Archive for the ‘Modern Rauser 6…Bd7’ Category

The Fabulous 70s: Boris Baczynskyj!

June 16, 2008

The chess world lost a nice guy in January of 2008 when Boris Baczynskyj passed away. See also a Chess Life obit by Jennifer Shahade and a tribute by Jerry Hanken.

Boris Baczynskyj

Boris was a very friendly fellow, always quick to laugh. I saw him a lot in Swisses in the 70s and 80s all up and down the east coast. He had the interesting “property” of extreme fluctuations in weight. He could go all the way up to the 400-500 range and back down to the 180-220 range.

GHI 1978 and Chain-Mail Helmets

Pre-computer, I sometimes wrote articles and had hand-written analysis to assist. Following is a scan of one such analysis of a tough positional struggle I had with Boris at the GHI International, New York City, 1978. The GHI was a strong, large, open swiss with plenty of norm opportunities. I believe Bill Goichberg directed it. It was so named after the GHI Building – its venue. If memory serves, an inconvenient elevator transported players up to the playing floor.  The tournament also had another “feature”.  John Fedorowicz, Jon Tisdall, and I were staying with my college roommate David Garfinkel on Park Avenue during this event.  David had a collection of antique helmets that we “borrowed” for use around the playing hall.  We all enjoyed the Turkish war helmet with chain mail covering the face and the German World-War I style helmet with the metal spike on top.  We also partook of vintage New York City firemen and policemen hats.  This meant a lot of “noise” that had to be “shushed” during the helmet jollies.

Click several times for maximum enlargement of these chess hieroglyphics. Note I was using an ancient text, “Sicilian Rauser”, as a citation source.

This handwritten scrawl masks a very interesting opening, middlegame, and endgame. One of the handwritten notes refers to a gambit: 10. f4 e6!? 11. Bxf6 gxf6 12. Qxf6 Rg8, that actually occurred in my 1979 Lloyds Bank Balinas game. I wrote above that this is “less than nothing” for white but in fact the computer says the pawn gambit leads to murky play with balanced chances.

At the time, I often “discussed” the ultra sharp opening featured here, the Modern Rauser (also an early favorite of GM Yudasin). Let’s see it.

Battle with Boris: Sicilian Modern Rauser Nascent Theory

B. Baczynskyj – M. Ginsburg Sicilian Modern Rauser, GHI International, Round 11. July 18, 1978.

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 Nf6 4. Nc3 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nc6 6. Bg5 Bd7!? 7. Qd2 Rc8!? The defining moves of the provocative Modern Rauser. Black goes for a quick Qa5 and Rc8, not caring for the moment about possible doubled f-pawns. An early Rc8xc3 sacrifice is often in the works. See, for example, my win over GM Balinas in Lloyds Bank 1979. This line only came into heavy weather later on in the 90s when Judit Polgar spanked it in some sharp encounters.

8. O-O-O Nxd4 9. Qxd4 Qa5 10. Bd2?! Not the most active reaction. Latent discoveries on the black queen mean very little.

Position after 10. Bd2. Not the most Testing.

10…a6 Quite playable here is 10… e5 11. Qe3 Be7 12. f3 a6 13. Kb1 Qc5 14. Bd3 b5 15. Qe2 Be6 16. Be3 Qb4 17. Qd2 Qa5 18. Nd5 Qxd2 19. Nxf6+ Bxf6 20. Bxd2 O-O 21. h4 Be7 22. Bb4 Rc6 23. Rd2 Ra8 24. Rhd1 Bxh4 25. Be2 Be7 26. Bxd6 Bg5 27. Rd3 Bc4 28. Bxe5 Bxd3 29. cxd3 and black went on to win, 0-1 Timman,J-Bellin,R/Islington 1970. Timman was just starting his career at this point.

11. Kb1 Qc5 12. Qxc5 Rxc5 13. f3 e6 As you can see in my handwritten notes, I didn’t want to go for 13… g6 14. Be3 Rc8 15. Bd4 Bg7 16. Nd5 but the computer shows that 16…e5! is playable.

14. g4 Be7 15. Be3 Rc8 16. g5 Nh5 Black’s position is OK here. Without the queens, at least his king will not come under severe attack.

17. Be2 17. f4 h6 18. gxh6 Rxh6 is OK.

17… b5 18. a3 h6 19. gxh6 g5!

Position after 19…g5!

20. Rhg1 Nf4 21. Bf1 f6 22. Bxf4 gxf4 Now I can face the future with confidence, armed with the bishop pair. All endings are great for me and one of them occurred.

23. Ne2 Rxh6 24. Nxf4 Rxh2 25. Rg8+ Kf7 26. Rxc8 Bxc8 27. c4 Rf2 28. cxb5 Rxf3 29. Ne2 axb5 30. Nc3 b4 31. axb4 f5 32. exf5 Rxf5 33. Bd3 Rf4 34. Rf1 Rxf1+ 35. Bxf1 Bb7 and black was able to convert, 0-1 in 58 moves. I will post the other moves shortly.

Epilog: Snowstorm aka Force Majeure

In the early 1980s, I played with Boris at a tournament at the University of Maryland. After Saturday’s game, I had 2.5 out of 3 and he had 3 out of 3. I was due to play him Sunday morning. But it was not to be. A fearsome blizzard halted the tournament and he was declared the abbreviated winner!

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The Fabulous 70s Part 2: The Lloyds Bank Open

June 22, 2007

The Lloyds Bank Swiss was a very strong event taking place in August of each year sponsored by yes, you guessed it, Lloyds Bank. Every year it was held at the Cumberland Hotel at Marble Arch, London, a very posh spot. And it was very near Hyde Park so the chess players could explore some greenery in the off houses as well as typical British pubs such as “The Three Tonnes” etc. GM-to-be James Plaskett (nicknamed Plastic Fantastic in some circles) was very social in pub settings. At some point, I managed to bonk my head on a pub sign hanging outside to the great amusement of onlookers.

Over the years, many luminaries played there and many amusing events took place. For example, tiny tots Peter Svidler and Matthew Sadler were battling grownups, GM Nick DeFirmian battled some unrated (when I looked at the game the unrated was up a queen but in his hurry to mate stalemated Nick; this unrated evolved to be GM Stefan Kindermann!). At some point IM-to-be Steve and Odendahl and I burst out snickering when Danny Kopec fell into a repetition draw vs a Hungarian GM up on the stage while hopelessly winning and up a lot of material (I believe it was GM Farago). Kopec was rightfully steamed at our insouciance. The event was also famous for people with “Sir” in front of their name or “MBE” or “OBE” after their name (part of the ruling class!) giving droning speeches at the end – mixed with chess players dressed horribly, such as Fedorowicz, Odendahl, and me. Director Stewart Reuben (who weirdly morphed into a poker player before it was fashionable) and Ray Keene would gave us hate-stares (particularly directed at Fedorowicz, who at some point lashed back) but it didn’t change our outfits. Another amusing thing was when Odendahl and I were thwacking each other over the head with a vinyl chessboard, Reuben uttered the laconic “Oh for God’s sake” which to us seemed the ultimate Britishism. For food, we went to the Kyhber Pass Indian restaurant quite a bit which was near the King’s Head pub, a chess hangout frequented by such luminaries as Speelman and Whiteley. My last installment was Lloyds Bank 1991, but it kept going for a while. GM-to-be IM Michael Wilder won in 1987 (also in that year young Anand scored a miniature victory over young Adams), and I see that GM Morozevich scored an incredible 10.5/11 in the 1994 incarnation at age 17! I see no record of it occurring after that, so I am guessing 1994 was the last year. Pity!

The readers may not know IM Steve Odendahl (he is inactive, at last check working for Sun Microsystems) but in one of these Lloyds Banks he scored a nice win over GM-to-be Danny King in one of his pet anti-Gruenfeld lines. I couldn’t find that game, but here’s a nice win of his over GM K Spraggett in Toronto, 1983.

Here is a battle royale from one of the Lloyds Bank installments in 1979. It’s really too bad they don’t happen any more! I wasn’t an IM yet (only achieved that in 1982).   See my separate post on Lloyds Bank 1978.

GM Rosendo Carrean Balinas vs Mark Ginsburg   
London, Lloyds Bank 1979

Sicilian Defense, Modern Rauser Variation 6. Bg5 Bd7

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bg5 Bd7

This very sharp move was quite popular in the 70s and 80s. It faded due to some theoretical discoveries for white in the early 2000’s. Nevertheless, it is a good surprise weapon.

7.Qd2 Rc8 8.O-O-O Nxd4 9.Qxd4 Qa5 10.f4 10. Bd2 is popular, e.g. 10…a6 11. Kb1 Qc5!? which is playable for black.


10 … e6!? Introducing a very sharp gambit.

11.Bxf6 Here, 11. Bc4!? declining and developing is very interesting.

11…gxf6 12.Qxf6 Accepting the pawn, but black gains the dangerous g7-c3 diagonal for his dark square bishop. This was all semi-known to me at the time, but I had never tested the assertion. As a matter of fact, I don’t recall who showed me this 10…e6!? gambit idea. It was soon before this game was played.

12…Rg8 13.Qd4 d5 14.f5


Maximum violence!

14…Rxc3 15.Qxc3 Qxa2?! Now the game is completely crazy. However my move wasn’t the best one in the position. Superior was 15…Bh6+! 16. Kb1 Qxc3 17. bxc3 dxe4 18. fxe6 Bxe6 and black is completely OK with equal chances. Youths like to attack and keep the queens on.

16.Re1?! A mistake in return. 16. Kd2! is much more accurate. 16…Bh6+ 17. Ke1 Qa4 18. Bd3 dxe4 19. fxe6 and white is on top. 16…dxe4 16…a5!? is an inventive move that I did not consider during the game. White might respond 16…a5!? 17. fxe6 fxe6 18. Qb3 but even so, after 18…Bh6+! 19. Kd1 Qxb3 20. cxb3 Bc6 Black has little to fear.

17.Rxe4 Bh6+ 18.Kd1 Bc6


This is the sort of position that is child’s play for a computer and a huge headache for a human player.

19.Re5? 19. Rh4 is more accurate. Then, both 19…Qa1+ and 19..Qb1+ lead to great complications. For example, 19. Rh4 Qb1+ 20. Ke2 Qc1! 21. Rg1 (Kind of feeble, but what else?) 21…Bg7!? or 21…Bg5!? in both cases with sharp play and mutual chances.

19…Qb1+ 20.Ke2 Bg7 Black is on top now. The question is, can white “bail out” and survive. 21.Kd2 Bxe5 22.Qxe5 Rg5 23.Qb8+?! 23. Qh8+ was a more challenging try. The game can then get really sharp but black’s king winds up safer: 23. Qh8+ Kd7 24. Qd4+ Ke8 25. Qh8+ Ke7! Avoiding the draw. 26. f6+ Kd7 27. Qf8 (27. Qxh7 Rd5+ wins, e.g. 28. Kc3 Kd6! with a mating attack.) 27…Rd5+ 28. Kc3 Kc7! with a big attack.

23…Kd7 Now it’s simply bad for white in all lines.



24.Bb5? A tactical miscue. Black is faster than white and winds up the game with a direct mating attack. However, the superior 24. Qxb7+ Bxb7 25. Bb5+ Kc7 26. Rxb1 Rxg2+ simply leads to a terrible ending for white. 24. fxe6+ fxe6 25. Qxa7 Qxb2 is also very good for black.

24…Rxg2+ 25.Ke3 Qxh1 26.Qxb7+ Kd8 27.Qb8+ Ke7 28.Qxa7+ Kf8 29.Qc5+ Kg8 30.Qxc6 White could not postpone taking the bishop any longer. Now it’s black’s turn to hunt the white king which cannot escape. It’s all over.

30…Qe1+ 31.Kd4 Qf2+ 32.Kd3 Qd2+ 33.Ke4 Rg4+ 0-1

It was a thrill for me to beat a GM. I would go on to beat GM Roman Dzindzihashvili later in the year in Chicago and GM Shamkovich the next year in New York, but this game was a special treat because it was so tactical and crazy.


At the end of this event there was further hilarity when it was announced I would receive the special “Junior Merit” award. One of the gaggle of British juniors, I believe it was Stuart Conquest, muttered “He’s not a Junior!” and it was true, I was not eligible. Nevertheless, I was the proud recipient of 20 quid or so. Huzzah.