Archive for the ‘6. Bg5’ Category

The Classic 2000s: Internet Chess Club (ICC) Blitz Chestnuts

September 13, 2007

The Internet Chess Club is a great place to play strong players.

There are lots to choose from. I usually play in the “5 minute pool” (Game in 5 minutes with no increment). Even in these conditions, interesting and fun games occur all the time.

Here is an example (from 2002) that features a really wild finish. Every day, there are numerous such chestnuts produced on ICC! Most fall by the wayside, unrecorded (except into the ICC automatic database), unnoticed, gone.

GM M. Hebden – IM Aries2 G/5 12/23/02

Nimzovich Defense 1. e4 Nc6 (by transposition)

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d6 3. Nc3 Bg4 4. e4 e6 5. h3 Bh5 6. Qe2 Nc6

Weirdly, this can arise from the Nimzovich Defense, 1. e4 Nc6!?

7. g4 Bg6 8. h4 h5 9. g5 Nd7 10. Be3 Nb6 11. O-O-O d5

White has a lot of space and black tries to create a barrier.


12. Ne5 Nxe5 13. dxe5 c6 14. f4

A scary pawn storm is in the works.


15. Bxb6 axb6 16. f5 exf5 17. exd5 Bb4 18. d6 Qd7 19. Qc4 Bxc3 20. Qxc3 Rxa2

What can one rook do by itself? It needs its companion!

21. Kb1 Ra8 22. Bc4 O-O 23. Qe3 Rae8 24. Rhe1 Kh7 25. Qxb6?! f4!

White is tempted by a loose pawn and black gets to free himself with this advance. This once-blockaded pawn becomes quite a force, distracting white and providing camouflage to set up a hidden mating attack, as strange as that seems right now!


26. Qd4 Qg4 27. Bd3 f3 28. Bxg6+ fxg6 29. Re4 Qf5 30. d7 Rd8 31. e6 f2

In the finest blitz tradition, a crazy race of menacing passed pawns.


32. Rf1 Qh3 33. Qd3 Rf3 34. Qe2 Ra8

In typical blitz fashion, both sides ignore each other. Who is faster? We soon see…

35. Ra4 Rxa4 36. d8=Q Rfa3!!

The companion arrives! Fortunately the extra white queen is irrelevant because the BK is safe enough. Quite a rare and unusual tactic.


37. bxa3

The astute reader is probably wondering what happens on 37. Kc1. Well, the craziness continues! Black can consider 37…Qxf1+ or 37…Ra1+.

Update:  37. Qxh5+!! gxh5 38. g6+! forces a draw – variation by coelecanth!

37…Qxa3 38. Qe5?

38. c3 is necessary try because the text falls into an immediate mate.

Still 38. Qxh5+!


White resigns.


Here is a more recent 5-minute tussle with highly rated GM Dmitry Jakovenko (“coolwizard”) that is somewhat theoretically interesting.

aries2 (IM Ginsburg) – coolwizard (GM Jakovenko) ICC Blitz Game, 1/16/06 Sicilian Najdorf

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5

The world is so full of 6. Be3 these days that this move is actually refreshing.

6…e6 7. f4 Nbd7

A very popular sideline popularized by GM Boris Gelfand. 7…Be7 is the most common move.

8. Qf3 Qc7 9. O-O-O b5 10. Bd3 Bb7 11. Rhe1 Qb6

It looks strange to move this piece again. However, it’s main line theory. Black hits the knight on d4 and follows numerous games, by Gelfand and others.This line is still being tested at the highest levels today.


12. Bxf6!? White was unsuccessful with the unsound 12. Nxe6? fxe6 13. Qh3 e5 and black won without much trouble in Geller-Polugaevsky, Portoroz 1973 Interzonal. 12. Nxe6? was definitely a move I am sure Yefim Geller would have liked to take back in such an important interzonal game. The more sensible, yet passive retreat 12. Nb3 b4 has seen mixed results in practice. Spassky beat Tukmakov as white but on the whole, black seems fine. The text, 12. Bxf6!?, seems unchallenging, giving the two bishops without provocation, but it has its points.

The other main move, 12. Nd5!?, leads to wild play after  12…exd5 13. exd5+ Kd8.  Black can also play 12…Qxd4. Gelfand preferred 12…Qxd4 13. Bxf6 gxf6 14. Bxb5 Qc5 and eventually triumphed in Shabalov-Gelfand, Bermuda 2004.


Theory Discovery! 12…gxf6(?) has been seen many times, with black not doing badly, but in none of the games in my “Big” ChessBase database 2005 did white find the correct and rather obvious response 13. Nd5!! TN exd5 14. exd5+ Kd8 15. Bf5! with a huge bind. For example, 15…Nc5 16. Nc6+ Bxc6 17. dxc6 Ra7 18. Qd5 and black is not long for this world. The move 13. Nd5 looks completely winning for white unless a reader spots something for black that I missed?

13. Qh3!?

Of course, the N on d4 is indirectly protected now. This sequence poses some practical problems.

13…Be7 Black has the plausible 13…b4!? here. In all Najdorf lines, the attack b5-b4 must always be calculated. Play can continue 14. Nce2 Nxe4? 15. Bxe4 Bxe4 16. Nxe6 with a big white edge; but 14…e5!? or 14…Qa5!? are possible, in either case with mutual chances. Also very interesting and completely different is 13….O-O-O!? with decent chances, scoring 50% in 2 example games in the “Big” database. The wild and bad sacrifice 14. Nxe6? fxe6 15. Qxe6+ Kb8 16. e5 Bc8 simply failed (black won easily) in Szalanczy-Lazic, Balatonbereny 1986, and the more sedate 14. Bf1!? triumphed for white eventually in Arlt-Meyer, Muenster 1987 (but black of course is fine in this position).

Jakovenko’s text move is fine too.

14. e5! dxe5 15. fxe5 Nd7 More reliable is the more centralizing 15…Nd5 16. Ne4 b4!? but the text isn’t bad.

16. Be4!?

A dangerous maneuver which we will see again in the anti-Hedgehog article coming soon.


A blitz blunder. Here, black had to play 16…Bxe4 17. Nxe4 Rd8! (not 17…Nxe5 18. Qg3) with an acceptable game.

17. Nxe6! A common tactical motif which is quite decisive here.

17…Qxe6 The nice pendulum variation 17…fxe6 18. Qh5+ Kf8 19. Qf3+ Kg8 20. Bxb7 wins for white.

18. Bxb7 18. Qxe6 and then 19. Bxb7 is an easy win too.

18…Qxh3 19. gxh3 and white won the ending easily.


To keep things fresh, here’s a barn burner played 9/16/07 vs Norwegian GM Simen Agdestein (Gruk on ICC).

Gruk – Aries2 ICC 5-min Blitz, 2007

Bogo-Indian, Smyslov 4…a5

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Bb4+ 4. Bd2 a5 5. g3 d6 6. Bg2 Nbd7 7. O-O e5! Students should refer to Wilder-Smyslov, New York 1987, 0-1, for a good example of this line. The entire variation is under-rated; black gets a lot of piece activity.

8. Bc1!? A reasonable way to redeploy the B on b2. However, black can meet it adequately. Wilder played 8. Bg5 and got very little after 8….exd4 9. Nxd4 h6 10. Bf4.

8…exd4 9. Nxd4 O-O 10. b3 Re8 11. Bb2 Ne5 12. Qc2 c6 13. a3 Bc5 14. Rd1 Bg4! Black has active piece play to compensate for white’s greater center.

15. h3 Bh5 16. Nc3 Bg6 17. e4 Ned7 18. f4?! White is asking a little too much here.

18…d5?! Not best. Correct is 18… Qe7! 19. f5 Bh5 20. g4 Bxg4 21.hxg4 Nxg4 22. Qe2 Qh4 23. Na4 Ba7 24. Rd3 Qh2+ 25. Kf1 Ndf6! with tremendous pressure, e.g. 26. Bf3 Qh4 27. Bc3 Rxe4 28. Bxe4 Nxe4 29. Qg2 Nh2+ 30. Kg1 (30. Ke2 Re8 31. Kd1 Nxc3+ 32. Nxc3 Bxd4 and wins) 30… Nxc3 31. c5 Nxa4 and wins.

19. f5 Bh5 20. g4 Nxg4 21. hxg4 Bxg4 22. cxd5 Qg5?! Better is 22… Bxd1 23. Rxd1 Qg5 24. dxc6 bxc6 25. Na4 Ba7 26. Qd2 Qh4 with only a very small disadvantage.

23. Na4 Ba7 24. dxc6 (24. Qd2 Qh5 transposes)

24… bxc6 25. Qd2 Qh5 26. Rf1 Rad8 27. b4 Here, the optically good 27. Qxa5 only draws – it’s met by 27…Bb8! 28. Rf2 Bg3 29. Rd2 Qh2+ 30. Kf1 Nf6 31. Nc5 Bh3 32. Bxh3 Qxh3+ 33. Rg2 Qh1+ 34. Rg1 Qh3+ 35. Ke2? (It’s wrong to avoid the perpetual; 35. Rg2 of course draws) 35… Nxe4 and wins.

27… Ne5 28. Nc5 Nc4 29. Qc3 Bb8 30. Rf2?

This was a chance for white to stand better. If the correct defense 30. Nf3!, black can continue his attack with 30…Nxb2 31. Qxb2 Bf4 32. Qf2 Rd2 33. Qh4? (Correct is to sac the queen with some edge, 33. Qxd2! Bxd2 34. Nxd2 Qg5 35. Rf2 Qe3 36. Rb1 axb4 37. axb4 Rd8 38. Nc4 Qd4 39. Na5 but this is of course very hard to find in blitz) 33… Rxg2+ 34. Kxg2 Bxf3+ 35. Rxf3 Qxh4 and wins). It’s still hard in all these lines to play white in blitz; black has a lot of activity.

30… Nxb2 31. Rxb2 Be5! Now the tables are turned. Black has a crushing initiative.

32. Rd2 Qh2+ 33. Kf1 Qf4+ 34. Ke1 Bf6! Another nice diagonal switch. Black is completely winning now.

35. Rf2 Bh4 Strong also is 35… Qh2 36. Bf3 Bh4 37.Qe3 Bxf3 38. Nxf3 Qh1+ 39. Ke2 Qxa1 with a mop-up.

36. Raa2 Rxd4! This deflection sac is decisive; black has 50 seconds left, and white only 10.

37. Qxd4 Rd8?? Excited, black misses mate in two: 37… Qc1+ 38. Qd1 Qxd1 mate.

38. Qc3 White with no time left does not spot the deflection 38. Qxd8!+ Bxd8 39. Rxf4! which would be a sad turn events indeed for black.

38… Rd1 mate


It’s funny how this line often leads to ultra-sharp play. Black keeps his active dark square bishop and gives white “everything” in return – a mobile pawn center. Sacrifices are often needed, as occurred in the game, just to live.

The Fabulous 70s Part 5: The Meyer Brothers

June 27, 2007

Sicilian Najdorf, 6. Bg5

NM J. Meyer (2281) “Capablanca Champions” vs Mark Ginsburg (2212) “OTB Gang”

DC Chess League August 5, 1977

National Master John Meyer is the brother of Eugene Meyer who went on to become an IM and even score a GM norm in a CCA tournament in New York in the early 1980s. My battles vs Eugene in a Kan theme match (we both played the Kan so we alternated colors) paved the way for my 1979 win over GM Dzindzihashvili; more about that in another installment. The Meyer brothers were quite active tournament players in the DC area. John wore suspenders quite a bit and his pet Colle line (involving Bc4 and Bf4) became affectionately known as the Suspenders Attack.

1. Nf3 c5 2. e4 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Nbd7



I was winging it here. It’s funny because many years later I would introduce a novelty on the White side in this line to defeat GM Dmitry Jakovenko in an ICC blitz game. More on that in the “Fabulous 2000’s” installment.

8. Qf3 Qc7 9. O-O-O Be7 Transposing to another line. In this particular move order, 9…b5! is the critical move here. GM Boris Gelfand has championed that line for several decades. For example, 10. Bxb5!? axb5 11. Ndxb5 Qb8 12. e5 Bb7 with insane complications, Naiditsch-Gelfand Sparkassen 2006 (1/2, 27).

10. Be2 b5 11. Bxf6 Nxf6 12. a3

This slow treatment is unlikely to cause Black any problems. However, black lives after 12. e5 Bb7 13. Qg3 dxe5 14. fxe5 Nd7 15. Qxg7 Qxe5 with an equal game.

12…Bb7 13. g4?! 13. Qg3 looks stronger. 13…Rc8 14. Rd2 14. g5 Nxe4! 15. Nxe4 e5! 16. Rhe1 d5! leads to an incredible position where after 17. Nd6+ the chances are about level.

14…Qb6 15. Bd3 O-O 16. Nce2 d5 17. e5 Ne4 18. Bxe4 dxe4 19. Qe3



19…f6?! The obvious 19…b4! here builds black’s attack most efficiently.

20. exf6 Rxf6 21. Rhd1 Qc5? Can you guess the right move? 21…b4! generates a big attack. It must have been my unfamiliarity with the Najdorf that caused me to keep missing this.

22. g5 Rf7 23. Qh3 e5 24. Nf5 Bf8 24…exf4 was fine too.

25. fxe5 Qxe5 26. Ned4? 26. g6! is about equal. 26…Rc4? 26…b4! is obvious.

27. Ne3 Rcc7 28. Kb1?! Again, 28. g6!? keeps it level. 28…Bc8 29. Qg2 b4 30. axb4 Bxb4 31. c3 Bf8 32. h4 a5 White’s slow play allows black to start a new attack.

33. h5 g6


The game is still approximately equal. Since move 50 is the time control, naturally there is a lot of drama ahead.

34. hxg6 hxg6 35. Rh1 Rh7 36. Rxh7 Rxh7 37. Nc6 Qe8 38. Nxa5 Rh5? Here, 38..Bh3! was correct. For example, 39. Qg3 Be6! with excellent play. White can also try the tricky 38…Bh3 39. Ng4!? Bxg2 40. Nf6+ Kf7 41. Nxe8 Bf3 with dynamic play.

39. Nd5 Bg7 40. Nc6 Kh7


41. Ncb4? A miscue. 41. Nce7! is hard to handle, e.g. 41…e3 42. Re2 Qa4 43. Nxe3 with a big white edge.

41… Qe5 Now the chances are level again in this see-saw game.

42. Nf6+?! 42. Nc6!? is more circumspect.

42…Bxf6 43. gxf6 e3! 44. Re2 Bf5+ Now black has a strong attack.

45. Kc1? Superior is the cold-blooded and only optically dangerous 45. Ka2! Qa5+ 46. Kb3 Be6+ and now surprisingly 47. c4 holds; 47…Bxc4+ 48. Kxc4 Rh4+ 49. Qd3 Qf5+ 50. Kxe3 leads to an equal game as does 49…Qxb4 50. Qd5.

45…Be4 46. Nd3? White must have been tired in this 50 move in 2 hour game; he had 8 minutes left at this point.

White has chances to survive if he plays 46. f7! Bxg2? 47. f8=Q Rh1+ 48. Kc2 and now 48…Bd5, hoping for 49. Nxd5?? Qe4+ winning can be met by 49. Nd3 and white can defend. It’s not clear where 48…Be4+ 49. Kb3 leads either. The winning move would be 46. f7! Kg7! simply halting the pawn with the king.

46…Qf5 Played with only one minute left to reach move 50, but now black simply wins a piece. Of course, Black could also play 46…Bxd3 straightaway since 47. Qb7+ Kh6 wins.

47. Qg3 Bxd3 48. Rxe3 Bb5 Fortunately black’s king can run safely after white’s next few checks.

49. Qc7+ Kh6 50. Qg7+ Kg5


Black’s king has a safe haven on h4 so the battle is over.

51. Rg3+ Kh4 52. Qxg6 Qf4+ Picking up the loose rook.



A pretty good positional accomplishment for an 18 year old with some tactical weaknesses here and there.


Now let’s switch to a 1977 game with Eugene Meyer.


Mark Ginsburg (2212) – Eugene Meyer (2374)

Easter Chess Congress, George Washington University, Washington DC.

Round 3, 40/100

Delayed Benko Gambit

1. c4 g6 2. Nc3 Bg7 3. d4 Nf6 4. e4 O-O 5. Bg5 d6 6. Be2 Nbd7 7. Qd2 c5 8. d5 a6 9. Nf3 Qa5?! Interesting here is 9… Ng4 10. h3 Nge5. The text aims for a dubious Benko gambit delayed.

10. O-O b5 11. cxb5 axb5 12. Bxb5 Ba6 13. Bxa6 Rxa6 Black doesn’t have enough here because white’s development is not hampered as in the regular Benko.

14. Rfe1 Rb8 Black couldn’t avoid white’s next thematic breakthrough.

15. e5! dxe5 16. Nxe5 Nxe5 17. Rxe5 Rab6?! 17…Qc7 is a little tougher.

18. Rxe7 Rxb2 19. Qe1 Rc2 20. Rxf7?? For no reason, white goes for a drawing combination. Too much respect for his opponent? The simple 20. Rc1! Rxc1 21. Qxc1 Nh5 22. g4! Bxc3 23. gxh5 Qb4 24. Qf4! will win in the ending. I probably did not notice the 22. g4! resource. On the other hand, the tricky 20. Bf4?! hoping for 20…Rbb2?? 21. Re8!+ and wins, is instead met by 20…Rf8 21. Be5 Qd8! with some counterplay.

20… Qxc3 21. Rxg7+ Kxg7 22. Qe7+ Kg8 23. Qe6+ 1/2-1/2

A fairly bad bungle in a not very difficult position. Replay this game.