Archive for the ‘Modern Defense’ Category

The Fabulous 90s: From the Vaults – San Francisco 1999 Dake Memorial

August 22, 2009

The Arthur Dake Memorial was a 9 round invitational held at the venerable Mechanics Institute Chess Club in downtown San Francisco (Post Street, visit it at some point!).  I think I tied for 2nd by defeating NM Lobo in the last round.  My only loss was to IM Guillermo Rey. Here is a miraculous escape versus Vinay Bhat, who scored an IM norm in this event.  I believe Jesse Kraii did as well and also Omar Cartagena.  Most of the games were contested in the main room, but former US Champion John Grefe and I played our game in a drafty back room for some reason.

[Event “Arthur Dake Int”]
[Site “San Francisco”]
[Date “1999.07.14”]
[Round “4”]
[White “Bhat, Vinay S”]
[Black “Ginsburg, Mark”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[ECO “B06”]

[WhiteElo “2388”]
[BlackElo “2381”]

1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. Be3 a6!? 5. a4 Nc6 I don’t think 5. a4 is the most testing move.  Black is all right now. In fact, I equalized quickly with this line vs Ben Finegold, Brugges Belgium 1990.  Queenside castling is out for white.

6. h3 Nf6 7. g3 e5 8. Nge2 d5! How dynamic and natural enough versus white’s slow buildup!  It’s still about equal.

The Center Blows Up

The Center Blows Up

9. dxe5 Nxe5 10. Bg2 Nc4 11. Bd4 The line 11. Bg5 h6 12. Bxf6 Bxf6 13. b3 d4! 14. bxc4 dxc3 15. Qxd8+ Bxd8 seems OK for black.

11… dxe4 But here black had a serious choice.  Probably safer is 11… Nxb2! 12. Qb1 Nc4 13. exd5 O-O and black is solid.

12. Nxe4 O-O 13. Nc5 Qe7 14. O-O Rd8 15. Nd3! I really missed most of white’s regroupings in this phase of the game and my opponent got control of all the key squares.

15..Ne4? A huge lemon.  If black develops with 15… Bf5! 16. b3 Na5 17. Re1 he should be able to hold.

16. Bxg7 Kxg7 17. Nef4! Totally missed by me.

17…Nc5? Flustered, I make an even worse mistake.  Required was 17… Nf6 18. Re1 Qd6 19. Qc1! and white has a big plus.

18. Nd5 Qd6 19. Nxc5 Qxc5 20. b4! I can resign!  From a good position on move 8 to this?  Boo.

20…Qd6 21. Qd4+ Qe5 22. Qxc4 Be6 It is blind luck that I’m not losing a piece.

23. Qxc7 Rxd5 24. Qxb7 Rb8 25. Qxa6? White is somewhat short of time and I start to get rays of hope.  Very pretty was the decisive tactical blow 25. Rae1!! Rxb7 26. Rxe5 Rxe5 27. Bxb7 Bxh3 28. Rd1 Bf5 29. c4 Bc2 30. Rd6 Bxa4 31. Rxa6 and white wins.

25… Rd6 26. Qa5 Qxa5 27. bxa5 Ra6 28. Rfb1 Rxb1+ 29. Rxb1 Rxa5 30. Rb4 Rc5 31. Rb2 It’s also hard work after 31. Bf1 Rxc2 32. a5 Ra2 33. a6 Bd5 34. Rb5 Bf3 35. Rb1 Kf6; black always has activity.  The shot missed on move 25 looms large.

31… Ra5 32. Bc6 Rc5 33. Bb5 Bxh3 34. a5 Rc3 35. a6 Be6 36. Bd3 Ra3 37. Kf1 h5 38. Ke1 More accurate is 38. Ke2.  The position is very easy for black to play and for white, without much time, it’s not a lot of fun.  But on move 39 (see the note) white could have gotten back on track.

38… g5 39. Rb6?! The computer likes the aesthetic 39. Rb4 Kf6 40. f4! gxf4 41. Rxf4+ Ke5 42. Rb4 and white has clarified the kingside and should be winning without too many problems.

39… h4! Of course.  Who knows how real it is, but it is counterplay.

40. gxh4 gxh4 This pawn looks scary so the players agreed to a draw here.  The position is a hard slog.  For example, 41. Kf1 Kf6 42.
Kg1 Ra1+ 43. Kh2 Kg5 44. Kg2 Bd5+ 45. f3 Kf4 46. Kf2 h3 47. Rb4+ Ke5 48. f4+ Kd6 49. Kg3 Rh1 50. Ra4 Ba8 51. a7 h2 52. Bc4 Rf1 53. Kxh2 Rxf4 and it’s still work.


International Quiz

The Return of Polugaevsky

A recent e-mail banter exchange.

The query:
dewaynepittman wrote:
I am SSG Dewayne Pittman, an active American soldier serving in Iraq, I am serving in the military of the 1st Armored Division in Iraq, as our mission here is highly exclusive due to insurgents everyday and car bombs are attacking our peaceful mission here. We managed to secure funds from the war zone. The total amount is US$ 9 Million dollars in cash.

We want to move this money out of this place,this place is a war zone, so that you may keep our share for us till when we will come over to meet you.We will take 70%, my partner and I.You take 30%. No strings attached, just help us move it out of Iraq, Iraq is a war zone. We plan on using diplomatic courier and shipping the money out in a large box, using diplomatic immunity.

If you are interested I will send you the full details, my job is to find a good partner that we can trust and that will assist us. Can I trust you? When you receive this letter, kindly send me an e-mail signifying your interest including your most confidential telephone/fax numbers for quick communication also your contact details.

This business is risk free. The box can be shipped out in 48hrs if you want to handle the deal with us as brothers.

SSG Dewayne Pittman

The response:

Sounds great.

I am Lev Polugaevsky and I watched as Soviet tanks rolled into Afghanistan.   The next move is yours, mein Freund.

Stay tuned — let’s see if we can catch some bait with this lure.

The Fabulous 00s: Some Interesting Modern/Pirc Games

October 23, 2007

The Modern Defense with an early a6!? is a tricky beast. I first tried it versus William Costigan (one of the Costigan brothers) in the 1970’s. I next had success versus Patrick Wolff in the 1980’s (although that game transposed into a strange Pirc, because black after some delay placed his KN on f6). It’s always had pleasant memories.

In this installment, first off we have a battle from Copenhagen, Denmark (Politiken Cup, 2000). The opening choice proves perfect against an impatient and over-aggressive handler of the white pieces.

NM Jorgen Hvenekilde – IM Mark Ginsburg

Politiken Cup 2000, Round 5 Modern Defense

1. d4 g6 2. e4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. Be3 a6!? This move is approved in GM Tiger Hillarp-Person’s “Tiger’s Modern” treatise on the Modern Defense.

Here is Tiger pictured at the Rilton Cup, January 1994 (cover of Swedish Schacknytt chess magazine). I apologize for the Photo Editor effects that I applied.



After this psychedelic tidbit, let’s get back to the merits of the opening. I like the snake-like pawn structure. It is challenged in modern times by a quick f2-f4 and e4-e5, but even that treatment is probably not the final word. This sytem for black, as ex-CIS chess commentators like to say, “has the right to exist”.



5. Qd2 b5 6. O-O-O Bb7 7. f3 The wing thrust 7. h4!? is interesting.

7…Nd7 8. g4?! The developing 8. Nh3!? comes into consideration. I don’t like these early, non-developing, pawn moves.

8…c5 9. Nge2 Rc8 10. h4 b4! Clearly white has played inaccurately because already black is more comfortable.

11. Nb1 Ngf6!? The cat and mouse maneuver 11…Qa5!? 12. a3 Qc7!? is interesting. The text prepares a speculative sacrifice.

12. h5


12…Nxe4! Having said “A”, black has to say “B”. The situation is quite unclear but in practical play black’s chances must be rated more highly.

13. fxe4 Bxe4 14. Rh2 Bxc2! 15. Re1?? A gross blunder. White must play 15. Qxc2 cxd4 16. Nxd4 Rxc2+ 17. Rxc2 with counter-chances.

15…Be4?? A blunder in reply. Black wins with the obvious 15…cxd4 16. Nxd4 Ba4+ 17. Nc3 bxc3 18. bxc3 Qa5. I must have overlooked something very simple at this stage.

16. d5! Of course. White prevents the opening of the c-file and should turn the tables.

16…Qa5 17. Ng3 Bf3 18. Bh6? 18. Bf4! is correct with a big plus.

18…Be5 19. Rxe5! dxe5 White’s counter-sacrifice clarifies the situation and it’s about equal.

20. Be2? Yet another blunder. 20. d6! is OK for white and so is 20. hxg6 hxg6 21. Bg5.

20…Bxe2 21.Rxe2 Qxa2 Now black is simply winning.

22. Ne4 Qc4+ 23. Kd1 If 23. Qc2 Qxc2+ 24. Kxc2, black has the crushing 24…Rg8! and wins.

23… f5! 24. gxf5 gxf5 25. Ng5 Rg8! A perfect square. White has no moves left.

26. Rf2 Nf6 27. Qe2 Qxd5+ 28. Nd2 c4 29. Rxf5 c3 30. bxc3 bxc3


Moving ahead a few years, here’s an exciting Modern Defense Game from the North American Open, December 2003, Las Vegas. This game was featured in the online games collection as a “Game of the Week” and drew a lot of commentary.

J. Shahade- M. Ginsburg Las Vegas 2003

1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. Nf3 a6!? 5. a4?! White has fallen into an opening trap with this reflexive reaction. Correct is to ignore black with 5. Be2.

5…Bg4 Now black has no problems at all.

6. Be3 Nc6 7. Be2 e5 8. d5 Ben Finegold played 8. dxe5 and got nothing vs me in Belgium, 1989, and a draw was quickly agreed. It’s really handy that the move pair …a6 and a2-a4 are in for black, because the important b5 square is denied to white’s minor pieces. This is a very important point.

8…Bxf3 9. Bxf3 Nce7 In Svidler-Manion, NY 1995, black played 8….Nce7 and on 9. h3 he played 9…Bd7?! (he could have played 9….Bxf3(!)). Svidler won that game. My 8th move gets rid of the WN immediately. Often times, when black breaks with f7-f5, he has to worry about a knight leap Nf3-g5 so there is definitely something to be said for getting rid of the horse.

10. Be2 f5 11. f3 Bh6! Positionally well motivated to get this bishop onto an active diagonal.

12. Bf2 Nf6 13. O-O O-O 14. a5 Nh5 15. Re1 Kh8 16. b4 Ng8 17. Rb1 Nf4 18. Bf1 Nf6 19. Be3 White’s play looks slow but it has purpose. The game is very double-edged.

19…fxe4 20. g3 g5!? Speculative. But otherwise the white bishop arrives unimpeded on h3 and black will be suffering.


21. fxe4 Qd7 22. gxf4! It is correct to accept this sacrifice.

22…gxf4 23. Bf2? But now white goes wrong. Correct is 23. Bc1! and the impassive computer rates black’s compensation as insufficient. I had missed this retreat during the game.


This is exactly the variation I expected; the pawn wedge really ties white up since 23. Qxf3? Ng4 is impossible. Black can calmly bring pieces over and the attack is too strong. So white’s 23rd was really the big turning point. This game is a good example of how a human can drastically over-rate chances.

24. Kh1 Qg4 25. Qd3 Qh5 26. Nd1 Ng4 27. h3 Rf7 28. c4 Rg8 With every piece participating, black piles on for a mating attack.

29. Rb2 Nxf2+ 30. Rxf2 Rfg7 31. Rxf3 Rg1+ 32. Kh2 Qg6 White resigned.



There is no stopping one of the dual mate threats, for example the primitive 33…Qg2+ 34. Bxg2 R8xg2 mate or the clearance 33…Rh1+ 34. Kxh1 Qg1 mate.

View PGN

The next game is along the same lines, except I don’t need a speculative piece sacrifice – instead I make a pseudo-sacrifice of the exchange in a situation where I have all the positional trumps. It shows exactly why this system is a perplexing good weapon — if white just drifts along, black can achieve his strategic aims and expand all over the board.

K. Stancil – M. Ginsburg World Open 2004

1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. Be3 a6 5. Be2 b5 6. Qd2 Bb7 7. f3 Nd7!?

Preparing …c7-c5. Again, I refer readers to GM Tiger Hillarp-Persson’s interesting book “Tiger’s Modern” for more details on this provocative treatment. It’s ideal in situations where only a win will do as black.

8. Nh3 c5 9. Nd1?! Clearly, once a move like this occurs black has no problems. But it’s another thing entirely to win a chess game – further progress is needed.


9…cxd4 10. Bxd4 Ngf6 11. O-O O-O 12. a4 Bc6 13. a5 Qc7 14. Bd3 Rfe8 15. Kh1 Qb7 16. Ndf2 e5! Exactly right. Black achieves the lion’s share of the center.

17. Be3 Rad8 18. Bg5 Nc5 19. Ng4 White forces black to play a good move.


19…Nxg4! An obvious “sacrifice” to increase my advantage. White plays to give back the exchange; personally I would have tried to hold onto it just to put up some kind of fight.

20. Bxd8 Nxh2?! Stronger is 20…Rxd8 21. fxg4 d5! with initiative.

21. Bb6? Very bad. White had to play 21. Kxh2 Rxd8 22. Qe3 and hunker down.

21…Nxf1 22. Bxf1 Na4 23. Be3 Nxb2 24. Rb1 Na4 25. Qxd6 Qd7 26. Qb4 Bf8 27. Qe1 Nc5 28. Rd1 Qc7 29. Qf2 Ne6 30. Qh4? White should have kept the a5 pawn with 30. Bb6 but it was a very bad position after 30..Qb7.

30…Qxa5 White is material down with a worse position as well.

31. Nf2 h5! 32. g4 Qc3 33. Rd3 Qe1


White could have given up here. It’s horrific. Look at the f4 square beckoning to black’s knight.

34. Qh3 Nf4 35. Bxf4 exf4 36. Qg2 Bc5 With both sides in time trouble, black’s moves come very easily and he develops a crushing initiative.

37. Nh3 hxg4 38. Nxf4 gxf3 39. Qh3 Qxe4 In time trouble, black misses the mating move 39..Qf2! and finis.

40. Nxg6 Qxg6 With the time control made, white resigned.

View PGN

Finally here is a World Open 2005 game vs Felix Movilla.

Felix Movilla (2301) – IM Mark Ginsburg World Open 2005

1. d4 g6 2. e4 Bg7 3. h3?! c5 4. c3 cxd4 5. cxd4 Qb6 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. e5 d6 Possible is 7… f6 8. Nc3 (8. exf6 Nxf6 9. Nc3 d5 10. Be2 Ne4 11. O-O Be6) 8…fxe5 9. dxe5 Nxe5 10. Be2 e6 11. O-O Ne7 and black stands well. Also possible is 7… Nh6!? 8. Na3 O-O 9. Nc4 Qc7 10. Bf4 d5 11. exd6 exd6 12. Bxd6 Re8+ 13. Be2 Qd8 with interesting play.

8. Nc3 dxe5 9. dxe5 Nxe5 10. Nxe5 White can also play 10. Bb5+ Bd7 11. Bxd7+ Nxd7 12. O-O Bxc3 13. bxc3 Ngf6 14. Ba3 Ne4 15. Rb1 Qc6 16. Re1 Nec5 and black is holding.

10… Bxe5 11. Bb5+ Kf8 12. Qe2 Bxc3+ Black can try to keep this bishop with 12… Qc7 13. O-O Kg7 14. Be3 (14. Nd5 Qd6 15. Rd1 Nf6 leads nowhere for white) 14… Nf6 and black is OK.

13. bxc3 Be6 14. Be3 Qc7 15. O-O h5 16. Bd4 Nf6 17. Bd3 h4 18. f4? More sensible is 18. Qe3 Nd5 (18… Rh5 19. Bxg6 Nd5 20.Qe4 Rh6 21. Bf5 Bxf5 22. Qxf5 Qc6 23. Rfe1) 19. Qf3 Rh5 20. Bxg6 Rg5 21. Be4 Rd8 with a sharp game.

18… Rd8 19. Rab1?! 19. Rad1 looks more to the point.

19… b6 20. Rb5 Rxd4! A very nice positional exchange sacrifice. Black can also play 20… Rh5 21. Re5 Bc8 22. a4 but the text poses a lot of problems.

21. cxd4 Qc3


22. f5 It’s already hard to give advice. 22. Rd1 Qxd4+ 23. Qf2 Qxf2+ 24. Kxf2 Kg7 25. Bb1 Rc8 26. Re5 Rc4 is very good for black.

22… gxf5 23. Re5 Qxd4+ 24. Rf2?? Losing – the proverbial ‘sacrificial shock’. However 24. Qe3 Qxe3+ 25. Rxe3 Rh5 26. Ref3 Rg5 27. Bxf5 Bxa2 28. Ra1 Bd5 29. Rf2 a5 30. Rb1 a4 31. Rxb6 a3 32. Ra6 a2 is complete torture as well and black should convert this position.

24… Ne4! 25. Rxe4 fxe4 26. Bxe4 Rg8 27. Kh1 Rg5 28. Bd3 Re5 29. Qf1 Re3 30. Bg6 f6 31. Qc1 Qe5 32. Rf1 Bxh3?! It’s not often that there is the luxury of two winning captures. Here Black had 32… Rxh3+! 33. gxh3 Bd5+ mating , but the more prosaic and weaker text wins as well.



If you are wondering about my enjoyment of Modern structures, it all harkens back to the “Pawn Diamond” game I had against future GM Patrick Wolff way back in 1983. It bears a quick look:


Patrick Wolff – IM Mark Ginsburg NY Open 1983

1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. f4 Nc6 5. Be3 Nf6

Well, with the black knight committed to f6, it’s really a Pirc now. Still, the game gets really crazy.


6. Be2 O-O 7. Nf3 a6 8. Qd2 b5 9. a3 Bb7 10. f5 b4 11. axb4 Nxb4 12. fxg6
hxg6 13. Ng5 e5!
It’s always correct to act in the center when the opponent is acting on the wings.  White’s structure is very loose now.


14. d5 c6 15. Na4 a5 16. c3 cxd5 17. Bb6 Qe7
18. cxb4 Bh6! 
White gets into a very nasty pin and it turns out black gets overwhelming compensation for the lost piece.  The problem in the opening basically is that white played too much on the wings and black stayed central.

19. h4 Nxe4 20. Qd3 axb4 21. Nxe4 dxe4 22. Qh3
Kg7 23. O-O f5
The very rare ‘pawn diamond’ starts to be formed.  There is very little to do constructively that white can undertake, especially in practical play where advancing pawn phalanxes take on a life of their own.


24. h5 Rac8 25. hxg6 Qg5 26. Qh5 Qxg6 27. Rad1
Rf6 28. Qxg6+ Kxg6 29. Bb5 e3 30. Rfe1 f4 31. b3 Bg5! 
Every piece gains maximum activity This is reminiscent of the J. Shahade game, above.

32. Bc4 Bh4 33. Re2 d5!  The d-pawn is immune because white has a back-rank problem.

34. Bb5 d4  And there it is.  The stuff of legends.  The pawn diamond.  Does anyone have access to a structural search; in how many other games has this occurred?  White, of course, is dead – the diamond is worth at least 2 minor pieces.


35. Bc5 f3  It’s craven to break up the diamond and cash in, but at some point the game does have to be won.

36. gxf3 Bxf3 37. Rf1 Kh5!  It’s pleasing to have the king help out too.

38. Ra2 Rg8+ 39. Kh2 Bg3+ 40. Kh3 Bf2 0-1



The Classic 70’s Part 10 – Odds and Ends

July 16, 2007

Here are some funny games that I played during the 70s featuring some classic personalities.

Region III Championship 10/24/76        40/2

Mark Ginsburg (2173) – Charlie Powell (2304)


Charlie was a real Southern gentleman with a discernible Virginia accent. Unflappable even in severe time trouble, he was a wizard with the initiative. However, he was extremely erratic. Sometimes he lost badly as in this game and sometimes he played like a genius. For example, he was unstoppable in the old National Chess League, or NCL, (that was played via telephone) in the 70s on the Washington Plumbers squad (named after the Nixon Watergate incident). You can also see how well he did in Virginia State Championships. Kudos to IM Greg Shahade for resurrecting the NCL into a new Internet form (eminently logical) – now named US Chess League. The Washington Plumbers also recruited, at times, GMs Kavalek and Andersson but that’s another story. I played on occasion, as did Robert Eberlein, John Meyer, future World Junior Champ Mark Diesen, and Robin Spital.

Charlie played a particularly good game vs IM John Peters in the NCL that I will find. He was a swashbuckling figure who would arrive late, dressed a bit like Errol Flynn, on his motorcycle. He would often have a lady friend at his side during the game. He was a natural talent of the first order, much like Michael Rohde and Michael Wilder after him.

Tragically, Charlie passed away on the West Coast at a young age. The Mechanics Institute had a Charlie Powell Memorial tournament and referred to him as one of the Bay Area’s top players in the 1980s – although I had lost track of him in this time period.

1. Nf3 d5 2. c4 Nf6?! The first misstep. 2…c6, 2…e6, 2…d4, and 2…dxc4 are all normal.

3. cxd5 g6? 3…Nxd5 leads to a bad position but the text is simply a blunder.

4. e4! Oops! Charlie must have been asleep at the wheel. Since 4…Nxe4? 5. Qa4+ is not playable, white is just winning.


4…Bg7 5. Nc3 O-O 6. Be2 c6 7. dxc6 Nxc6 8. d4 a6 9. O-O b5 10. d5 Na5 11. e5 Ne8 12. Bf4 Bb7 13. b4 13. Qd4! was the most accurate move intending 13… Rc8 14. b3! e6 15. Rad1 and black can hardly move.

14. Rc1 Nc4 15. a4 bxa4? 15…Nc7 was the only chance to keep playing.

16. Qxa4 Nb6 17. Qa5 Nxd5? A further blunder, but it didn’t matter anymore.

18. Nxd5 Black’s pieces are tied to each other and overloaded, so he loses a lot of material. For example, 18…Qxa5 19. bxa5 Rxc1 20. Nxe7+! (classical zwischenzug) and white remains up a piece. Black resigned.



Atlantic Congress


Sal Matera (2421) – Mark Ginsburg (2157) Round 3, 40/2

Sal Matera from New York City became an IM in the 1980s along with Ken Rogoff (who went on to become a GM) and Andy Soltis (ditto).


1. d4 g6 2. e4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. Nf3 a6 5. a4 Nf6 6. Be2 O-O 7. O-O b6!?


I was too young to utilize chess psychology but actually I’m making a really good opening choice here. Sal was a very careful, solid player so a provocative opening is perfect – he wouldn’t try to punish it outright.  So the text, although seemingly way out there, actually carries very little risk.

8. Re1 [5] 8. Bg5!? is interesting here. Then, 8…c5 9. a5! b5 10. dxc5! is strong for white.

8… Bb7 It’s humorous that Sal himself liked to play Modern Defense structures as black, and here I am not knowing that and blithely trotting it out. Nevertheless, I get a good game.

9. Bf1 9. Bc4 is certainly more active.

9… Nbd7 10. h3 Again, 10. Bc4 is more active. White is playing too slowly and black has no problems now.

10… e5 [37] 11. dxe5 dxe5 12. Bc4 Nc5! [43] A nice shot. It is white who has to be careful now.


13. Qxd8 Raxd8 14. Bg5 [41] Rd6 15. Nxe5? A major miscue. 15. Bxf6! Bxf6 16. b4 Ne6 17. b5! a5 18. Bd5! is a very nice way to maintain the balance.

15… Nfxe4 [53] As so often happens, the sudden opening of the game just gives black too much activity. White is simply losing control of the position.

16. Nxe4 Nxe4 17. Bf4 Rd4 [58]18. Ba2 [62]



If a good player hands his head on a silver platter, you have to take it.

18…Nc5?? [73] You don’t need a computer to see that the obvious 18… Nxf2! is completely winning. For example, 19. Be3 (19. Bg3 Ne4 20. c3 Rd2 wins with no problems) 19… Nxh3+! 20. gxh3 Bxe5 and white is dead lost. It’s impossible to say why I would think for 15 minutes and then avoid this easy line. A case of seeing ghosts? Continuing on a bit, 21. Bxd4 Bxd4+ 22. Kf1 Bxb2 23. Rad1 Bc6 24. Re7 Bxa4 25. Rxc7 Be5 and black mops up.

19. Bg5 Ne4 20. Bf4 Nc5?? [79] Naturally black passes up 20…Nxf2 winning once again. It’s not often that a player can miss two clear wins in the opening, but I did it. Matera escapes.

21. Bg5 Ne4 22. Bf4



A good example of a huge tactical blind spot changing the normal outcome of the game.


One more from the Atlantic Congress ’77 which I am guessing took place in New York City, although I did not record which hotel.

Atlantic Congress


Mark Ginsburg (2157) – Roberto Kaimo (2293)

Sicilian Dragon, Yugoslav Attack

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 d6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. Qd2 Bd7 8. Bc4 Nf6 9. f3 a6?

In some openings, black can afford avant-garde experimentation. The Dragon is not one of them. The text loses an entire tempo.

10. O-O-O O-O 11. h4 Qa5 12. h5?! A little too gung ho. Now black has an amazing resource.

12…Rfc8? Which he misses! 12…Nxh5! leads to incredible positions. For example, 13. g4 Ng3 14. Rh3 Qb4!!


Position after 14…Qb4!! (Analysis). This is really an amazing resource that I don’t think I’ve seen in other Dragon games. Play might continue 15. Bb3 Nxd4 16. Bxd4 Bxd4 17. Qxd4 Qxc3!! 18. bxc3 Ne2+ 19. Kb2 Nxd4 20. cxd4 h5! 21. Rh4 hxg4 22. Rdh1 Kg7 and black is fine!

13. hxg6 hxg6 14. Bb3 Ne5 15. Bh6 Bh8 This position is a good tactical quiz situation.


16. Bg5? White already had a win with the elegant quiz solution shot 16. Nf5! Qd8 17. Qg5 Rc5 18. Qh4 Bxf5 19. exf5 Qc7 20. Bf8!! Kxf8 21. Qxh8+ Ng8 22. Rh7 with total devastation. The move 20. Bf8!! is an attacking motif that every white Yugoslav Attack player should know – a classic clearance theme.

16… Bg7 17. Kb1 17. f4! Nc4 18. Qd3! b5 19. Bxf6! Bxf6 20. Nd5 is more to the point, with a huge edge.

17… Nc4 18. Bxc4 Rxc4 19. Nb3 Qc7? A grotesque blunder, walking into white’s next move and immediately losing. He had to try 19…Qd8.

20. e5! Nh5 21. Nd5 Qb8 22. Nb6 Be6 23. Nxc4 Bxc4 24. Bxe7 dxe5 25. Qg5 Qe8 26. Rxh5 gxh5 27. Bf6 Qf8 28. Rh1 Bxb3 29. axb3 Kh7 30. Qxh5+ Bh6 31. Bg5 1-0

What a massacre! It was not a good day for the Filipino NM. I don’t know what happened to Kaimo; I lost track of where he went in the 80s and beyond.