Archive for the ‘The 2000s’ Category

The Fabulous 10’s: A TN Discovered on the 8th Move

July 4, 2011

Fortuitous TN Discovery

I think I discovered a TN looking at the game Laznicka-Morozevich, Pamploma 2006.

Laznicka (2596) – Morozevich (2747)  Pamplona  2006 Sicilian Defense

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. Nc3 Qc7 5. O-O Nd4 6. Re1 a6 7. Bf1 Ng4

Position after 7...Ng4

So far, normal enough.  Nobody’s going to fall for 8. Nxd4 Qxh2 mate.

In my database, 8. g2-g3 was played 35 times previously and 8. d2-d3 was played one time previously.  Humorously, although 8. d3 allows mate in 2, that game example went 8. d3 Nxf3+ (so far, so good) 9. Qxf3 and now black uncorked 9… Ne5 eventually drawing instead of 9… Qh2 mate.  (Brakus (2077) – Markovic (1662) Belgrade Spring Open 2009.)   Trying to get away from that 8. d3 “story”, let’s return to these two top GMs.

Laznicka played the rather ugly looking  8. g3 Nxf3+ 9. Qxf3 Ne5 and went on to lose this balanced position after further miscues.

However, 8. e5!! TN seems to be strong.

Examine:

A. 8. e5!! Nxf3+ 9. Qxf3 Nxe5 10. Qh5 d6 11. f4 Nc6 12. Nd5 Qd8 13. f5 Nd4 14. Bd3 e5 15. fxe6 Bxe6 16. Nf4 and white is better.

B. 8. e5!! Nxf3+ 9.  Qxf3 Nxe5 10. Qh5 Ng6 11. Nd5 Qd8 12. d4 cxd4 13. Bd2! e6 14. Ba5!! Qxa5 15. Nf6+ gxf6 16. Qxa5 and through sly play white has won the queen.

There are other lines, but white has great compensation in all of them.  Never before seen?

Chess U News

The iPhone/iPad app Chess U continues to grow.  We have new authors in July 2011.

July 2011 Author Contingent

We have Frank Johnson authoring Chess-Coach 101, 102, and 103 to support his chess camps, Gabby Kay just finished Classics 101 (10 famous games such as the Evergreen Game Anderssen-Kieseritsky, and Morphy’s Opera Box Game and Fischer’s Game of the Century, D. Byrne-Fischer), and Marcel Martinez just finished Middlegame 201 (10 of his instructive efforts vs. such luminaries as Robert Hess and Julian Hodgson).  Coming soon we have Jones Murphy, in collaboration with IM Kamran Shirazi, present ten recent Shirazi efforts.  Later this summer we expect to have GM Eugene Perelshteyn author a first effort on the Accelerated Dragon.

Middlegame 201 Lessons List

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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:

1…Ka7.

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!

Postscript

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?

Postscript

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 00s: Italian French Theory in Iceland

January 25, 2011

Italian French Theory in Iceland

Hot off the Italian presses (in 2009): with my supplemental notes in italics.

La vittoria spettacolare di Vocaturo nel III turno:
MI Vocaturo Daniele (ITA, 2445) – GM Hillarp Persson, Tiger (SWE, 2586) [Megalovic]

2009 Rejkavik Open   French Defense, Winawer

1. e4 e6

MG note:  Hillarp Persson wrote an entire quirky book on the Modern Defense called “Tiger’s Modern”; in retrospect he should have used it here!

2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 Ne7 7. h4 Nbc6 8. h5 Qa5 9. Bd2 Bd7 10. h6

MG note:  It’s funny how the computer age gives us lines like this, where white spends three tempi on h-pawn advance  Such things would not occur to the old masters.  Usually the very same computer gives us an answer to such an impetuous plan, but Persson either did not know it or underestimated it.

gxh6

For some bizarre reason, this move has been seen 28 times in ChessBase, with no examples of 10…g6 or 10…Rg8.  It is true the computer awards white a steady plus after 10…g6 11. Nf3.

11. Rb1 O-O-O

11…c4? 12. Rxb7 is terrible for black as in Vocaturo-Contin Bratto 2009 and white duly won easily.  However, the computer says 11…b6! and sees no edge for white!  As far as I know, 11…b6! has not been tested.  For example, 11…b6! 12. Rb5? Qa4! and black is winning.

12. Rb5 sin qui tutto come la Morozevich – Lputian 1-0 Sochi 2007

Critical Moment

Black now faces the most important decision in the game and Persson goes wrong, although it was impossible to see at this moment.

12.. Qxa3? Novità Lputian giocò Qa4

Indeed, Lputian’s 12…Qa4! looks like a safer and stronger response and it’s justified by a beautiful computer tactic.  First of all, if 13. Rxc5 b6! and black is better.  Morozevich played 12….Qa4! 13. Qb1 and now Lputian blundered badly with 13…Na5? 14. Rxc5+ and Morozevich went on to win a crisp game.

However the computer points out the startling novelty 13…Nxd4!! TN 14. cxd4 (forced) Bxb5 and now on either white capture on b5, black captures on d4 with at least equal chances and more if white is not careful.
Persson’s choice proves to be fundamentally too risky due to Vocaturo’s ingenious sacrificial answer.

13. Rxc5 a6 14. Qb1 Kc7 15. c4 b6 16. cxd5 sacrificando una torre!

16…bxc5 17. d6+ Kc8 18. Rh3 Qa4 19. Rb3 rinunciando a recuperare subito un cavallo! La partita è complicatissima tatticamente. Al momento Vocaturo ha sacrificato una torre in cambio di una posizione molto esposta del Re nero

So far the computer likes Persson’s defense although white can keep an edge with best play.  However, on the next move he makes a questionable decision.

19…Nd5?!

The Italian press should have mentioned black’s alternative here. The cold-blooded computer contemplates 19…c4!? blocking things off.  Things don’t look good for white:  20. dxe7? cxb3 winning for black; 20. Rb7? Nd5! winning for black.  White can draw with 20. Rb2 Nd5 21. Ra2 Qb5 22. Rb2 and draws by repetition.  But stronger is the natural exchange sacrifice 20. Rc3! Qb4 21. Qxb4 Nxb4 22. dxe7 Rde8 23. Rxc4+ Nc6 24. Bb4 and white keeps a definite edge in the ending.

The tactical problem refuting a plausible defense is 20. Rc3! Nd5? 21. Rxc4 Qb5 22. Rb4! double attack and win.

Note 19…Nf5? is crushed by 20. Rb6!.

20.dxc5 la posizione esposta del Re nero e la posizione infelice della donna legata dalla difesa del pa6 sembrano dare un ampio compenso al bianco

20..Rdg8 Per tentare di mettere in gioco la torre sulla colonna g e dare una casa di fuga al Re. Il nero ha solo 9′ più incremento per giocare 19 mosse. Vocaturo 50′

20…Qe4+? 21. Be2 and black has no followup.

21.c4! Nde7 offrendo all’avversario il cavallo, che comunque era perso, in modo da deviare il fastidioso pe6

22.Ne2! rifiutando l’offerta e mettendo in gioco l’ultimo pezzo che non giocava!

Not sure what the Italian press is excited about; the crude 22. dxe7 won trivially.

22…Qxc4

Relatively best was 22…Rg5 but after 23. dxe7 white wins easily.

23.Nc3 Qxc5 24.Ne4

Black could have and should have resigned.  His king is dead.

Qxe5 25.dxe7 Nxe7 Rybka segnala matto in 10. obiettivamente non facile da vedere. Comunque anche Bxa6+ è vincente

26. Rb8+! non per Vocaturo

Starting an embarrassing mate in 10 sequence.  Black plays on!

26…Qxb8 27.Bxa6+ Kc7 28. Ba5+ Kc6 29. Qc2+ Kd5 30. Qd3+ Ke5 31. Bc3+ Kf5 32. Nd6+ Kg5 33.Qg3+ Kh5 34. Be2+ Rg4 35. Qxg4++ Hillarp Person gioca fino a prendere matto: per rendere omaggio alla grandissima prestazione di Vocaturo? Quel che è certo è che Daniele ha giocato una partita spettacolare!

The Happy Winner

Postscript

Moving on to the present day, what the heck is going on in France? The French federation accusing its own players?  Quoi?????

24/01: MESSAGE DE SEBASTIEN FELLER

Je conteste totalement les accusations de tricherie de la Fédération Française d’ Echecs. Cette procédure disciplinaire est en réalité liée au fait que j’ai soutenu lors des Olympiades,l’actuel président de la FIDE en opposition avec l ‘actuelle direction de la Fédération Française des Echecs. Le président de la FIDE est d’ ailleurs diffamé sur le blog de Jean-Claude Moingt, lequel prétend qu ‘il a bénéficié de procurations fictives.

De plus, j’ ai fait état lors de conversations privées, lesquelles ont été répétées, d’irrégularités comptables de la Fédération Française (des précisions seront données ultérieurement), lesquelles ont déclenché la colère du président.

J’ai demandé à mon avocat, Me Charles Morel, d’ engager une action en justice en dommages et intérêts contre la Fédération Française pour avoir de façon injustifiée cité mon nom dans un communiqué, repris sur tous les sites français et étrangers, ainsi que dans la presse internationale.

Cordialement,
Sébastien Feller


Translation (by Albert Silver):

24/01: MESSAGE BY SEBASTIEN FELLER

I completely deny the cheating accusations by the French Chess Federation. This disciplinary procedure is in fact related to my support, during the Olympiads, of the current FIDE president as opposed to the current administration of the French Chess Federation. The FIDE president is furthermore defamed in the blog of Jean-Claude Moingt (NdT: president of the FFE) who claims that he benefited from dummy proxies.

Furthermore, I mentioned in private conversations, which were repeated, of accounting irregularities by the French Federation (specifics will be provided at a later date) which angered the president.

I have requested my lawyer, Mr. Charles Morel, to initiate legal action for damages against the French Federation for having unjustifiably cited my name in a statement, republished by all the French and foreign sites, as well as the international press..

Best regards,
Sébastien Feller

For Your Viewing Pleasure

Unrelated to Chess.

The Fabulous 10s: The Case of the “Forgotten” Move in the 2 Knights

April 5, 2010

Black Can Play Better in the 2 Knights!

Recently some games have appeared in the 2 Knights – they all share the same characteristic that a principal move for black is not mentioned!

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Ng5!? The venerable, if somewhat time-wasting and primitive, attack on f7.

4….d5 5. exd5 Na5! The only good move.  Friedel has had some good results with the crazy Ulvestad lunge 5….b5?! but that looks unsound.

5....b5? Ulvestad's move just doesn't work!

6. Bb5+ c6 7. dxc6 bxc6 8. Bd3!?

Obviously self-blocking but white does have an extra pawn.  This is how Nakamura suprised Friedel in the competitively important last round of the US Championship last year.

8…Ng4! The best move!  Not played or MENTIONED in any of the recent games that have graced the virtual pages of Chess Life Online!

8...Ng4!, without a doubt the best move and unfairly ignored in recent press!

Why is it systematically ignored by:  Nakamura (in his notes to the Friedel game), Friedel (in HIS notes to the Nakamura game) and Molner and others in the Molner-Mitkov NAO 10 game? The move 8….Ng4! has history on its side.  It was tried out by none other than…. OK readers look it up!  Friedel played some slow Be7 and O-O and just lost due to white’s extra pawn.  Mitkov played 8….h6 and ….Nd5 and gained some activity but in the end Molner had, well, superior activity and the extra pawn.  I am baffled why it went without passing in ANY of the recent games’ annotations.

Stay tuned, I will post here further analysis on 8…Ng4!.  It has the distinct advantage of forcing white into passive situations, often with a compromised pawn structure.

The Fabulous 00s: Beliavsky and Gelfand Hopelessly Confused by Nakamura’s King’s Indian

January 9, 2010

The Sharpest King’s Indian

At the World Team today GM Nakamura scored a key victory leading the USA over Israel, 2.5 – 1.5  Last year, Nakamura also confounded GM Beliavsky in the same variation at the “Rising Stars vs Experience” match in Holland.  Let’s see this perplexing King’s Indian.

[Event “Rising Stars vs Experience”]
[Site “Netherlands”]

[Date “2009.??.??”]
[White “Beliavsky, Alexander”]
[Black “Nakamura, Hikaru”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “E97”]

For a certain time, Beliavsky played very strongly in this sharp line.
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. O-O Nc6 8. d5
Ne7 9. Nd2

Starting Point

9…Ne8 Old school logic didn’t like this move; it doesn’t control c5. In Kasparov’s heyday, it was thought black needed  Nf6-d7 and…a7-a5 in some order to hold white up.  We might see a resurgence of ….a5 if white’s resources pointed out in this article hold up.

10. b4 f5 11. c5 Nf6 12. f3 f4 13. Nc4 g5 14. a4 Ng6 15. Ba3 Rf7

Toddlin' down the main line road

Doesn’t it look like white is faster and therefore better?  It looks that way to me.  That means we should be trying very hard to figure out what Beliavsky and Gelfand did wrong, since it’s counter-intuitive!

16. a5(!)

(In today’s Gelfand-Nakamura game, very strange things happened after black blitzed out the refreshingly barbaric pawn storm  16. b5 dxc5 17. Bxc5 h5 18. a5 g4 19. b6 g3 20. Kh1 Bf8 21. d6 axb6 22. Bg1 Nh4!

Black plays to bother the white king and threatens a standard sac.  Gelfand’s response is suprisingly weak for this veteran 2700-plus player playing white.  Do you think part of the reason was that black was playing instantly?  Sometimes that leads the other player to overlook key resources and become rattled.

Puzzle for Boris

23. Re1? (White has to recognize the danger and play the non-standard 23. hxg3! fxg3 24. Be3! after which black’s knight on h4 just blocks.  For example, 24… Bh3 25. Rg1! Bxg2+ 26. Rxg2 Nxg2 27. Kxg2 Bxd6 28. Nxd6 Qxd6 29. Qxd6 cxd6 30. Bc4 and white is on the better side of a draw.  On other black moves, white proceeds in the center and the queenside.  Bg5 is also threatened in some lines and at least, white is not getting mated!

23… Nxg2! Since black was blitzing, it was probably all prep.  Still, it is amazing that despite the oceans of time white consumed, he seems to have missed the tactical detail of the “forever” mate on g2 stopping his intended capture of black pieces.
24. dxc7? Another mistake.  He has to try 24. Kxg2 Rg7 25. dxc7 gxh2+ 26. Kh1 hxg1=Q+ 27. Rxg1 and white appears safe.  Can black improve?

24… Nxe1! Now it’s all over; white has embarrassingly lost.

25. Qxe1  g2+ 26. Kxg2 Rg7+ 27. Kh1 Bh3 28. Bf1 Qd3! Oops.  That g2 mate again.  What a debacle!

29. Nxe5 Bxf1 30. Qxf1 Qxc3 31. Rc1 Qxe5 32. c8=Q Rxc8 33. Rxc8 Qe6 and white gave up, 0-1 Gelfand-Nakamura World Team 2010.

Going back to Big Al Beliavsky, where white has good chances (at this point!),

16… h5 17. b5 dxc5 18. b6! I like Beliavsky’s way of NOT taking on c5 yet with the bishop as in the Gelfand-Nakamura game .

18…g4 19. bxc7 Rxc7 20. Nb5! (20. Qb3 g3 21. Nb5 Nxe4 22. fxe4 (22. h3 Qh4 23. d6 Bxh3 is black’s main idea, and it works!) 22…Qh4 and black crashes through.  Alexander’s move looks highly logical)

20… g3 This is black’s only move.  Still doesn’t it look like black’s position is hanging by a thread?

The obvious threat is Nxe4 and Qh4.  I think white’s next move is not the best.  This is the critical moment that I bet Al wishes he could do over.  Up to now, I find white’s play to be fantastically logical and he’s made inroads on the queenside and the center.  He has to deal with black’s (only) play against his King involving a N/f6 sacrifice and then Q to h4 with an intended mating attack.   This unidimensional idea, though, is hard to stop and explains the appeal of the line from black’s point of view.  Looking at the next diagram, how to finesse it so that black’s attack is stopped (if the attack is stopped, white’s positional trumps should win)?

Puzzle for Big Al

21. Nxc7? This allows the threat.  Better, I think, is 21. Qc2!! disallowing black’s intended tricks.  For example, none of black’s standard knight sacs work now. 21… Nxe4? (21… Nxd5? 22. exd5 Qh4 23. h3 Bxh3 24. gxh3 Qxh3 25. Bd3! (Don’t you like how the subtle 21. Qc2!! guards the h2 square laterally, I do!) 25… Nh4 26. Be4 g2 27. Rfe1 and white wins) 22. Qxe4 Qh4 23. hxg3! Exploiting the pin; black cannot organize the standard mate now.  23…Qxg3 24. Nxc7 Nh4 25. Rf2 Bh3 26. Bd3!  and it turns out that white is one that wins by attack on black’s king, a refreshing change (from white’s point of view).  Continuing, 26… Bxg2 27. Qh7+ Kf7 28. Nxe5+ Ke7 29. Bxc5+ Kd8 30. Ne6+ and mates.

In the game, white missed some more tactical details and lost, but I think we should focus on the 21. Qc2! improvement.

For completeness, 21. Qc2! Ne8? also fails.  22. Nxc7 Qh4 23. h3 Bxh3 24. gxh3 Qxh3 25. Bd3! (always this resource to use the white queen in defense!) 25…Nxc7 and now white beats black back with an aesthetic defense: 26. Qg2 Qd7 27. Qh1!! h4 28. Kg2! and wins.  Wow!

And if black moves the rook from c7 admitting the attack is over, it is hopeless: 21. Qc2! Rf7 22. Bxc5 and 22. Ncd6 are both crushing.   21. Qc2! Rd7 22. Bxc5 is similarly winning.

21… Nxe4 22. Ne6 Bxe6 23. dxe6 gxh2+ 24. Kxh2 Qh4+ 25. Kg1
Ng3 26. Bxc5 e4 27. Ra4 Rc8 28. Bxa7 b5 29. Rb4 bxc4 30. Bxc4 Qh1+ 31. Kf2 e3+ 32. Bxe3 fxe3+ 33. Kxe3 Nxf1+ 34. Bxf1 Qg1+ 0-1

Conclusion:  I think white should be able to play accurately and maintain an edge in this extremely sharp variation.  However, he has to be fully awake and as tactically alert as black!

Why So Serious?

It’s good to break up theory with some blitz.

[Event “ICC 5 0”]
[Site “Internet Chess Club”]
[Date “2010.01.10”]
[White “aries2”]
[Black “FredyMatsuura”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ICCResult “Black resigns”]
[WhiteElo “2404”]
[BlackElo “2212”]
[Opening “French: Winawer, Alekhine (Maróczy) gambit”]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Ne2 Nf6?! 5. e5 Nfd7 6. a3 Be7?! 7. f4 b6?! 8. f5! exf5?! 9. Nxd5 Bb7 10. Nef4 O-O 11. Bc4 c5? 12. e6! Nf6 13. exf7+ Kh8 14. Nxf6 Bxf6 15. Qh5! {Black resigns} 1-0

The Fabulous 00s: Sadness and Despair at the 2010 World Team

January 8, 2010

Tough Times in Turkey: USA Gaffes vs Russia

The 2010 World Teams are in full swing in Bursa, Turkey.

The USA came out of the gate very lame versus Russia and was severely trounced as two of our players uncharacteristically didn’t know the opening phase.

[White “Malakhov, V.”]
[Black “Shulman, Y.”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “C05”]
[WhiteElo “2716”]
[BlackElo “2624”]
[EventDate “2010.01.05”]
[EventType “team ()”]
[EventRounds “9”]
[EventCountry “TUR”]
[Source “Chess Today”]
[SourceDate “2010.01.08”]

Vladimir Malakhov is a rather conventional player and is best at opponents who commit senseless hara-kiri in well-known structures.  He is not very good in original strategic situations, as Mamedyarov has proved in the past.  Unfortunately, this important USA-Russia game belongs to the former category.
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. Ngf3 Nc6 7. Nb3

A bizarre move, wasting several tempi to close off the queenside.

7. Nb3 - This?!

7…c4 A livelier game results from 7…f6 with equal chances.

8. Nbd2 b5 9. Be2 Nb6 10. Nf1 Bd7 Nothing is wrong with the simple 10..Be7 and 11…O-O.  What is black attacking?

11. Ne3 Be7 12. O-O Qc7 12…O-O is fine for black.

13. Bd2 a5 13…O-O is fine for black. 14. g4? f6! and black has a small edge.

14. Be1 O-O-O?

A huge lemon and very surprising from veteran GM Shulman.

After any move not committing black’s king to the queenside, black is fine.  For example,
14… b4 15. c3 O-O 16. g4 f6 and black is all right.

No... not king to the queenside!

15. b3 a4 16. Rb1 Qa7 17. bxc4 bxc4 18. Bf2 Even the simple 18. c3 already gives white a huge and fairly automatic plus.

18… Na5 19. f5 g6 20. f6 Ba3 21. Ng5 Be8 22. Bg4 Nc6 23. Nxe6! Child’s play for any grandmaster.  Black could already resign. A total debacle, doubly so in a team event.

fxe6 24. Bxe6+ Rd7 25. Nxd5 Nxd5 26. Qf3 Nd8 27. Bxd5 Qa6 28. e6?! To show best this situation, 28. Bxc4! Qxc4 29. Qa8+ Kc7 30. Rb8 instantly won.

28… Rxd5 29. Qxd5 Nxe6 30. Bg3 Nc7 31. Bxc7 Former WC Mikhail Tal would not have missed 31. Rb8+!! Kxb8 32. Qd8+ Ka7 33. Qxc7+ Qb7 34. Qa5+ Qa6 35. Bb8+ and wins very elegantly.

31… Kxc7 32. f7 Bd7 33. Qe5+ 1-0 Depressing.  Even more depressing was the next game where an American player gets a hopeless ending right away…. with the white pieces!

[Event “7th World Team Championship”]
[Site “Bursa TUR”]
[Date “2010.01.07”]
[Round “3”]
[White “Akobian, V.”]
[Black “Vitiugov, N.”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “D10”]

[WhiteElo “2628”]
[BlackElo “2692”]
[PlyCount “146”]
[EventDate “2010.01.05”]
[EventRounds “9”]

[EventCountry “TUR”]
[Source “Chess Today”]

Young grandmaster Akobian is a young player’s favorite ever since he did an MTV video where he proclaimed washing socks and cooking food is a waste of time (his mother was in the background picking up socks).  Classic.  How many players will emulate these words?  I remember one famous junior who was described as, “if he can make toast or boil an egg, it’s a miracle.” However, in this game, something goes horribly wrong right away for the anti-laundry kid.

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 dxc4 4. e4?! The safe choice is 4. e3! b5 5. a4 b4 6. Na2 Nf6 7. Nxb4  equal, or 7. Bxc4 e6 8. Nf3 Nbd7 equal.  Former WC Karpov had no equal playing safe when surprised.  Akobian should pick up some clues from Karpov.

4…. b5 5. a4 b4 6. Nb1 Black is happy after 6. Na2 Nf6 7. e5 Nd5 8. Bxc4 a5 9. Nf3
g6 10. O-O Bg7.

6… Ba6 7. Qc2 White could have tried 7. Nf3 Nf6 8. e5 Nd5 to try to get out of the opening.

7… Nf6

Setting white a rather elementary tactical problem.

White to play and lose dismally

8. Bxc4? An incredible lemon.  Was white “faking” knowing this stuff? 8. Nd2! is a good try to save it.  For example, if 8…Qxd4 9. Ngf3 Qc5 10. Nxc4 e6 11. Be3 b3 12. Qxb3 Qb4+ 13. Qxb4 Bxb4+ and white will reach a half point.   Maybe if he picked up some socks in a pre-game warm-up or cooked the team a meal he would have been sharper in this encounter.

8…Bxc4 9. Qxc4 Nxe4 10. Qxb4? Ugh!  He had to try 10. f3 Nd6 11. Qxb4 a5 12. Qb3 Nf5 13. Ne2!  hoping for 13…Nxd4; black has 13…g6! =+.

10… e5 So simple.

11. Qb7 Did this absurd queen raid really appear on the board in this important team event?  It appears so, sadly.

11…Qxd4

Oopsie.  Black can just take this. Vitiugov must not have been able to believe his eyes.  This childish trap…. winning for black… is on the board!

12. Qc8+ 12. Qxa8 Bb4+ wins easily for black.

Qd8 13. Qxd8+ Kxd8 14. Nd2 Bb4 15. Ngf3 Nd7 16. Ke2 Nd6 17. Nb3 Ke7 18. Bd2 Rab8 19. Rhc1 Rhc8 20. Rc2 c5 21. Be3 c4 22. Nbd2 Bc5 23. Rac1 Bxe3 24. fxe3 f6 25. Nxc4 Nxc4 26. Rxc4 Rxb2+ 27. Nd2 Rxc4 28. Rxc4 Ra2 29. Kd3 This blunder doesn’t matter; white was lost anyway.

29..Rxa4 30. Rc7 Kd8 31. Rc3 e4+ 32. Ke2 Nb6 33. g4 Kd7 34. h4 Kd6 35. Rb3 g6 36. Rb5 Kc6 37. Rb1 Nd5 38. Rc1+ Kd6 39. Rc8 f5 40. gxf5 gxf5 41. Nc4+ Kd7 42. Rc5 Ra2+ 43. Ke1 Ne7 44. h5 Ke6 45. Rc7 Rc2 46. Kd1 Rc3 47. Kd2 Kf6 48. h6 Nd5 49. Rc5 Rd3+ 50. Ke2 f4 51. exf4 Nxf4+ 52. Kf2 Rf3+ 53. Kg1 e3 54. Rc6+ Kg5 55. Nxe3 Why did white not resign here?  This was the biggest mystery of the game.  Incredibly depressing game from a team standpoint.  Kibitizers were calling for Hess to come in off the bench (Hess, in fact, did come in the next round and convincingly win).

55…Rxe3 56. Rc7 Kxh6 57. Rxa7 Re2 58. Rf7 Nh5 59. Kh1 Kg6 60. Rf3 Ra2 61. Kg1 Nf6 62. Rg3+ Kf5 63. Rf3+ Kg5 64. Rg3+ Ng4 65. Rb3 Kf4 66. Rb5 Kf3 67. Rb3+ Ne3 68. Kh1 h5 69. Kg1 Re2 70. Kh1 Kg3 71. Rb1 Nc2 72. Rg1+ Kh3 73. Rg2 Apparently white did not resign in order to set up this deep stalemate trick.

73…Re1+ Vitiugov is too crafty to take the rook on g2.

0-1

And This Game Just in…

From today’s action, America’s young hopeful Robson luckily avoids a very aesthetic defeat!

[White “IM_Abdelnabbi”]
[Black “IM_Robson”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[WhiteElo “2448”]
[BlackElo “2570”]
[Opening “Sicilian: modern Scheveningen”]
[ECO “B45”]
[NIC “SI.22”]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 d6 6. Be2 Nf6 7. Be3 a6 8.
O-O Be7 9. Kh1 O-O 10. f4 Qc7 11. Qe1 Nxd4 12. Bxd4 b5 13. e5 Nd7?

A terrible lapse from a 2570-rated player.  13…dxe5 = is necessary.

14. exd6! The problem is e4 is now cleared for white’s pieces with gain of tempo.

Bxd6 15. Bd3? Why not the obvious 15. Qg3 with an edge.

15…g6? Another lemon.   I think the kid may have been nervous in this team tournament. 15…Bb7! =

16. Qh4?! 16. Ne4! is indicated with an edge.

16…Bc5 17. f5 exf5 18. Nd5 Qd6? A really bad blunder.  18…Qd8 was equal.

19. Rxf5 Bxd4 20. Qxd4 gxf5 21. Re1 Now white is winning!  Oh no!

21…Ne5 What else?

22. Rxe5 Rd8 23. Qh4?? An incredible final blunder in this blunder-filled game.  23. Bxf5! wins.  Do you think white was happy drawing his higher rated opponent and went for this perpetual?

23. Bxf5!!  Bxf5 24. Rxf5 Qh6 (threatening mate) 25. h3!! wins.  For example, 25…Rd6 26. Rf3!  Or, 23. Bxf5!!  h6 and I will let the readers find the win, it’s very nice indeed.

White to play and win (analysis)

The game concluded dismally for white:

23…Qxe5 24. Qxd8+ Kg7 25. Qg5+ {Game drawn} 1/2-1/2

Props to Chess Today

Thanks to GM Baburin’s Chess Today newsletter for providing timely reports!

The Fabulous 00s: Death of the Main-Line Ulvestad

December 31, 2009

Ulvestad – What is This?!

Some analysis of recent Friedel games caused me to double-check analysis of what looks to me to be a highly dubious opening: the Ulvestad!

In particular, Michael Goeller’s notes to MacKinnon – Friedel Edmonton 2009.

Here is what I consider the bust of the “Main Line” Ulvestad.  Goeller pointed me to some analysis from a book by “Pinski” but I think white can overcome it, as follows:

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 3…Bc5 according to Karpov. There is something to be said for posting the bishop on the c5-f2 diagonal!

4. Ng5 d5 5. exd5 b5 Putting a dangling pawn out on b5 is cute, 1800’s Romanticism and all that, but doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

6. Bf1 Nd4 The cold-shower computer hates, and I think quite rightly, the move 6…h6?! as in Zierk-Friedel, Las Vegas 2009, but we’ll consider that bust separately. There now follows a series of moves that results in black’s king going to d8.  Technicians are laughing.

7. c3 Nxd5 8. cxd4 Qxg5 9. Bxb5+ Kd8

K on d8, what the heck is this??

I am not a big “two knights guy” but the king on d8 makes for a very unhealthy impression.  If white can castle (and he can), then it should be lights out.  If I was guaranteed before the game black would wheel out this [insert perjorative], I would become a huge fan of 3. Bc4 – but there is the answer 3…Bc5!

10. Qf3 Bb7 11. O-O Rb8

The best try but black is hanging together by the proverbial thread. In a fast time limit USCL game, black (who didn’t have doughnuts, coffee, and/or both) played the immediately losing 11… e4? and white was most happy to reply 12. Qh3! winning.  That nasty reply threatens mate on d7. 12…Bc8  (this forced undevelopment is taking the already ridiculous Ulvestad to new lows) 13. d3! Qf6 (13… Nf4 14. Bxf4 Qxf4 15. Qe3 wins) 14. Qh5 Qxd4 15. dxe4 and white won quickly, Charbonneau – Schneider, USCL 2009.  To illustrate what a complete short-circuit 11…e4? was, the simple 12. Qxe4 also wins (and is the materialistic computer’s preferred choice) as black has no follow-up.

12. dxe5! Friedel escaped this crummy situation and even won after 12. d3? Qg6! in the MacKinnon game referenced at the start of this article. As Goeller points out, 12. d3? is “a known error since at least Leonhardt – Englund, Stockholm 1908.”

12…Ne3 The plausible 12…Nb4 13. d4! wins for white. The nasty point is 13…Qxc1 14. Qxf7! blammo.

13. Qh3! Threatening mate on d7 and forcing black’s reply. Already I think white is completely winning.  Take that, Ulvestad fans.

White wins. Oh, the Soviet boredom.

The matter is now up to plain old Soviet-style technique.  And it’s not difficult.  Black is now in the iron grip of a Smyslov or a Botvinnik or a Petrosian.

13…Qxg2+ 14. Qxg2 Nxg2

An elementary blunder is 14..Bxg2? 15. fxe3 and wins since B/b5 guards f1.

15. d4 Nh4 Alternatives are no better.  For example, 15… Be7 16. Be2 Nh4 17. Rd1 Nf3+ 18. Bxf3 Bxf3 19. Rd3 Be4 20. Rg3 and white should gather the point.

Note: I draw readers’ attention to a comment I just received:

“A possible improvement for Black could be 15…f6 as played in Chemeris(2265)-Petkov(2484) in 2008, where Black obtained some nice play after 16.Nc3, Nh4: 17.Be2, Nf3+; 18.Bxf3, Bxf3: 19.Re1, Rb4: 20. Re3, Bb7: 21. Ne2, fxe5: 22.dxe5, Bc5 with clear compensation.”

However,  15…f6 16. Be2! followed by f2-f4 wins easily for white.  Once f3 is under control, black’s compensation disappears and it’s smooth sailing for white.

16. Bg5+ Be7 17. Bxh4 Bxh4 18. Nc3 Bf3 19. Rab1! Goeller told me that Pinski gives 19. b3 here, following up for black with a similar …Rg6+ sac idea.  In any event, it looks like this position is a simple win for white – the Rg6+ idea does not work. Here is why:

19…Rb6 20. Bd3 Rg6+(?) Not good at all, but what else? – I consider this move only to bust Pinski; other moves that don’t lose material are stronger but white is left with a big plus and should convert.

21. Bxg6 hxg6 22. Rfe1! A simple defense, preparing Ne4.  I think black is totally lost.

White wins

22…Bg5 22… Rh5 23. Ne4! just wins.  23… Rf5 24. Ng3 Rf4 25. Re3 and wins.

23. Rbd1!! The star defensive concept which any technician would find immediately.  The timely return of some material is always the receipe to break a premature “attack”.  Worse still for black, the Pinski  …Rg6 “adventure” just resulted in mass simplification making white’s ending task easier.

23…Bf4 Depressing for black is 23… Bxd1 24. Rxd1 Bf4 25. Ne2! and wins.

24. Rd3!  Bxh2+ 25. Kf1 Bb7 26. Ne2 and wins!  Note how Nc3-e2 is so strong defensively in these lines.

Conclusion: the main line Ulvestad is hopelessly unsound.

Readers, any improvements?   I think we should go back to Karpov’s 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5! 🙂

DIGRESSION: AN ICC BLITZ TREAT

GM Yozhik – IM Aries2   Ruy Lopez Cozio Madness

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nge7 4. Nc3 Ng6 5. h4 Nf4 6. d4 exd4 7. Nd5 Ne6

Non-standard


8. Ng5 h6 9. Qh5 Wow! This surprising move actually forces a draw in a bizarre way.

9…g6 10. Qf3 hxg5 11. Nf6+ Ke7 12. Nd5+ Ke8 13. Nf6+ Ke7 14. Nd5+ Ke8 15. Nf6+ Ke7 {Game drawn by repetition} 1/2-1/2

After the game I was in for another shocker: white told me he planned to continue with b2-b3!

Absolutely classic! When have you seen Ng8-e7-g6-f4-e6 before in the opening? 

An Indecent Proposal from China

I think the term “supper league” was the first signal all was not well in this email I received recently.

Attn:
INTRODUCTION
Ref: EC/GOCN/EXP/VOL.II/05

http://www.lifanfc.com
The CHONGQING LIFAN FOOTBALL CLUB intends to invite experienced coaches/players/expatriate capable of rendering expertise services the chinese national team and there clubs in the chinese supper league divison.their enthusiasm fed by huge media coverage.
BASIC FUNCTION:

To coach and provide leadership instruction to the chinese national team.
CHARACTERISTIC DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
*Development of team strategies; analyze performance of football team and adjust strategies as needed.
*Coordinate team travel arrangements.
*Scouting and recruiting more players into the national team.
*Coordinate coaches clinic; supervise dress code for staff and team members.
MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS:

Education and Experience:
Bachelor’s degree in relevant field,
SALARY: US$29,000.00, Monthly, can be transferred to any Bank or Country of your choice and all transfers must be made in conformity with the existing tax situation in China.
CONTRACT DURATION: 48 months (Liable for upward review depending on your commitment and expertise)
MODE OF EMPLOYMENT:
The Management hereby inform that you are to INCUR all expenses associated with the processing of your relevant papers for commencement of work.
The chinese football association will disburse Six (6) months Upfront salaries and relocation expenses on confirmation of your required documentation (including immigration papers) from the relevant authorities here in China

We hereby inform that if this Offer is acceptable to you, you are requested to send us an acceptance letter with your passport photograph via email to:cho.ti.cn@gmail.com, and your C.V/RESUME to enable us proceed with relevant processing.
We await your response in this regard.
Regards
Mr Cho Ti

Captain Christopher Pike before he was Pike

pre-Pike

And in News from Denmark

Le roi est mort. Vive le roi.

The Fabulous 00s: The 2009 North American Open

December 30, 2009

Vegas and Chess, Makes Sense

A true American classic – this year’s edition of the Bill Goichberg North American Open (at Bally’s Hotel, Las Vegas) was very hard fought in all seven rounds.

The abridged standings (click here for the complete standings as reported by the CCA):

1 GM Varuzhan Akobian 2690 CA W48 W27 W41 D5 W12 D3 D4
2 GM Alexander Shabalov 2669 PA W69 W29 D18 L12 W62 W19 W15
3 GM Victor Mikhalevski 2666 ISR W92 D42 W31 W18 D15 D1 W16
4 GM Joshua Ed Friedel 2609 NH L23 W25 W76 W32 W21 W11 D1
5 GM Alex Yermolinsky 2583 SD W37 W45 W49 D1 D11 D12 W14
6 GM Sundarajan Kidambi 2616 IND W59 W43 L12 W29 D13 D18 W27 5
7 GM Dmitry Gurevich 2526 IL W79 W35 D13 D19 D41 W42 D12 5
8 IM Lev Milman 2510 NY W78 D31 D32 D34 W53 W22 D9 5
9 IM Mark Ginsburg 2427 AZ W38 D33 H— W47 D44 W28 D8 5
10 FM Kazim Gulamali 2418 GA W80 W36 D44 L13 W31 D34 W30 5
11 FM Steven C Zierk 2387 CA W25 D23 W33 W17 D5 L4 W34 5
12 FM Daniel Naroditsky 2375 CA W62 W94 W6 W2 L1 D5 D7 5
13 David Alan Zimbeck 2293 CA W53 W90 D7 W10 D6 D15 D18 5
14 Siddharth Ravichandran 2489 NY L49 W93 W78 W43 D22 W40 L5
15 GM Mesgen Amanov 2448 IL W24 D32 W58 W28 D3 D13 L2
16 FM Alexander Kretchetov 2444 CA D60 W51 D47 W45 D42 W41 L3
17 FM Charles R Riordan 2411 MA W50 D47 X23 L11 L34 W55 W46
18 FM Michael Lee 2399 WA W61 W34 D2 L3 W36 D6 D13
19 IM Emory A Tate 2375 CA D70 W64 W56 D7 D40 L2 W39
20 FM Darwin Yang 2370 TX L63 L62 W99 W94 W49 W44 D23
21 GM Anatoly Y Lein 2355 OH W71 D66 H— W49 L4 D24 W48
22 Alex Cherniack 2280 MA H— W65 D52 W60 D14 L8 W45
23 FM William J Schill 2203 WA W4 D11 F17 D77 W66 W68 D20
24 Ryan J Moon 2188 GA L15 W84 W26 L41 W57 D21 W42
25 Christopher Heung 2168 FL L11 L4 W84 W87 W43 D45 W44

Here are my games.  I took a bye in the 3rd round to drink and gamble, making my effort a 6-rounder.

Round 1.

M. Ginsburg – S. Higgins (attended some Robby Adamson camps)

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 Nc6 3. d4 e6 4. a3 d6?! 5. Nc3 g6 6. d5! This move gives an edge in all lines. As black, I like to try the Tango a little differently:  in ICC blitz 4…g6!? 5. Nc3 Bg7 6. e4 d5!? is recommended with crazy Gruenfeld-like complications.  I haven’t looked up if that particular try has been seen OTB.

6…Ne7 7. e4 e5 8. c5! Bg7 9. Bb5+ Nd7 9..Bd7 is quite playable.

10. b4 The computer is quick to point out the logical 10. cxd6 cxd6 11. O-O O-O 12. Be3 f5 13. Ng5 but the text move is all right.

10… O-O 11. O-O h6 12. Bb2 f5 13. Bc4 Kh8 14. Rc1 Nf6 15. exf5?! Cleaner is 15. Nd2! with the possible line 15…f4 16. Be2 g5 17. cxd6 cxd6 18. Nb5 Ne8 19. Bh5!! (a fantastic move to gain c7) 19…Nf6 20. h3 a6 21. Nc7 Rb8 22. Be2 and white is dominating; he can choose when to play Ne6 with crushing effect.  This is exactly what white wants – a route to e6.

15… g5?!

Puzzle. White to play...

16. Re1? Very weak.  The computer points out the elementary tactic 16. h4! g4
17. Ng5! hxg5 18. hxg5 Bxf5 19. gxf6 Bxf6 with a big edge to white.  For whatever reason, I played my move fast, never bothering to look for anything.  A sign of first-round laziness?  At least I was well ahead on time at this point.  I had some vague notions of Bishop back to f1 and clearing the c-file.

16… Bxf5 17. Bf1 17. h3!? Ng6 18. Qb3 Qd7 19. c6!? bxc6 20. dxc6 Qxc6! 21. Bd5 Qe8 22. Bxa8 Qxa8 and black has good compensation.

17… Bg4 18. Be2 Bf5 19. Qb3 Ne8? No reason for this retreat. 19… g4 20. Nd2 h5 is all right.

20. Nd2 Ng6 21. Bf1?! A continuation of a second-best idea.  The obvious reflex denying the f4 square, 21. g3! gives white a pleasant edge.

21… Nf4 22. Nde4 Qe7 23. Nd1 Nothing wrong with the solid 23. f3! — the game move somehow works out after a pair of knights comes off the board.

23… Nf6 24. Nxf6 Rxf6 25. Ne3 Bd7? Now white breaks through and should be winning.  But since both players are in time trouble, black more than white, crazy adventures await.

26. cxd6 cxd6 27. Rc7 Qd8 28. Rec1 b6 29. Qc2 Rf8 30. g3! After the game, I thought this move was terrible giving black all kinds of chances, but it’s actually correct and the fastest win.

A more practical move is 30. Qe4 with domination.  Black can barely move.

30… Nh3+ 31. Bxh3 Bxh3 32. Qg6? A huge lemon.  Consistent is 32. g4! locking out the bishop on h3.   32. g4! Qf6 (note that 32… Rf4 is met by an unusually nice combination: 33. Qg6 Qf6 34. Rc8+ Rxc8 35. Rxc8+ Bf8 36. Qxf6+ Rxf6

Position after 36...Rxf6 (analysis)

37. Bxe5!! {Wow!} dxe5 38. d6 Rxd6 39. Rxf8+ Kh7 40. Rf3 and wins the errant bishop!

Returning to 32. g4 Qf6, 33. Nf5 Rg8 34. f3 h5 35. Qe4 and white has things under control and wins.

32… Qf6 My preliminary calculation had 32…Rg8 33. Qh5 “with the dual threat of Qxh3 and Rxh6 mating” — but the rook on c7 really cannot jump to h6 like that.  Also I hadn’t even noticed the game defense.

33. Qxf6 Rxf6 34. g4 Late, but still good.  Not as good, though.

34…Raf8 35. Nf5 Rg6?! A better try is 35… h5! 36. Rxg7 (The optically “nice” 36. R1c2 is insufficient due to a fantastic resource:  36… Bxg4 37. f4 (37. Nxd6 Kxg7 38. Bxe5 Kg6 39. Bxf6 Kxf6 40. Ne4+ Kf5 41. Nd2 Ke5 42. Rc7 Rc8! is equal) 37…Rxf5 38. Rcc7 Rc8!! {Wow!} 39. Rh7+ Kg8 40. Rcg7+ Kf8 41. Rd7 Kg8 and draw!

36. f3?! Another miscue.  The players have no time. Correct is the difficult 36. R1c6!! Bxg4 37. Nxd6 Bf3 (37… Kg8 38. Rxa7 Rf4 39. Rcc7 Bf8 40. Nc4 Bh3 41. Ne3 Re4 42. Rc6 and wins) 38. Nf7+ Kh7 39. Nxe5 Rxc6 40. Nxc6 Rg8 41. Bxg7 Rxg7 42. Ne7 and wins.  This is the kind of line that needs a little time to see.

36… h5! Very confusing.

37. Nxd6? White has become totally confused.  He should play 37. gxh5! Rgf6 38. Rxg7! forced — (38. Nxg7??  Rxf3  wins for black: 39. Nf5 R3xf5 40. Rc8 Rxc8 41. Rxc8+ Kh7 42. Rc1 Kh6 and wins) 38…Rxf5  (if 38…Bxf5 39. Rxa7 and white should win) 39. Rcc7! R8f6 {Forced.  But now comes an amazing combination:

40. Rh7+ Kg8 41. Rcg7+ Kf8 42. h6 Rf7 A good tactics puzzle now.  White to play and win.

Note in passing 42… Rxh6 43. Rxh6 Rxf3 44. Rxh3 Rxh3 45. Rxa7 and white wins.

White to play and win. Position after 42...Rf7 (analysis)

43. Bxe5!! {A great shot.} dxe5 (43… Rxf3 44. Rxf7+ Rxf7 45. Rxf7+ Kxf7 46. h7 wins) 44. d6 Rxf3 (44… Rxg7 45. hxg7+ Kg8 (45… Kf7 46. d7) 46. d7 A quite unusual combination hanging the rook and having black’s pieces blocked from the promotion by interference! 46…Kxh7 47. d8=Q Kxg7 48. Qd7+ Kg6 49. Qxa7 Rxf3 50. Qxb6+ Kf5 51. Qa6 and wins) 45. Rh8 mate!)

37… hxg4? Black only had seconds left. 37… Rxd6 38. Rxg7 Kxg7 39. Bxe5+ Rdf6 (or 39… Rff6 40. gxh5 Kf7 41. Bxd6 Rxd6 42. Rc7+ and white might draw) 40. gxh5 Kf7 41. Rc7+ Ke8 42. Bxf6 Rxf6 43. Kf2 with chances to draw.  That would be embarrassing indeed but at least white is not totally lost.

38. Nf7+ Kg8 39. Nxe5 Rgf6

Position after 39...Rgf6

40. Rxg7+! Nasty.  At least I saw this one on the last move of the time control. White wins now.

40…Kxg7 41. Nd7 The black bishop “sight” to d7 was blocked by the pawn on g4.

41…gxf3 42. Nxf6 Kg6 43. Kf2 1-0

It was very strange how the two behind the scenes combinations that occurred in the analysis both involved the star move Bxe5!!.

Stay tuned, I will post Rounds 2, 4, 5, and 7.

Round 2

FM E. Yanayt – M. Ginsburg

To prepare for my half-point bye in round 3, I had this virtually unplayed game in Round 2.

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 Bb4+ The best winning attempt here is 3…c5.

4. Bd2 Bxd2+ 5. Qxd2 d5 6. Nf3 Qe7 7. Bg2 O-O Somehow 7…Ne4 and then the Qe7-b4+  follow-up didn’t look very impressive.

8. O-O Rd8!

I have seen this line a lot (I was always white) in ICC blitz versus eastern-bloc GM’s.  It’s a very solid system.

9. Qc2 c5 10. cxd5 cxd4 11. Nxd4 Na6!? Seems good, with the idea to pop into b4.  The game is about even.

1/2 – 1/2

Round 3

During my bye-round, the following reversal of fortune occurred.

D. Naroditsky – GM S. Kidambi (2616)

Black may have been hexed in this game due to the fact I have never heard of him although he has a high rating.

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Nf3 Ngf6 6.Nxf6 Nxf6 7.Bc4 Bf5 8.O-O e6 9.c3 Bd6 10.Qe2 Qc7 11.h3 O-O 12.Nh4 c5 13.Nxf5 exf5 14.Bd3 g6 15.Bg5 Rfe8 16.Qd2 Ne4 17.Bxe4 fxe4 18.dxc5 Bxc5 19.Rad1 Re6 20.Be3 Rd6 21.Qe2 Bxe3 22.fxe3 Rad8 23.Rd4 Rxd4 24.cxd4 f5 25.Qd2 Rc8 26.Qb4 b6 27.Qb3 Kg7 28.Qe6 Rf8 29.Kh1 Rf6 30.Qe8 Rc6 31.d5 Rc2 32.Rd1 Qg3

This obvious move places white into an unbreakable zugzwang and it is hard to fathom that black did not win, much less lost.

33.Qe7 Kh6 34.Qf8 Kh5 35.Rg1 Rd2 36.Qf7 h6 37.b4

Black to play and avoid winning

Black is completely winning.  But, I am guessing he had not much time left.  Even so, what follows is a complete botchery.

37…Rxa2? Why? 37…a5 preserves the zugzwang situation.   The even simpler solution 37…Qxe3 was also completely winning.  White cannot make any threats.

38.d6 Rd2 39.d7 Qd6? Time-trouble? It was safe to play 39…Qxe3 and black should win.

40.Rf1? Maybe mutual time-trouble. 40. Qg7 was equal.  The text aims for a cheapo but should lose.

40…Qxd7?? OK probably time-trouble.  I was drinking and gambling at the Bellaggio and didn’t witness this debacle. 40…Kg5! eliminates all cheapoes and wins easily.

41.Rxf5+ Oops.  White wins.  Black must have felt sick, given he had iron-clad zugzwang a few moves ago.

41…Qxf5 42.g4+ How embarrassing.  Black totters on a few moves.

42…Kh4 43.gxf5 Kxh3 44.Qxg6 Rd1 45.Qg1 Rxg1 46.Kxg1 a5 47.bxa5 bxa5 48.f6 1-0

Round 4

M. Ginsburg – H. Liou  Dutch NIC SOS Special

1. d4 f5 2. Qd3 I saw this in a New in Chess “SOS” supplement; the game in question occurred in the “B” section of the German Bundesliga.

2…d6 As the NIC states, Leningrad players are reluctant to play the strongest move in the position, 2….d5.   Now, white gains enormous white square pressure with the game sequence.

3. g4 fxg4 4. h3 Nf6 5. hxg4 Bxg4 6. Bg5! Be6 This unhealthy retreat signals black already has problems.  White was threatening the crude Bxf6 and Qe4.

7. Nc3 c6 8. Bxf6 gxf6 I would prefer 8…exf6 to try to keep white’s plus to manageable proportions.

9. Rxh7 Rxh7 10. Qxh7 Qa5 11. Bh3 Bf7 12. O-O-O Na6 13. d5! This move cutoffs black’s queen from the kingside for the time being.

13…cxd5 14. Nf3 d4  15. Nxd4 Qh5 16. Qd3 Nb4 17. Qb5+ The smoke clears and white is left with a huge advantage due to light square control.  How many Dutch games have been lost due to black not being able to observe the squares he weakened on move 1?  I recommend readers get the tournament book San Antonio 1972 and read Petrosian’s comments to Petrosian-Larsen.

17…Qxb5 18. Ncxb5 Kd8 19. Ne6+ Bxe6 20. Bxe6 Black is now totally paralyzed.

20…a6 21. Nc3 Bh6+? Making matters worse, but it was very bad anyway.  The ill-fated bishop gets trapped shortly.

22. e3 Kc7 23. a3 Nc6 24. Nd5+ Kb8 25. Nb6 A complete rout. I would resign as black now.

25…Ra7 26. Rh1 Nd8 27. Bb3 Bg5 28. f4 Kc7 29. fxg5 fxg5 30. Rh8 e6 31. Nc4 d5 32. Rh7+ Kc6 33. Ne5+ Kd6 34. Nf7+ Nxf7 35. Rxf7 Ke5 36. Kd2 Ra8 37. Rg7 Kf6 38. Rxb7 g4 39. Ke2 Kg5 40. e4 Rd8 41. exd5 exd5 42. Ke3 Re8+ 43. Kd4 g3 44. Bxd5 Kf6 45. Rb3 1-0

Round 5

I could not overcome the solid Hungarian I. Somogyi!

I. Somogyi – M. Ginsburg  King’s Indian g3 line

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. g3 O-O 5. Bg2 d6 6. Nf3 c6
7. O-O Bf5
As successfully played in Schroer-Benjamin, USCL 2009.  White in my game plays more strongly.

8. Nh4! Be6 9. d5! Bd7 10. e4 Na6 11. h3 cxd5 12. cxd5 Nc5 13. Be3 Qa5
14. Rb1 Na4!
Keeping the balance.

15. Nxa4 Bxa4 16. b3 Bb5 17. Re1 Qa3 18. Qd2 Rac8 19. Bd4 Nd7 20.
Bxg7 Kxg7 21. Nf3 Ne5!
Still equal.

22. Nxe5

Black survives the dangerous attempt 22. Nd4!? Ba6 23. Qg5!? Rce8! (23…Rc7 is all right is black is careful: 24. Nf5+ Kh8 25. Nxe7 f6 26. Qh6 Rf7? 27. Rbc1! wins nicely – I saw that during the game; but 26…Re8 holds) 26…24. Nf5+ Kh8 25. Nxe7 f6 26. Qh6 Rf7 27. f4 Rfxe7 28. fxe5 fxe5)

22… dxe5 23. Rbc1 f6 24. h4 Bd7 25. Kh2 Qd6 26. Rxc8 Rxc8 27. Rc1 e6? Careless.  Correct is 27… Rxc1! 28. Qxc1 e6 =

28. Rxc8 Bxc8 29. Qc3? 29. Bh3! sets a great trap.  If 29…Bd7? (correct is 29… b6! 30. Qd3 Qc5 31. Kg2 exd5 32. Bxc8 Qxc8 33. exd5 Kf7 34. h5 =) 30. Qa5! and black has big problems.  If 30… exd5? (30… Qb6 31. Qxb6 axb6 32. dxe6 Bc6 33. f3 Kf8 34. Kg1 Ke7 35. Kf2 is very good for white as black cannot round up the e6 pawn) 31. Qd8 suddenly wins!

29… Bd7 30. dxe6 Bxe6 31. Bh3 Bf7 32. Bf1 Be6 33. Bh3 1/2-1/2

Round 6

Interestingly, in othe Round 6 action, Friedel played what appeared to many to be a ludicrous variation of the 2 Knights – but it worked and his opponent, NM Zierk, blundered and lost.  I have posted elsewhere on this opening (2 Knights “Ulvestad”); it looks very bad for black and I think its days are numbered.

M. Ginsburg – FM J. Dean          Main line Tarrasch Defense

1. Nf3 d5 2. c4 e6 3. g3 Nf6 4. Bg2 Be7 5. O-O c5 6. cxd5 exd5 7. d4 Nc6 8. Nc3 O-O 9. Bg5 cxd4 10. Nxd4 h6 11. Be3 Re8 12. Qb3!

GM Portisch Special

GM Lajos Portisch’s excellent treatment, I believe covered in one of Kasparov’s My Great Predecessors volumes.  When the Queen is chased by the knight, the knight winds up not having a happy home.  Similarly, if the black knight on f6 chases the B/e3, it also does not have a happy home after the bishop moves away.

12…Na5 13. Qc2 Nc4 14. Bf4 White looks better here.  The Black knight on c4 is very unstable and that is one of the my points of 12. Qb3.

14…Be6 15. Rad1 Qc8 Black has problems.  The most normal move, 15… Rc8 16. Nxe6 fxe6 17. Qg6 Kh8 18. b3! Nd6 19. Be5 leaves white with a simple plus.

16. Nxe6 fxe6 17. e4? A big lemon! It’s always right to kick the advanced knight with 17. b3! (obvious) 17… Nd6 18. Rc1 Rf8 19. Qd3 Qe8 20. Rfd1 Rc8 21. e4 Ndxe4 22. Nxe4 dxe4 23. Bxe4 and white is much better.

17… e5! This move completely escaped my attention.  White is still better, but not as much.
18. Bc1 d4 19. Nd5 Nd6 20. Qd3? Another significant inaccuracy.  20. Qb3!   Nc4 and only NOW 21. Qd3 leaves white with a plus.

20… Nxd5 21. exd5 Bf6! I totally bothced it. Black is fine.  The center pawns are mobile.  Black’s only problem is a severe lack of time.

22. Qg6? Practically speaking with black having less time, white should play 22. Rfe1 Qd7 23. Bd2 Rac8  but of course Black is all right.

22… Qf5! 23. Qxf5 Nxf5 24. Be4 Nd6 25. Bg6 Re7 26. Rfe1 e4?? Any reasonable queen rook move is equal.  Unfortunately, black was in severe time trouble already. This move loses a pawn and the game.

27. Bf4 Be5 27…Rd8 28. Bxd6 loses for black in the long run.  Although there are bishops of opposite colors, too much material remains.  It’s similar to Yermolinsky-Naroditsky North American Open 2009 except there white fell into a last-ditch stalemate trick and Naroditsky saved it!

28. Bxe5 Rxe5 29. Rxd4 Rd8 30. Bxe4 Nxe4 31. Rexe4 Black has no chances in the single rook ending.

31…Rxe4 32. Rxe4 Rxd5 33. Re7 Rb5 34. b3 a5 35. Kg2 a4 36. bxa4 Rb4 37. a5 Rb5 38. Re8+ Kh7 39. Ra8 Rb2 40. a6 Black resigned.

1-0

The move 40. a4! also wins: 40…Ra2 41. a6 b6 42. Rb8 Rxa4 43. Rxb6 and wins.

In the game, black can try a last-gasp 40… b5! move.  Suggested by Siddharth Ravichandran (rating=2489) after the game as drawing – and indeed this is a great try!

40...b5! - Suggested by kibitzer Ravichandran

There is only a study-like refutation: 41. a4!! – only after he suggested 40…b5 (which I did not see in the game) did I notice this move which is a nice interference theme, and white wins.

Position after 41. a4!! - nice interference theme. (analysis)

Also in Round 6, this amusing error-fest:

Zierk – Friedel   2 Knights, Refuted Silly Ulvestad Line

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 I would pay more attention to Karpov’s legendary logic here and try 3…Bc5.

4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 b5(?) Very illogical!  Good in the 1800s, maybe.

6.Bf1 h6 (might as well, 6…Nd4 leads to a bad game too)  7.Nf3?

I don’t want to be a wet blanket, but the fairly obvious 7. Nxf7! results in a big edge for white. This was shown in other examples recently.  At least black is not playing the refuted mainline with 6…Nd4.

7…Qxd5 8.Nc3 Qe6 9.Bxb5 Bb7 10.O-O O-O-O 11.Re1 Bc5 12.Qe2 Nd4 13.Nxd4 Bxd4 14.Nd1 Nd5 15.Bc4 Qg6 16.Bxd5 Bxd5 17.Ne3 Bxe3 18.fxe3 Qxc2 19.d4 Qe4 20.b3 Rhe8 21.Bb2 Re6 22.Qd2 Bb7 23.Rac1 Rdd6 24.Rf1 Rf6 25.Rfe1 Rc6 26.dxe5 Rxc1 27.Bxc1 Rg6 28.Re2 Rc6 29.e6 Rxe6 30.Qc2 Rc6 31.Qb2 Qd3 32.Rf2 Ba6 33.Bd2 Rc2 34.Qd4 Rxd2 0-1

Round 7

Lev Milman – M. Ginsburg  Sicilian Scheveningen

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 6. Be2 Be7 7. Be3 O-O 8.
O-O Nc6 9. f4 Bd7
A rare sideline.

10. Qe1 Conventional thinking has 10. Nb3, avoiding exchanges, as white’s best bet.

10…Nxd4 11. Bxd4 Bc6 12. Qg3 g6 13. Qe3 Qa5 Black is threatening  is all right.

14. e5 dxe5 15. fxe5 Nd5 16. Nxd5 Qxd5 17. Bf3 Qc4? 17… Qb5 is more accurate. 18. a4 Qb4 19. Bxc6 bxc6 20. b3 c5 21. Bc3 Qb7 and black has equal chances.

18. b3 Qa6 19. c4 Qa3 20. Kh1 Kg7 21. Rf2 21. Bxc6 bxc6 22. Qe4! places black in a passive situation.

21… h6 Here, best was 21… a5! with equal chances.

22. Bxc6 bxc6 23. Raf1 Rad8? With a draw offer.  But this move is a blunder.

24. g3? A blunder in return.   Surprisingly, white can take.  24. Bxa7! c5 25. Bb6 Rd7 and now the amazing resource 26. Rf3 Rb7 27. Qf2!! and wins.  The f7-point collapses.

24… Bg5 25. Qe4 h5 26. Bc3?! White can preserve something with 26. Rf3 Rd7 (26… Qxa2?? 27. Bc5! winning) 27. Bg1)

26… Qc5 27. b4 Qe3! Judging from white’s reaction, he might have missed this.

28. Qxe3 Bxe3 29. Rf3 Bd4 30. b5! With a draw offer.

When I made my 29th move, I thought black was much better because of the white weak pawns.  However, white’s 30th generates plenty of activity and it’s in fact equal!

For example, 30…Bxc3 (30… cxb5 31. cxb5 Rd5 32. Bb4!) 31. Rxc3 cxb5 (31… Rc8 32. a4) 32. cxb5 Rd5 33. a4 Rd4 34. Rf4! =.

1/2 – 1/2

Tournament Postscript – The Cheater’s Clock Gambit

For completeness, here is amusing cheating I heard about in the skittles room.  In a lower section, someone had 28 minutes left versus 28 seconds left in sudden death in a complicated position.  The person with 28 seconds left simply pressed the clock without making a move.  Rattled, the person with 28 minutes left upon returning to the board assumed the guy with 28 seconds left had made some kind of move and made a move in return.  The guy with 28 seconds left then called the TD and said “I get 2 more minutes on my clock because he made 2 moves in a row.”  In the absence of witnesses, the TD upheld this ludicrous “gambit”.  The guy with 28 seconds left got 2 more minutes on his clock and that was enough for him to win the game.  This kind of stuff can only happen in American Swisses.  Why is that?   Well, that’s not strictly true.  After all,  a many time US Champion did exactly the same thing in a US Championship round-robin invitational. But we won’t get into that.

The Fabulous 00s: Spassky takes on Korchnoi again

December 24, 2009

Spassky – Korchnoi Redux

In Elista 2009 we have Boris Spassky playing a match with Viktor Korchnoi… again.

The two were on very bad terms in their Candidates match contested in the Belgrade 1977.  Time and again, Spassky would try to overcome Korchnoi’s French Winawer with overall poor results (for example this reverse). Spassky would retire to the back stage or turn his back on the board and watch on a big projector between moves (shades of Kramnik-Topalov!).  I would also become crabby confronted with endless French Defenses. I presume things are not so icy now.

One of their 2009 match games was especially interesting for a wild tactical line that remained behind the scenes – in fact, quite far behind the scenes, but so unique tactically we have to present it.  Thanks to GM Alex Baburin’s timely Chess Today bulletins for rapidly bringing this game to my attention!  Note the duo’s strangely depressed ELO ratings – tempus fugit!

Elista Match  Game 5   12/24/09

Viktor Korchnoi (2567) – Boris Spassky (2548).

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. a3 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. Qc2 Be7 7. e3 a6 8. Bc4
Nb6 9. Bd3 Qd7 N  10. b3
(10. O-O! f5 11. b4 e4 12. Nxe4! fxe4 13. Bxe4 with equal chances)

10… f5 11. e4?

Again, 11.  O-O! e4 12. Nxe4 fxe4 13. Bxe4 with equal chances.  Here is precisely where the incredible tactics lie, if we carry out a little.

13…Bf6 14. Bb2 Bxb2 15. Qxb2 O-O 16. Rac1
Qe7 17. Qc2 Be6 18. Bxh7+ Kh8 19. Be4 Bxb3 20. Qxb3 Qxe4 21. Rc5 Qg6 22. Ng5
Rf5 23. Rxf5 Qxf5 24. f4 Rf8 25. Rf3 Na5 26. Qc3 Nac4 27. e4 Qc5+ 28. d4 Qc6
29. f5 Kg8 30. Rg3 Qa4 31. Ne6 Rf7 32. Nxg7!!
and here we are starting the amazing adventure.  Yes, it’s a little far afield, but it has incredible fantasy value.  Take a look.

Position after 32. Nxg7 (analysis)

Black’s king is thoroughly denuded, but his remaining pieces are quite active.

This is just the start of the adventure.  Play proceeds 32…Rxg7 33. f6 Qd1+ 34. Kf2 Rg4!
Only move!

Not, of course, 34… Rxg3?? 35. Qxg3+ Kf7 36. Qg7+ Ke6 37. Qe7 mate.

Continuing, white has the delightful 35. h3! which in fact is the only move for white.  All these only moves for both sides mean the position is a real tightrope act.

Now we get to another great position!

Position after 35. h3! (only move) - Analysis

Now, black has two moves!    See if you can spot them both.

The first is 35…Nd2.

The second, more spectacular and good on shock value alone, is 35…Nd5!!  – by some perverse “logic of chess”, both moves turn out to have equal value.

Let’s look at the second move.

35… Nd5!! 36. Qxc4? (This is a blunder.  Correct is 36. exd5! Nd6! {Only move!  But now white faces a difficult problem!} 37. Qe3!! Only move for a draw!} Qc2+ 38. Kg1 Rg6 39. Qe6+ Kf8 40. Qe7+ Kg8 41. Qd8+ Kf7 42. Qd7+ Kf8 (42… Kxf6 $4 43. Rf3+ Kg5 44. Qd8+ Kh5 45. Qh8+ Rh6 46. g4+ Kg5 47. Qd8+ Kg6 48. Qg8 mate) 43. Rxg6 equal, or 43. Qe7+ Kg8 44. Qd8+ {Perpetual check})

Finishing the faulty 36. Qxc4?, that move is met by 36… Qd2+! 37. Kf1 Rxg3 38. Qxd5+ Kh7 39. Qf7+ Kh6 40. Qf8+ Kh5 41. Qf7+ Rg6 42. Qh7+ Qh6 and black wins.  So, in conclusion, 35…Nd5!! 36. exd5 Nd6 draws.

Now let’s go to the other, more conventional defense.  It leads to very wild situations!

35…Nd2 36. f7+ Kh7!

Position after 36...Kh7! (Analysis) - more craziness!

This surprising king move is the only move, once again, but an amazing resource!  Black must avoid the blunder 36… Kxf7?? 37. Qxc7+ Ke8 38. Qe5+ Kd8 39. Rxg4 Qf1+ 40. Kg3 Qe1+ 41. Kf4 Qf2+ 42. Kg5 and white should score the full point.

37. Rxg4! This leads to a draw.  Curiously, once again, it’s an only move.  Not the optically tempting underpromotion 37. f8=N+?! Kg8 38. Rxg4+ Qxg4 39. Qxd2 Qh4+ 40. Kf3 Qf6+ 41. Qf4 Qxf4+ 42. Kxf4 Kxf8 and black is clearly better.

37… Qf1+ 38. Kg3 Qe1+ 39. Kf4 Qxe4+ 40. Kg3!   Once again, an only move!. If 40. Kg5??, well that move is too frisky, and black wins:  40…Qe7+ 41. Kh5 Qxf7+ 42. Kh4 Qf6+ 43. Kg3 (43. Rg5 Qxg5+! 44. Kxg5 Ne4+ and wins) 43… Nf1 mate!

And we conclude this amazing variation with the prosaic

40..Qe1+ 41. Kh2 Nf1+ 42. Kg1 Nd2+ 43. Kh2 Nf1+ {perpetual check draw})  Wow!

Unfortunately, after the game’s lame 11. e4? move, the game concluded quickly in black’s favor:

11… g5! 12. exf5 g4 13. Nxe5 Nxe5 14. Be4 Nc6 15. Ne2 Bf6 16. Rb1 Qd6 17. h3 gxh3 18. Rxh3 Bd7 19. Rd3 Qf8 20. Bxc6 Bxc6 21. Re3+ Kd7 22. Bb2 Nd5 23. Qd3 Bxb2 24. Rxb2 Qxa3 25. Rc2 Rae8 26. Qd4 Kc8 0-1

Match Postscript

The two titans of chess history wound up battling to a draw in the Elista 2009 match.  I suddenly remembered a Spassky interview I had read somewhere.  Readers, I need help with its time and place.  I am also paraphrasing, and need the actual interview text.  Somebody asked Spassky to assess Korchnoi’s strengths and weaknesses.

Spassky said something like this: “Strengths:  encyclopedic opening knowledge, ruthless fighter, fierce uncompromising will to win, flawless endgame technique.  Weakness: no talent.”  It drew quite a snicker from us humor-loving fans.

A Nice Ending

This ending has occurred twice in the last two weeks!  The first, a OTB encounter between GMs.  The second…

Kuzmicz (2415) – Musialkiewicz (2147) Amplico Lite Rapid (6) 12/19/09

Position after 76…Bg3

White to play and win

In the game, white played 77. Rb5? Kf8 and now there’s no way to prevent Kf8-e8 with a draw.  Once black’s king has freedom on the queenside squares, it is still just close enough to run back and stop the h-pawn when white goes for the Rxg3 idea.

The correct line is very nice.

77. Rf5! Bh2 78. Rd5! Kf8 79. Rd4 Bg3 80. Re4! with a winning zugzwang; black must give up the h-pawn and the game.

The Fabulous 00s: The London Chess Classic

December 10, 2009

Round 3: When a Badass is not True to Himself

Amusing stuff in today’s Round 3 action.

GM Howell played an absurdly passive line in a 2. c3 Sicilian (7. dxc5?, donating his entire structure to Carlsen in a dreary queenless middlegame) and was incredibly fortunate as Magnus blitzed past several easy wins, when solid material up, perhaps simply thinking anything at all wins.  Magnus must still be kicking himself about bypassing 52…Ra2+ which wins white’s knight.

But the amusing thing is that Howell’s wussy opening contrasts very sharply with Howell’s most famous exploit to date: coldcocking an Irish TD and laying him out flat!  (They were quibbling over a few lousy British pounds).  That qualifies him for the chess version of the book “Badass”!

No More 2. c3, Badass Howell!

In another shocking moment, McShane appears to have forgotten entirely about a simple opening shot by Kramnik (…Bxf2+) and lost very lamely.

I have noticed British Grandmasters, once in a while, do lose like this as white.  A famous debacle Short-Timman comes to mind in a 1993 Candidates Match.  Although Short crushed Timman overall in the match, there was one game as white in which, well, McShane would know all about it.

And in Cinematic News: Tiger Woods is Living this Movie

The Seventh Seal (Swedish: Det sjunde inseglet) is a 1957 Swedishdrama film directed by Ingmar Bergman, about the journey of a medieval knight (Max von Sydow) across a plague-ridden landscape, and a monumental game of chess between himself and the personification of Death, who has come to take his life. Bergman developed the film from his own play Wood Painting. The title refers to a passage from the Book of Revelation, used both at the very start of the film, and again towards the end, beginning with the words “And when the Lamb had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour” (Revelation[1] 8:1). Here the motif of silence refers to the “silence of God” which is a major theme of the film.

The film is considered a major classic of world cinema. It helped Bergman to establish himself as a world-renowned director and contains scenes which have become iconic through parodies and homages.

Readers, can you see what I see in the above passage?  That’s right, Tiger Woods is living his own hellish version of the movie, trapped in a mansion with an icy Swedish supermodel and… her mother!  Every day brings the most brutal kind of melodrama (Swedish melodrama) to Tiger’s beleaguered existence.  Expect more car crashes, to be followed by ATV crashes, helicopter crashes, and deep sea submersible crashes, all emanating from this Ground Zero of frosty Swedish hell, Orlando, Florida.

In the middle of the night, Death comes. Chess, anyone?

The Famous Tiger Woods SUV Accident Staged in Lego

Tiger Crashes his SUV in Midst of Swedish Maelstrom

This Tiger Woods stuff is the best news since Gormally punched Aronian.