Archive for the ‘Queen’s Indian’ Category

The Fabulous 00s: Rip-Roaring Linares 2009

February 23, 2009

Some great games coming out of Linares 2009.

Here’s a fascinating battle where the best variations lay behind the scenes.

[Event “Linares 2009”]
[Site “Linares, ESP”]
[White “Radjabov, Teimour”]
[Black “Grischuk, Alexander”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “E17”]

Queen’s Indian “Kasparov Gambit”

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Bb7 5. Bg2 Be7 6. d5 exd5 7. Nh4 c6 8. cxd5 Nxd5 9. Nf5 O-O 10. e4 Nc7 11. Bf4

So far, so normal

So far, so normal

The ever-combative Radjabov chooses a sharp, topical, gambit that first started blowing minds in the 80s with Portisch, Polugaevsky, Kasparov, etc. Grischuk chooses the normal response.


At this point I want to draw your attention to an incredible counter-gambit that black had at his disposal.  In this game, it remained off-stage.  11… Bg5! 12. Bd6 (12. Bxg5 Qxg5 13. Nc3 Ba6 14. f4 Qf6 15. Qd2 Nd5 16. Nxd5 (16. exd5 Qxf5 17. O-O-O c5 18. Rhe1 d6 19. Re7 Rd8 20. Rde1 Nd7 21. Ne4 Nf6 is balanced) 16… cxd5 17. O-O-O and again it’s balanced) 12… g6!! TN– a really amazing idea.  If  13. Bxf8 (declining with 13. f4 Bf6 14. Bxf8 Bxb2 15. Be7 Qe8 16. Ba3 Bxa1 17. Nd6 Qe6 18. Nxb7 Qxa2 could be termed “the absurdity variation” due to the random placement of both sides’ forces ….and … is balanced!) 13… Qxf8 14. f4 gxf5 15. fxg5 fxe4 16. Nc3 d5 and black has full compensation!  I would like to see this line tested.

The game proceeded along regular channels:

12. Qg4 Ne6 13. Nc3 and now Grischuk made a second-best move.  He played

13…Kh8?! which isn’t the best.   Better is 13… g6! 14. Nh6+ Kg7 15. Nf5+ Kg8 16. exd5 Nxf4 17. gxf4 h5 18. Qg3 h4 19. Qg4 Bb4 20. O-O-O Bc8 21. dxc6 Qf6 22. Qg5 Qxg5 23. fxg5 Bxf5 24. c7 Bxc3 25. bxc3 Nc6 26. Bxc6 Rac8 27. Bd7 Rxc7 28. Bxf5 gxf5 29. Kb2 and, yes, you guessed it, it’s a draw.  But clearly this confused white, because immediately Teimour reacted in a poor way.
14. Be5?

The simple 14. exd5  cxd5 15. O-O-O! g6 16. Nxe7 Qxe7 17. Nxd5 Bxd5 18. Bxd5 Nc6 19. Bd2 Kg8 20. Bc3 Rac8 21. Rhe1 and white has a huge attack.  Sometimes good players just out-think themselves.

14…Bf6 15. Bxf6 Qxf6 16. O-O-O Nd7 Here, black yet again had the opportunity for a wild continuation.  He could have played 16… g6! 17. Nd6 d4!! leaving the B/b7 alone. if 18. Nxb7 (18. Qf3 Qxf3 19. Bxf3 Ba6 20. Ne2 Bxe2 21. Bxe2 Kg7 22. f4 c5 23. Bf3 Na6 and black is very happy) 18… dxc3 19. Qe2 Nd4 20. Qe3 cxb2+ 21. Kxb2 c5 with a black edge.

17. f4 Ndc5 18. e5? A big miscue.  Correct was 18. exd5 cxd5 19. Bxd5
Rac8 20. Bxb7 Nxb7 21. Kb1 and white is fine.  It would likely be a draw.

18… Qg6 19. Qh3?!

At this point, it was best to hunker down with 19. Qxg6 fxg6!? (or the more staid 19…hxg6) 20. Nd6 a5 and black is only a little better.

19… f6 20. Nh4  Qh6 21. Nf3 Qxh3 Black chooses a safe route. For the third time, black could have set “board on fire” with 21… Nxf4!!

Board on Fire / Fire on Board

Board on Fire / Fire on Board

Position after 21..Nxf4!! (analysis)

22. gxf4 (forced; 22. Qxh6?? Nfd3+ 23. Rxd3 Nxd3+ 24. Kd2 gxh6 25. Kxd3 fxe5 26. Nxe5 Ba6+! 27. Kd4 c5+! wins, a very droll line.) 22..Qxf4+ 23. Kb1 fxe5 and black has tremendous activity.  I would expect Shirov to play this. Black’s move is fine but not as entertaining.   It’s funny how white’s sharp gambit play in the opening afforded *black* not one, not two, but *three* counter-gambit chances to wrest the initiative.

22. Bxh3 Nc7 Quite solid and good was 22… f5! 23. b4 Na6 24. a3 d4 25. Ne2 c5 and black is having a lot of fun.

23. b4? The best chance to hold the game is the solid and centralizing 23. Rfe1!   Here, “youth is not served” by the impetuous push.

23…N5a6 24. b5 cxb5 25. Rhe1 b4 Just too many pawns.  Black is now comfortably winning.

26. Ne2 Bc8 27. Bg2 Bf5 28. Nfd4 fxe5 29. fxe5 Be4 30. Bxe4 dxe4 31. Nf4 Nc5 32. h4 Rae8 33. e6 a5 34. Kb1 N7xe6 35. Ndxe6 Nxe6 36. Nd5 (No better is 36. Rxe4 Nxf4 37. Rxf4 Rxf4 38. gxf4 Kg8 and black wins easily)

36… Nc5 37. Nxb6 h6 38. Nc4 Rf2 39. Rd5 Na4 40. Rxa5
Nc3+ 41. Ka1  White resigned here.

Black can simply play 41…Rd8 and there is no defense to black’s threat of Rd4 N-moves Rdd2.


In Other Developments

Kurno Freaks Out Mame with some Clown Antics

Mamedyarov lost horribly to Kurnosov who irritated him by disappearing antics at Aeroflot 2009.  Then “the Mame” withdrew altogether from Aeroflot 2009. It was wrong of Mame to accuse Kurnosov of cheating, but also according to the ChessVibes report Kurnosov behaved in a manner not befitting the top board of Aeroflot with frequent early-stage disappearances in a sharp opening.  This behavior is quite obviously disturbing and it’s surprising to hear so many “fans” of this unsportsmanlike conduct in other chess blogs.  The gist is “whatever gets under the opponent’s skin is fine.”  Wrong!  Sportsmanship (i.e. avoiding obviously irritating behavior) should mean something. I heard the same argument applied to supporting the cheeseburger-at-the-board guy.  I’m not sure if cheeseburger-at-the-board would be cool or uncool at Aeroflot, but what Kurnosov pulled off was uncool.  Mame *should* have slapped a TD on his butt at move 10 or so who would have stayed on him like a pitbull on a poodle.   TD Gijssen et al. seemed to be not really on top of events according to the report. Critics of his say this is often the case.

ICC Rating Matters

ICC 5 Minute Pool Rating List.  I am in esteemed company (I am aries2) due to a particularly good run of wins and opponent disconnections.  Everyone hates the guy immediately ahead of me, Olegas, as he plays out K & R vs  K & R to try to win on time.  Nevertheless, I enjoy trying to overcome his incredibly stodgy Berlin Defenses.

2731 Dako(GM)
2712 Smallville(GM)
2662 ShiryuDragon(GM)
2623 blitzking
2609 Volkov(GM)
2601 VerdeNotte(GM)
2586 camelovich(GM)
2575 babloo(GM)
2573 vigleik(GM)
2559 Otipap(IM)
2558 mastro(GM)
2555 Impitoyable
2547 Olegas(IM)
2532 aries2(IM)
2532 Nehedan
2530 Bones(GM)
2529 NECF-InSchools
2523 Gor(IM)
2521 Goldmund(GM)
2519 UzbekDragon(GM)
2517 LeopoldStotch
2510 Kotenochek(WGM)

Overheard on ICC

oldtimer(165): I am abjectly ashamed to know this.
Bruster(165): Know what?
oldtimer(165): mistell

Tempus Fugit

I just learned that GMs Fontaine and Katarina Lahno were married recently. It seems like only yesterday that Robert was hitting on ICC babes.   Ah, nostalgia.

Those Lovable Skull and Bones Guys

An interesting story that I noticed linking ICC to Geromino’s remains. courtesy of

“There’s a Skull and Bones document that describes how Prescott Bush and other Bonesmen robbed the grave of Geronimo, and I spoke with several Bonesmen who told me that inside the tomb there’s a glass display case containing [human remains] and the Bonesmen have always called it Geronimo,” said Robbins, author of “Secrets of the Tomb,” a book that delves into secretive societies at Yale, with special attention to Skull and Bones and its paths to power.

Yale said it does not have Geronimo’s remains and that it does not speak for Skull and Bones.

The controversy began in 2006, when a letter was found tucked into a book in the Yale library, according to an article published that year in Yale Alumni Magazine.

According to the article, the letter — written on June 7, 1998, by someone known as ICC as ‘Securitron’ to another ICC member known as ‘Mrhat’,  — said the secret society had Geronimo’s bones, which had been dug up by other members of the group at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

Marc Wortman, a writer and former senior editor of the magazine, said he was the one who discovered the letter in ICC’s hard drive.

“I found it and said, ‘This is amazing. This is quite stunning to see this.’ It was laid out so clearly in straightforward language saying we’ve got Geronimo’s skull, femurs and horse tack, and we’ve brought it back to the tomb, as they call [the Skull and Bones house] in New Haven [Connecticut],” Wortman told CNN.

The robbing of Geronimo’s remains fits into what Robbins calls “crooking” — a competition among Bonesmen to steal valuable things, which were then hidden in the tomb, which has extremely limited access.

Geronimo is one of the many Chiricahua Apache leaders who fought to preserve the culture and the lifestyle of their people in the late 1800s. He fought both the Mexican and U.S. governments in the area of southern Arizona and New Mexico.”

Intriguing, this mixture of chess and bones.


The Classic 80’s Part 2- Jose Cuchi and Heraldica

July 18, 2007

Not many people know that before the NY Open ever happened, Jose Cuchi put together the Heraldica Imports FIDE Invitational Round Robin in 1980. I came very close (within 0.22 points) of a GM norm there.

Mark Ginsburg vs GM Leonid Shamkovich
Heraldica Imports Round Robin 1980

Here I take revenge for a Swiss System loss that Leonid inflicted on me way back in 1977.

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 b6 3. Bg2 Bb7 4. O-O e6 5. c4 Be7 6. Nc3 O-O 7. b3 d5 8. cxd5 exd5 9. d4 Ne4 10. Qc2 Nxc3 11. Qxc3 Nd7 12. Bb2 Nf6 13. Rac1 c5 It should be stressed I knew no theory whatsoever and was playing by inspection. Fortunately this opening allows white a wide range of sensible moves.

14. Ne5 Rc8 15. Qd3 Rc7 16. Rfd1 Qc8 17. e3


17…Rd8 18. dxc5 bxc5 19. Qb5 Qe6 After this initial bit of fencing, the position is approximately equal.

20. Nd3 Qb6 21. Qa4 Ne4? 21… Rcc8!, improving piece coordination, is stronger. Then, 22. b4? is bad due to the simple 22…Bc6 and the craven 23. Bh3 Ra8 23. Bxf6 Qxf6 24. Nxc5 Bxc5 25. Rxc5, winning a pawn, is rudely met by 25…d4! with very strong counterplay.

22. b4! This is a very strong move. White completely takes over the position by exploiting black’s poor piece placement.


22…c4 22…cxb4 23. Bd4 is no fun at all.

23. Bd4! Black’s center pawns are now fixed, hanging, and vulnerable.

23…Qa6 24. Qxa6 Bxa6 25. a3? A strong player would not miss 25. Nf4! Bxb4 26. Nxd5! Rxd5 27. Bxe4 Rd8 28. Bc3!, a very nice tactical blow, which leads to victory after 28…Rxd1+ 29.Rxd1 Bf8 30. Rd8 Rc8 31. Rd7 Bc5 32. Bd5 Rf8 33. a4 Bc8 34. Rc7 Bb6 35.Bxf7+! Kh8 36. Rxc4.


25… g5? Instead of this impulsive weakening, black had to play more circumspectly with 25… Bc8! 26. Nf4 Bf5!, protecting the N/e4, and after 27. f3 Ng5 28. Bc5 Bxc5 29. bxc5 Rxc5 30. e4 Bc8 31. Nxd5 Kf8 32. f4 Ne6 33. Kf2 Bb7 he is fighting hard with a good chance for a draw. The text is a very surprising lapse from the normally positionally sound Grandmaster.

26. f3 Nd6 27. Nc5 White once again has a huge plus.

27…Bc8 28. Be5 Be6 29. f4 Rcc8?! 29… Rxc5!? was a good chance here. 30. bxc5 Nf5 31. Bd4 gxf4 32. gxf4 Rc8 33. Kf2 and White is better but not totally winning.

30. Bxd5 Bxd5 31. Rxd5 Although I had a hard time believing it at the time, I now have a winning position. White is simply up material for no compensation.

31…Nf5 32. Rxd8+ Rxd8 33. e4 Ne3 34. Kf2 Ng4+ 35. Ke2 Nxe5 36. fxe5 The ending is hopeless but black plays on until the bitter end.

36…a5 37. Rxc4 axb4 38. axb4 g4 39. Nd3 Ra8 40. Ke3 Kf8 41. Rc2 Ke8 42. Rb2 Ra3 43. Kd4 Bd8 44. Nc5 Ra1 45. Kd5 Bc7 46. e6 Rd1+ 47. Kc6 Be5 48. exf7+ Kxf7 49. Rf2+ Ke7 50. Rf5 Rd6+ 51. Kb7 Bc3 52. b5 Rh6 53. b6 Ba5 54. Na4! A very convincing winning move.


55…Be1 55. Rf1 Faster would have been 55. Ka7! to unblock the passed pawn.

55…Bd2 56. Kc7 Rxh2 57. b7 And here, 57. Rf5! prevents a bishop move to a5 and wins very quickly.

57… Ba5+ 58. Kc6 Rh6+ 59. Kd5 Rd6+ 60. Kc4 Bc7 61. Nc5 61. Nc3! is an elegant maneuver; 61… Rc6+ 62. Kd4 Bb8 63. Nd5+ Kd7 64. Rf7+ Kd6 65. e5+ Ke6 66. Re7+ Kf5 67. Re8 wins.

61… Rd8 62. Rh1 Black is paralyzed.

62…Rh8 63. Kd5 Here black, probably disgusted with defending this losing ending for so long, gave up.


He can’t contend with the split passed pawns; a sample line might go 63…h5 (or 63… Bxg3 64. e5 h5 65. Ra1 (not 65. Rxh5?? Rxh5 66. b8=Q Rxe5+ 67. Kd4 Rd5+ 68. Kxd5 Bxb8 with a draw) 65… Rd8+ 66. Ke4 Bf2 67. Ra8 Rd4+ 68. Kf5 Rb4 69. Ne4 Rxb7 70. Nxf2 and wins) 64. e5 Bb8 65. Na6 (65. Ne6! wins also) Ba7 66. Nb4 Bb8 67. Nc6+ Kd7 68. e6+ Kc7 69. Rf1 Kxb7 70. Nxb8 Kxb8 71. e7 and wins.

Although I certainly did not play very accurately, I was far enough ahead to start that I scored an ending victory versus the GM – quite a thrill after dispatching Dzindzi with a few tactical blows in the Chicago Open in 1979 – see “The Fabulous 70s” for details of that macabre encounter. This game was a big confidence booster in this event and helped me get a big score vs the likes of Dzindzi, Mednis, Alburt, Canadian IM Leon Piasetski, Colombian FM Fabio LaRota, and others.