s hard to recommend anything.  What do the waiting 17…Rb7 or 17…Rfe8 accomplish?  Shabalov played 17…Qe5 18. Ne2 Bc6 19. Rd2 Rfd8 20. Rhd1 Nb7 (clearly black is suffering) 21. Nf4 a5 22. a3 Re8 and here Kudrin could have capped his fine play with the powerful 23 .Qxe5! dxe5 24. Nd3 f6 (forced) 25. g4! and white will break up black’s king side structure with a winning edge. This nice sequence is hard to see in the rapid USCL time control.  Unfortunately, Kudrin went wrong with 23. Nd3? Qxg5 24. hxg5 Kg7 25. e5 Red8 26. exd6 Rxd6 27. Ne5 (white is still better) 27…Rxd2 28. Rxd2 Be8 and now he missed another shot to keep the edge, 29. Ng4! stopping h6.

After Kudrin’s second lemon, 29. Ba2? h6! black was fine and went on to turn the tables in a key match victory, Kudrin (PHI) – Shabalov (TEN) USCL 2009.

18. Bxc4 bxc4 19. h5?! 19. Qe7! looks good.

19…c3?! Leaving the pawn on c4 is stronger, for example 19…Rb7 preparing to double on the b-file.

20. b3 Now the c3 pawn is a goner.

20…Rb4  21. h6 21. Qe3 also kept a big edge for white.

21…Qh8 22. Ne2 Rb6 23. Ng3? The easiest win is 23. e5! d5 24. Nxc3.

23… Rb5? 23…Bb5 was the toughest.  Anyway, we’re far afield from the opening now, so we will show the rest rapidly.

24. Qe7 Qe5 25. Qxd7 Ra5 26. a4 Easiest was 26. Kb1! Qxg3 27. Qxd6 since the game motif 27… Qxg2 is met by 28. Qd4! e5 29. Qxc3 and wins.

26…Qxg3 27. Qxd6 Qxg2 28. Qd4 Qg5+ 29. Kb1 Qe5 30. Ka2  Qxd4 31. Rxd4 f5 32. Rc4 fxe4 33. fxe4 Rh5 34. Rxh5 gxh5 35. Rxc3 h4 36. b4 Rf4 37. Re3 Kf7 38. Kb3 Kg6 39. b5 Kxh6 40. a5 Rf1 41. Kc4 Kg5 42. Rb3 Rf8 43. b6 axb6 44. axb6 Kg4 45. b7 Rb8 46. Kc5 h3 47. Kc6 h2 48. Rb1 Rg8 49. Kc7 Rg7+ 50. Kb6 Rg8 51. Ka7 Kf3 52. b8=Q Rxb8 53. Kxb8 h5 54. c4 Kxe4 55. Rd1! 1-0

Sveshnikov Postscript: Further Weirdness

I’m not understanding why Herman in Herman (NY) – Uesugi (BAL) USCL Week 6 diverged from Martinez-Uesugi USCL 2009 Week 4 in his Sveshnikov matchup in Week 6. After all, maybe Uesugi had not read yet the refutation!

And for Something Different

Clouds whipping around an Island, Mon

Clouds whipping around an Island, Mon

The Karman Votices, a cloud weather pattern as viewed by a satellite.

The Fabulous 00s: Player Freakouts

July 27, 2009

Players and Their Freakouts

I laughed my butt off at Vinay Bhat’s World Open blog where he describes NM Chris Williams freaking out and the deleterious effect on Vinay’s opponent, FM Thomas Bartell.  Well, of course, it’s not so funny for Bartell who blew a winning game during the Williams freakout.  Apparently Williams was quite a distance away yet still managed to ratchet up the volume level to a full scream and, typical of freakouts, sustained the yelling for a good, long, while.

It reminded me of the time I was playing much closer (the next board over) in Las Vegas from a player destined (bad luck for me) to freak out in the round, Jerry Hanken.  In both Bhat’s case and my case, the offending party would-not-shut-up.

The Infamous Hanken Freakout

Perhaps even more infamous since he’s a perennial officer in the ‘Chess Journalists of America’ – but here he made it impossible for me to … play chess.  I would think “Chess Journalists” would want to allow chess to occur.

[Event “National Open”]
[Site “Las Vegas, NV”]
[Date “2005.06.17”]
[Round “?”]
[White “Steigman, A.J..”]
[Black “Ginsburg, Mark”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[ECO “B23”]

Closed Sicilian

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 e6 3. Nge2 a6 4. a4 Nc6 5. g3 Nf6 6. Bg2 Be7 7. O-O d6 8. h3 O-O 9. d3 Qb6 Just for fun, I’m trying something unusual.

10. g4 Re8 11. Ng3 Bf8 12. Rb1 Nd7 13. g5 Qc7 14. f4 Nd4 15. Be3 b5 16. Nce2 Nxe2+ 17. Qxe2 bxa4 18. f5?! This is not good.  Correct is … not to do it!

18…Ne5 Black can also play simply 18…exf5 19. Nxf5 Ne5 with some edge.

19. Rf4?! White should clog things up with 19. f6! g6 20. h4 Bb7 21. h5 d5 22. Bf4 Bd6 23. Kh2 Rab8

19… exf5 20. exf5 Bb7 21. Rxa4 d5 22. Rh4 Nxd3 23. Rxh7?? This move is not even close to working. 23. Nf1 Nf4 24. Bxf4 Qxf4 25. Rxf4 Rxe2 26. Rf2 for better or worse white has to accept this sort of inferior ending.



23… g6?? Correct, of course, was 23… Qxg3.  This should have been very easy to find.  However, Jerry Hanken on the adjacent board had just resigned and was talking to himself loudly. I told him to be quiet and he would not.   He would NOT.  ARGHHHHH.   As my time ticked down, and Hanken kept up his monologue rant, I could not focus so I committed a blunder that could have turned the game around 360 degrees.  After the correct 23…Qxg3! 24. Qh5 Qxe3+ This position is an elementary forced mate. 25. Kh1 Nf2+ 26. Kg1 Nd1+ 27. Kh1 Qe1+ 28. Kh2 Bd6 mate. Oh my God. The simple fact that black’s bishop can go to d6 in all  lines, giving check, had escaped black’s attention during the Hanken nonsense.   A “Chess Journalist” should not make noises (talking to oneself, or snorting, or fake-coughing) to disrupt other players.  I don’t think it’s just me with this opinion.

24. fxg6 Qxg3 25. Rh8+?? White is also oblivious to the tactical possibilities, in all likelihood due to the Hanken noise machine next board, and mistakenly goes for the perpetual. If 25. gxf7!+ Kxh7 26. Qh5+ Kg7 27. fxe8=N+! Rxe8 28. Qh6+ Kf7 29. Qf6+ Kg8 30. Qg6+ and white wins.

25… Kg7 26. Rh7+ Kg8 1/2-1/2 Guess what.  NOW, Hanken was packing up his pieces and was preparing to leave the tournament hall docilely and silently. ARGHHHH.

A Happy Ending Freakout

At the 1981 Lone Pine tournament, Reshevsky offered a draw to Fedorowicz.  After letting his time tick down, Fedorowicz accepted.  Reshevsky then in a bald-faced absurd maneuver, denied he had made the offer. A massive multi-party (the players, witnesses, the TD) lengthy freakout ensued.  The TD, Kashdan, eliminated all the witnesses saying they were “friends of Reshevsky’s opponent” and upheld Reshevsky’s fabrication.   I am not too nostalgic for the “old days” when TDs engaged in rampant cheating and/or bogus pairings on behalf on their buddies.

The Lone Pine game continued and …. Sammy lost.  Frontier Justice meted out in Lone Pine, which happens to be in Death Valley!

Even more rare than player freakouts are lengthy, borderline hysterical, TD freakouts.  The only one I’ve witnessed belonged to excitable “colors don’t matter in my pairings” Weikel.

And Now It’s Your Turn

Readers, please send in your own freakout stories, particularly if they influenced your game or a game you were watching.

Poll Time!

Enough Unpleasantness, Time for Some Chess

What’s the best way to get rid of the bad taste of player antics?  Some blitz chess!

Here I am playing a Ghost.

Information about F-Ghost(GM) (Last disconnected Tue Jul 28 2009 12:36):

rating [need] win  loss  draw total   best
Bullet          2405  [8]   195   169    21   385   2430 (19-Feb-2001)
Blitz           2923  [8]  1210  1095   272  2577   2981 (18-Nov-2000)
5-minute        2402        295   192    62   549   2515 (04-May-2008)

1: Born 1976 in USSR
2: Lost the way and perished in 2002 in BiH
3: —————————————
4: Kosovo je Srbija

[Event “ICC 5 Min Blitz”]
[Date “2009.07.28”]
[White “GM F-Ghost”]
[Black “Aries2”]

[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “B40”]
[EventDate “2008.09.18”]
[EventType “blitz”]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. c3 d5 4. e5 d4 5. Bb5+ Bd7 6. Qe2 Nc6 7. O-O Nge7 8. Na3 Ng6 9. Qe4 a6 10. Bd3 Qc7 11. Re1 b5 12. h4 c4 13. Bf1 d3
Well, this attempt cutting the board in two is very optimistic, and demands a careful white reaction.

14. b3?! A little slow.  Faster is 14. h5! Bxa3 15. hxg6 Bc5 16. b4 Be7 17. a4 Rb8 with white initiative.

Time to Go Loco

Time to Go Loco

14… Ngxe5? Too frisky.  I was trying to emulate a classic brilliancy, Sax-Ljubojevic London 1980.  I recommend to the readers that they play over the Sax-Ljubojevic game; it is astounding. Better was the sane and very nice 14… Bc5! 15. bxc4 Qb6! (excellent tactics!) 16. Re3 Bxe3 17. dxe3 Qc5  and black is very happy.

15. Nxe5 f5 16. Qf3 Nxe5 17. Qxa8+ 17. Rxe5! puts an end to black’s fantasies.

17…Kf7 18. Rxe5 Qxe5 19. Qb7? Here although the path is getting a little harder, 19. Qf3 Bd6 20. g3 Rc8 21. bxc4 bxc4 22. Qf4! and white wins.  With the text, white presents black with an unexpected chance. Now, it’s quiz time. What do I do?

19…Ke8 WRONG.

The spectacular correct move is 19… Bd6!! 20. Qxd7+ Kf6  and black is assured of at least a draw!  Not so incredible, since white’s entire queenside force is ‘asleep’.  The line continues 21. g3 Bc5! and feast your eyes on the tableau:

Black's Tiny Army Fights Successfully

Black's Tiny Army Fights Successfully

Position after 21…Bc5! (Analysis).  Black has at least a draw!

22. Qc6 Qxg3+ 23. Qg2 Bxf2+ 24. Kh1 Qxh4+ 25. Qh3 Qe4+ 26. Kh2 and now black can play aggressively with 26… g5  or force an immediate draw with 26… Ba7 27. bxc4 Bb8+ 28. Kg1 Ba7+.   It’s amazing how black’s well-coordinated, but TINY army, saves the day and even preserves winning chances!

20. bxc4 Bd6 21. g3 The simple 21. Bxd3! winning demonstrates how bad black’s 19th was.

21…f4 22. Qf3 Rf8 23. g4! Effective enough.

23…Ke7 24. Bxd3 Bc6 25. Qxc6 f3 26. Qb7+ Kd8 27. Kf1 Qh2 28. Ke1 Bg3 29. fxg3 f2+ 30. Kd1 f1=Q+ 31. Bxf1 Rxf1+ 32. Kc2 Qxg3 33. Qb8+

HAHAHAHA.  Since black has seconds left and will lose on time in any event, white moves his queen en-prise.  A classical Naka taunt. 🙂

33…Ke7 34. Qxg3 1-0

And for More Humor: CNN Text Scroll Gaffes

For those who can’t get enough humor, I went to lunch today at PF Chang.  The TV overhead was tuned to CNN at a very low volume but it had a text scroll at the time (presumably for hard of hearing viewers).  Amusingly the text scroll made some mistakes that almost made sense in the context of the story, but not quite.

First, CNN was running a story on Pres. Obama addressing the AARP on health care reform.  According to the text scroll, Obama told the AARP audience, “I know hell care is not working for you.  I know I have to fix hell care.  I know we have big problems with hell care.”   That one drew some yucks.  The next story up:  quarterback Michael Vick was reinstated into the NFL after a long jail stint for dog fighting.  The text scroll kept saying “Victory Dogs…”  …. “Victory Dogs”…. the story was actually trying to say “Vick’s dogs.”

Playing The Oddball

The following poll starts to measure your oddball experiences.

The Fabulous 00s: Championing Dubious Systems

May 20, 2009

Say What?

A lot of authors champion some pretty bad things.  A duo of Dutch  amateurs champion a passive Philidor-type system starting with 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 Nbd7 and call it the “Black Lion” for reasons that are not clear on the surface.  It looks more like zebra meat a lion might enjoy as a snack.   A review by Arne Moll points out some of the authors’ analysis biases. In a worse vein,  German amateur Stefan Buecker used to champion the hideous Vulture (1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 Ne4?) and subjectively bias the lines so that black was on top more often that not.  And I won’t even talk about what American blogger “Dana M.” is espousing in terms of opening systems.

Moving up the ranks of respectability in terms of both author and subject matter, GM Victor Moskalenko champions the Budapest (1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e5) in a recent book. What’s there to say?  Black relies on piece play without pawns in front, in violation of Kasparov’s famous attacking edicts.  I guess black is hoping white messes up, because it certainly looks like a safe += in the mainlines. Just to prove its tricky nature, though,I tried it as black versus an IM and was rewarded with a lucky win in ICC Blitz.   In passing, the Albin (1. d4 d5 2. c4 e5) is fairly tough to break too, as GM Morozevich has proven in many games.   The Budapest and Albin are both apparently better than their long-standing reputations.

Event “ICC 5 0”]
[Site “Internet Chess Club”]
[Date “2009.05.20”]
[Round “-“]
[White “IM Dali”]
[Black “aries2”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ICCResult “White resigns”]
[WhiteElo “2291”]
[BlackElo “2421”]
[Opening “Budapest: Adler variation”]
[ECO “A52”]
[NIC “QG.01”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e5 Moskalenko’s Fabulous Move.

3. dxe5 Ng4 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. e3 White opts for the common, slow treatment, but since he hasn’t done anything wrong and black’s just floating out there in the center, I would be happy as white.   Slow pawn expansion should punish the dancing knights.

5…Ngxe5 6. Nc3 Bb4 7. Bd2 O-O 8. a3?! This cannot promise much. Quite interesting is 8. Nxe5 Nxe5 9. f4!? Nc6 10. Nd5! and white can claim a small edge.  Is this line a novelty?

8…Bxc3 9. Bxc3 d6 10. Be2 Be6 10…Nxf3+ is quite a reasonable alternative and black might be able to reaches full equality.  For example, 11. Bxf3 Ne5 12. Be2 Be6 13. b3 Qf6! 14. Rc1 Qg6 15. O-O Bh3 16. Bf3 Rfe8 and it’s balanced.

11. b3 a5 11…Qf6!? is interesting here.  12. Rc1 Qg6! and with this typical transfer, it’s equal.

12. a4 I wouldn’t be in a rush to do this as white but it doesn’t seem bad.

12…b6?! Once again black misses the Qf6! motif.

13. Nd4 Just 13. O-O first and wait and see.

13…Bd7?! Black misses the more active 13…Qg5! =.

14. O-O After numerous imprecisions, white now has a stable edge.

14…Qe7 15. Nb5 Rac8 16. Qd2 Rfe8 17. Rae1 What can black do?  17. Rad1 is also unpleasant.

17…Ng6 17…Ng4 18. Qb2! is not fun.

18. Bd3 Nce5 19. Bc2 White is gearing up for the central pawn blitz so I have to do something.


19…Nf3+?! OK.  Here we go.  I’m attacking without any pawns.  Chess principles say this cannot work.

20.  gxf3 Nh4 21. Kh1 Forced but good.



22. Qd5 This is fine.  To give us the satisfied feeling that chess principles are not broken in this game, those with sharp tactical vision see 22. Qd1! and now both 22…Bc6 23. e4! interference theme! and 22…Bg4 23. Rg1! are terrible for black. White should win after 22. Qd1!.  The presence of two good moves for white at this juncture mean black’s 19th was hopelessly unsound.

22…Bg4 23. Rg1 Qh4 Of no use is 23…c6 24. Qd3! Qh4 25. Qxh7+!  winning.

24. Rg2 Nxe1? Slightly better is 24…Re5 25. Bxe5 Nxg1 26. Bxg7! and white should win.

25. Qd4! Crushing!

25…Re5 26. Rxg4? A bad gaffe in blitz and where the game starts to turn 180 degrees.  After 26. Bxe1 black can resign.

26…Qxf2 27. Be4? A typical blitz collapse. White had to play 27. Bxe1 but black can play on there and doesn’t need to take a draw.

27…Nf3 28. Bxf3 Qf1+ 29. Rg1 Qxf3+ 30. Rg2 Rg5!


A nice finale.  The double threat on g2 and Qf1+ decides.

31. Qd2 Qf1+ {White resigns}

And the Next Stop on this Train is….


Now That’s a Dome!


Happy Marriage of Princeton and Yale: Sotomayor!

Referring to the recent Obama Supreme Court nominee, traditional conservative CNN windbag columnist Ruben Navarette writes, “How about on sheer qualifications? Sotomayor sure has them. Raised by her mother after her father died, Sotomayor graduated from Princeton University summa cum laude and from Yale Law School.”  He goes on to note, “radio talk show host [pill-popper] Rush Limbaugh called her “an affirmative action case extraordinaire,” although affirmative action doesn’t help you graduate summa cum laude from an Ivy League university.”   This is a good point, I hope “Rush” (what a name!) takes notice. I was not an affirmative action case and had a miserable GPA because the student union building also doubled as pizza and beer; New Jersey was a “18” state for drinking at the time.  I also noticed that critics routinely omitted the honors; I presume on purpose. An example of the omission: dogmatic conservative columnist Jeffrey Rosen rushes to omit by saying “She was raised by her mother, a nurse, and went to Princeton and then Yale Law School.”   Nice foxy omission, Jeff but it’s not going to work; she will get confirmed in a landslide.  At the very least, critics should get the bio right before falling over themselves to attack the candidate on the grounds of ethnic favoritism.  Postscript:  Newt Gingrich ‘tweeted’ (sorry, Newt is a cretin racist name) “White man racist nominee would be forced to withdraw. Latina woman racist should also withdraw.”   Newt?  Does this withered prune fellow have any credibility?   Did some young fascist Republican show him how to Tweet?  I can’t fathom the guy even logging on.  “Newt” and “Rush” are amusing cretin hillbilly names – quite predictable they would spew vitriol more often than not.   We could switch them around, two new hate-filled personas “Nush” and “Rewt”.   VIVA this happy union of Princeton and Yale.   It reaffirms an earlier post regarding Yale’s excellent graduate programs and Princeton’s tigerhold in the undergraduate arena.

Postscript 5/28/09:  Ed Rollins, Chairman of the RNC, agrees!:

“There can be no debate over her qualifications. Her lifetime achievements in the academic world, in the legal world and the judicial world are unchallengeable. If that was the only measure, she would be confirmed unanimously.

That isn’t going to happen! We are into full-bore political battle within the Republican Party, with conservatives and pragmatists arguing over what are the best tactics to stop the direction that this young president and his congressional allies are taking us.

But I just offer a word of caution. The confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor is not the battle to be waged and it won’t be won.”

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The Fabulous 00s: A New Chess.FM Segment

June 11, 2008

Upholding the Sicilian – A new Chess.FM Segment

I am preparing a series of ICC Chess.FM lectures on “Upholding the Sicilian” (1. e4 c5) against various unusual white tries. John Henderson is producing the series and Andy MacFarland is the production engineer.

The first two segments are devoted to the Smith-Morra gambit (1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Nxc3).

Using games I have collected and analyzed, I collate and distill the findings to give the best black responses in each case. Some of the games are historical classics (Smith-Evans, San Antonio 1972; Fischer-Korchnoi Buenos Aires 1960) and some are brand new analyses created by me working in conjunction with my faithful friend Rybka. In some lines, black can even turn the tables and attack white’s king!

I have collected the various findings at the end of ‘aries’ library on ICC.

Dovetailing with “Manest” (Alex Lenderman) Lectures

The Smith-Morra segment is particularly interesting because it dovetails into another set of Chess.FM lectures given by IM Alex Lenderman. In his segments, he presents the Smith-Morra from the white side. I focus on black’s resources and in combination we do have a very interesting “360 degree” look at this interesting gambit.

Future Plans and Website Feedback

In the future, I will develop and present research on the Alapin (1. e4 c5 2. c3), the Grand Prix Attack (1. e4 c5 2. f4, or 1. e4 c5 2. nc3 Nc6 3. f4), the Moscow (1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+) and more.

I will devote space on this website for reader feedback so we can grow the analysis tree.

Unrelated Photos of the Day

The 1985 Columbia University Pan-Am Squad

Mystery IMs