Archive for the ‘Eugene Meyer’ Category

An Important Game from 1979

September 24, 2007

In March 1979 Michael Rohde took a big step toward U.S. Chess stardom – he made his first GM result at the Marshall Chess Club!  The tourney was also notable for Eugene Meyer’s 2nd IM norm and Larry Kaufman’s 1st IM norm.

Here is the NY Times article (by GM Robert Byrne). Click to enlarge.

The game itself seemed to go in a predictable path:

Plaskett was over-aggressive, Rohde picked up a few pawns, and won by taking advantage of Plaskett’s over-exposed King.

But behind the scenes, another player on an adjacent board (who was finished with his game) was analyzing and moving the pieces around, generally being distracting, during this featured NY Times game. Rohde asked him to stop, and the 3rd party took offense. Words were exchanged, the situation became ultra-tense, and it almost came to an all-out fight. The TD was summoned and this tense game’s clocks were stopped. Future GM Jim Plaskett was shocked (being British, does this happen in the UK?) and when things got underway again he offered no meaningful resistance and lost quickly.

Viva USA!  Barroom brawls do have a place in our chess culture.  Note in the NY Times article Byrne committed the common typo of Rhode (like Rhode Island).

Plaskett (UK) – Rohde (USA)  Sicilian Kan

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. Nc3 a6 4. d4 cd 5. N:d4 Qc7 6. Bd3 Nf6 7. f4 d6 8. Be3 Be7 9. O-O Nbd7 10. Qf3 Nc5 11. Rae1 O-O 12. Qg3 b5 13. e5 dxe5 14. dxe5 Ne8 Forced. If 14…Nfd7?? 15. Bh6 wins.

I am not sure when the near-fisticuffs broke out but I do know it was before Plaskett was dead lost.

15. Ne4 15. Be4!? Nxe4 16. Nxe4 Bb7 17. Bg5 Rd8 and black defends.

15…Nxd3 16. cxd3 Bb7 17. Rc1 Qd8 18. Nc6? Correct is 18. Nc5 and white is slightly better after e.g. 18…Bd5 19. b3.

18…Bxc6 19. Rxc6 Qd5! 20. Rfc1?! The simplest way was 20. Bc5! Qxc6 21. Bxe7 Nc7 and chances are balanced.  If 20…Bxc5+?! 21. Rxc5 Qxa2?! white gets the edge after 22. Nf6+! Kg8 (22…Nxf6? 23. exf6 g6 24. Qe3 Kh8 25. Qh6 Rg8 26. Rf3 just wins for white as 26..Qb1+ is met by the simple 27. Rc1) 23. Nd7! Rg8 24. Qf2!

20…Qxa2 21. Rc7? This ridiculous combination is unsound and loses quickly.  Even at this late juncture, White had the interesting resource 21. Nc5! threatening 22. Nd7 trapping the rook.  Then if 21…Rd8 22. b4! Qb2 23. Qf4 the entire game lies ahead.

21…Nxc7 22. Rxc7 Qb1+ 23. Kf2 Q:d3 Black is completely winning by the simplest of means; simply capturing things while at the same time centralizing his pieces.

24. Qf4 f6! The computer has black up by 5.82 “points” now.  Ouch.  Its not often you see the defensive side switch entirely over to the attack in one half-move.

25. exf6 A pleasing side-variation: if 25. Rc3 Qd5 26. Kg3 g5! 27. Qf3 fxe5 28. Qg4 Rf4!! 29. Bxf4 exf4+ 30. Kf3 Qd1+ and wins white’s queen!

25…B:f6 26. Kg3 Bh4+! and white resigns.  Now the margin is 14.06 “points”, reminiscent of a football game.


Hopefully the reader gets a sense for how quickly Plaskett dried up and blew away.

The Fabulous 70 Part 12: The Kan Klassics

July 27, 2007

In 1978 I undertook to play Eugene Meyer in Washington DC (I believe at his house on Jennifer Street, NW) a 6-game match since both of us liked to play the Kan Sicilian (aka the Modern Paulsen) which goes 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cd 4. N:d4 a6. Nowadays GM Serper likes this line a lot too, scoring a nice last-round win over Becerra in the National Open 2007; GM Svidler has tried it out as well to good effect, for example in his thematic win vs GM Naiditsch.

Here is a photo of Eugene Meyer (date, location, and photographer unknown as of this writing).


And now the first game of my unrated E. Meyer match. And quite a wild first game it turned out to be.

M. Ginsburg – Eugene Meyer 5/1/78 Time control 40/2

Sicilian Kan

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Bd3 Nf6 6. O-O Qc7 7. c4 d6 8. Nc3 g6!? Extremely provocative especially since white has not yet committed to Be3. White now hurries to place the bishop where it can attack the weakened dark squares.

9. Bg5 Bg7 10. Qd2 White can try 10. Kh1!? with the idea of f2-f4.

10…h6 11. Bh4 Nbd7 12. f4 [14] g5! [22] Wow. A typical Eugene Meyer move. And it works!


13. fxg5 hxg5 13…Ng4! is good here.

14. Qxg5 Bh6 Black is OK here. White now embarks on a crazed sacrificial attack but it’s not good for more than equality.


15. Nxe6!? 15. Qg3 is the sane choice, for example 15…Qc5 16. Qf2.

15…Qb6+ 16. c5 Forced. The position is extremely bizarre.

16…dxc5 17. Nd5! The only move to keep chances balanced.


17…Nxd5 18. Ng7+! See prior comment.

18…Bxg7 19. Qxg7 Rxh4 20. Qg8+ White also has the try 20. exd5!? here. Black responds with the clever 20…c4+ 21. Rf2 Qd4! and stands slightly better.

20…Ke7 21. Rxf7+ Kd6 22. Qg3+? White goes wrong after finding a series of only moves. Correct was 22. cxd5! with the following crazy variation: 22…c4+ 23. Kh1 Qxb2 24. Re1 cxd3 25. Qg3+ Ne5 26. Rf6+ Kc5 27. Qxh4 d2 28. Rd1 Bg4 29. Qf2+ Qd4 30. Qxd4+ Kxd4 31. Rxd2 with an equal game! Such a high intensity of tactics is rare in such a long line.

22…Nf4 23. Bc4? A further miscue after which it’s hopeless. Necessary was 23. Bf1 and after, for example, 23…Qd8 protecting the rook on h4, white has 24. Rxf4 Rxf4 25. Qxf4+ Kc6 26. Rd1 continuing the fight. Even so, black keeps some edge.

23…Qxb2! Of course.This impudent pawn grab simply wins for black. He has time to coordinate his forces and get his king to safety.

24. Rd1+ Kc6 25. Rxf4 Rxf4 26. Qxf4 Qe5 27. Qf7 Kb6 28. Bd5 Ka7 The black king finds a haven and white could have given up very safely now. For no particular reason (sour grapes at letting ‘the big attack’ fizzle?) I toddle on a bit.

29. a4 Nb6 30. a5 Nxd5 31. exd5 Rb8 32. h3 Bf5 33. d6 Bc2 34. Rd5 Qe1+ 35. Kh2 Bb3 36. Qc7 Bxd5 37. Qxc5+ Ka8 38. Qxd5 Rd8 39. g4 Re8 0-1


Finally I resign.  As a matter of fact, I think at this point I failed to arrange for any more match games. This lesson was not lost on me; I improved my play in a very similar opening to beat GM Dzindzihashvili in the Chicago Open December 1979. But first I had to try it out from the black side. This happened in the following interesting game versus NM Alan Pollard in a telephone match (National Chess League), two days after the above game on May 3rd, 1978.

National Chess League (telephone match)

Alan Pollard, LA (2373) – Mark Ginsburg (Washington Plumbers), 2353.

Sicilian Kan 40/1, then 20 moves in 30 minutes, then adjourn

The rapid time control was not so rapid. There were extreme delays as “runners” on both teams relayed moves made on the board to the phone operators. Sometimes games had to be reset a couple of moves due to relay error! Ah, the days before the Internet!

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Bd3 Nf6 6. O-O Qc7 7. Be3 d6 8. c4 Nbd7 9. Nc3 b6 10. f4 Be7 11. Rc1 g6 12. b4 O-O 13. a3 Re8 14. Qf3 Bb7 15. Qh3 Bf8 16. Nf3 Here white has the very dangerous 16. f5!? but black can hold on after 16…exf5 17. exf5 Ne5 18. Be2 Bg7 19. fxg6 hxg6 20. Bh6 Bh8 21. Qh4 Ned7.

16… Bg7 17. Bd4 Rac8 18. Qh4 Qd8 19. Rce1 White’s play is a little incoherent over the past few moves and black now has a good game.


19…e5 A completely valid and solid defense is 19… Nh5! 20. Bxg7 Qxh4 defusing the situation. Then, 21. Nxh4 Nxg7 22. Na4 e5 23. f5 g5 24. Nf3 h6 25. Rd1 Red8 is simply equal. The text is trying for more.

20. fxe5 Nxe5 21. Bxe5! It looks strange to give up the bishop, but it’s the best move here.

21…dxe5 22. Rd1 Qe7? 22…Nh5! was far superior with only a small disadvantage.

23. Qf2 Ng4?! It’s unsound to give up the b6 pawn, but white has to find the refutation – no easy task in a 40/1 game.

24. Qxb6 Bh6 25. Rfe1? White stumbles badly. He had the crushing 25. c5! Be3+ 26. Kh1 Rc6 27. Qa5 Nf2+ 28. Rxf2 Bxf2 29. Nd5 and black is not long for this world. Similarly, 25…Ne3 26. Bxa6 is also decisive. The move 25. c5! is obvious once one sees that losing the exchange is not a big deal with the queenside pawns ready to roll and the d5 square available for the WN on c3.

25…Rc6 26. Qa7 Rc7 27. Qb6 A sample alternative here is 27. Kh1 Bxe4 28. Qg1 Bxd3 29. Nd5 Qd6 30. Nxc7 Qxc7 31. Rxd3 Qxc4 32. Rd4 Qc8 33. Rxg4 Qxg4 34. Nxe5 with a level game.

27… Rc6 28. Qa7 Rf6!? Bravely avoiding the repetition draw. Of course it’s a thin line between brave and foolhardy.


29. Nd5 Bxd5 30. Qxe7 Rxe7 31. cxd5 Be3+ 32. Kf1 Bf2 33. Re2? The logical 33. Rc1! gives white a substantial edge.


33…Ne3+?! This move is a little craven and also not very good. 33… Bd4!? is another and better way to try to bottle white up. Then, 34. Ke1 Bc3+ 35. Nd2 Bd4 36. Rc1 Bf2+ 37. Kd1 Ne3+ 38. Rxe3 Bxe3 39. Rc8+ Kg7 40. Nc4 Bd4 41. Na5 Rf2 42. Bxa6 Rxg2 43. Bb5 is good for white but difficult to see over the board.

34. Rxe3 Superior was 34. Kxf2! Nxd1+ 35. Ke1 leaving white with an edge.

34…Bxe3 35. Ke2 Ba7 36. Rc1 Rd6 37. Rc8+ Kg7 38. Nd2 Bd4 39. Nc4 Rf6! Black is just in time to generate serious counterplay on the f-file.

40. d6 Rd7 At this stage, both players got 30 more minutes for the next 20 moves. keep in mind the very long telephone relay-delay. Effectively, it was more like 45 minutes of thinking time for the next 20 moves.

41. a4? A very bad blunder. 41. Bc2!, with the idea of Bc2-a4, liquidates the game into a drawn ending after the inevitable Rdxf6 or Rfxd6. 41. Ne3 was also safe and completely equal.

41…Rf2+ Black is now winning but it will take some calculation to bring the point home, not an easy task at this time control.

42. Kd1 Rxg2 43. b5 axb5 44. axb5 Rxh2 [69] The complete destruction of white’s kingside should have been decisive.

45. Rc7 Rd8 46. d7


46…Ra2? Black in turn fumbles the ball. Of course I can play 46… h5 but after 47. b6 Ra8 48. Bb1 the position is murky. The winning move, by no means easy, was 46…g5! In that case, white’s desperate counter-measures with 47. Nd6 are simply ignored! 46…g5 47. Nd6 g4! 48. Nb7 g3!! 49. Nxd8 g2 50. Ne6+ Kh6 and wins – an exceptionally nice variation. This is a good example of where concrete calculation can bring the point home – although …g5 is on the surface ugly (giving the f5 square to white’s knight) – the poor position of the WK means that the g-pawn can safely rush up. The specter of white’s advancing passed pawns must have caused this panic reaction.

47. b6 Raa8 [79] This incredibly passive sequence, transferring an active rook on the 7th rank to a passive location on the first rank, is of course by no means a winning attempt. White is now totally OK again. This crazy see-saw game is once again in balance.

48. b7 Rab8 49. Rc8 h5 If 49… f6 50. Nd6! forcing 50…Ba7 and black is not really getting anywhere.

50. Na5 [83] Bb6 51. Nc4 Bd4 52. Ke2 g5 53. Na5 Bb6 54. Nc6 Rxb7 55. Nxd8 Rxd7 56. Nc6 Rc7! The easiest way to steer for a draw and an end to this nutty game before any unfortunate accidents occur.

57. Rxc7 Bxc7 58. Ne7 g4 59. Kf2 Kh6 [89] 60. Kg3 [88] Kg5 At this stage, my scorepad indicates the game was adjudicated (?). However it must have been declared drawn as well – neither side can do anything.


Here were the final match results. The Andersson-Peters game was funny. Andersson was led into our venue, the tiny chess shop in Georgetown (was it called ‘It’s Your Move’?), and his clock read 4:59. I think he was in town for his Volvo exhibition match versus GM Lubosh Kavalek (Kavalek won that match easily – the match took place in a Volvo dealership showroom!). Ulf thought it was G/1 Minute (!!) game and started bashing out moves in his pet …Nf6 Nxf6+ exf6 Caro Kann. On move 15, he noticed others were thinking and he then realized it was actually a 40 moves in an hour game! He then slowed down just a tiny bit and won an ending (of course, starting in an equal position) effortlessly vs IM John (Jack) Peters. I really need to find that game-score. Our team won by the narrowest of margins thanks especially to the 2 Meyer Brothers.

Washington Plumbers Result Los Angeles
GM Ulf Andersson 1 IM John Peters
IM Mark Diesen 0 Julius Loftsson
Mark Ginsburg Adjourned and … 1/2 Alan Pollard
Eugene Meyer Adjourned and … 1 Kent
Steve Odendahl 0 S Jones
John Meyer 1 Tibor Weinberger

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.