Archive for the ‘Viktor Korchnoi’ Category

The Fabulous 80s and Beyond: Dealing with the Leningrad Dutch 7…Qe8

June 17, 2008

First Steps: The Bareev Game and a Wasted TN

In Naestved, Denmark 1988 I was paired against an IM in the first round. Nothing so special about that, but it turned out to be young Evgeni Bareev, rated 2560. Ut-oh, that’s rather high for an IM.  You might wonder why I (2420) was paired in this way in the first round.  It turns out the organizers had consulted what appeared to be the back of a cracker-jack box and instituted quarter pairings throughout the event.  Near the last round, a 1900-player was in serious danger of taking one of the top spots and Gyula Sax was totally freaking out.  Only an upset defeat of that A player prevented a “scandale totale.”

Here was the game.

M. Ginsburg – E. Bareev (2560), Naestved Denmark 1988. Round 1.

1. c4 f5 See this post for a discussion of the poor move order 1. Nf3 f5?.

2. d4 Nf6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. Nf3 O-O 6. O-O d6 7. Nc3 Qe8 8. Nd5 Hoping for 8….c6? 9. Nxf6+ Bxf6 10. Bh6 or 9…Rxf6 10. Bg5 with a pleasant advantage.

8…Nxd5 9. cxd5 Qb5 Recommended by theory. Curiously, this position was just reached in Yaeger-Young, US Junior 2008, but Yaeger played the innocuous 10. Qc2 now and lost later on. After 10. Qc2 c6 nothing special is going on.

10. e4!?! TN My improvised TN! which was mentioned in passing in an Andrew Martin pamphlet! A fantastic blitz move! Bareev started to think, and think, and think.

Position after the shocker 10. e4!?

10…fxe4 11. Ng5 c6!? The point of all this is revealed after the greedy 11…Qxd5 12. Bxe4 Qxd4? 13. Qb3+! with advantage. Black also has 12…Qb5 13. a4 Qc4 (staying on the sensitive b3-g8 diagonal) and now after 14. Be3 c6, 15. Nxh7 leads only to a draw. On 14…Nc6, 15. Rc1 Qb4 puts black’s queen on a weird place and with 16. b3 white can keep the game going, or venture 16. Nxh7 with as far as I can see nothing more than a draw after 16…Kxh7 17. Qh5+ Kg8 18. Qxg6 Rf6. The conclusion is that 11…Qxd5 is playable, unless I am overlooking something. Bareev did not care to enter into the pawn grab waters.

12. Nxe4 The knight tour continues. If 12…cxd5? 13. Nc3! forks b5 and d5 with advantage. One simple line is 12…cxd5? 13. Nc3 Qa5 14. Nxd5 Nc6 15. Bd2 gaining additional time and then 15…Qd8 16. Bc3 with a solid edge.

12…Qb6! Bareev is too smart for 12…cxd5? and this move, in fact, I had not foreseen.

13. Qe2! The right reaction to get on the e-file. If 13…cxd5? 14. Ng5! Qxd4 15. Ne6 and it looks very loose for black. If 13…Qxd4!?, white can play for an attack with 14. Rd1 Qb4 15. Ng5! with king-side ideas. The threat of Ng5xh7 becomes real after 15. Ng5 Be5 16. Be4!. However, black has 16…Qb5! to defend.

13…Qa6!? Another interesting move. But in this case it may not be best, since 13…Qxd4!? was in fact quite playable.

14. Qxa6? Wrong! After playing inventively, white should continue in that manner and keep the queens on with 14. Qe3. After, for example, 14. Qe3 cxd5? we know that 15. Ng5 gives good chances. But what else can black play? Nf3-g5 is happening anyway! After 14. Qe3!, white has an advantage.

14…Nxa6 White has helped black develop. 15. dxc6? Better is 15. Nc3 Bd7 16. Bg5 Rf7 17. Rae1 with equality.

15…bxc6 16 d5?? A huge lemon. 16. Nc3 Nb4 17. Bg5 keeps white in the game.

16…c5 Of course! Now black is much better. Very poorly played by me.

17. a3 Rb8 18. Ra2 Really rather pathetic.

18….c4? Black gaffes. 18….Bb7! was much stronger. 19. Nc3 Nc7 with Ba6 to come and white is really suffering.

19. Bg5! Now I’m all right again.

19…Bf5 20. Rc1? I make yet another mistake! Jet lag?? After the obvious 20. Bxe7! Bxe4 22. Bxe4 Re8 23. Bxd6 Rxe4 24. Bxb8 Nxb8 25. Rc2 and 26. Ra1, white is right back in it!

20…Rfc8 21. Nd2? Now it’s not the same: 21. Bxe7 Bxe4 22. Bxe4 c3! 23. bxc3 Re8 24. Bxd6 Rbd8 25. Bb4 Rxe4 26. c4 Rc8 with some edge to black. Even so, I should have played this. The text is hopeless.

21…Bd3! With total paralysis. What a bad first round!

22. b4 c3 23. Nf1 Rb7 24. Bh3 Rcc7 25. Be6+ Kh8 27. Ne3 a5! 28. bxa5 Na6! 29. Ng4 Rb2 30. Raa1 Nc5 31. Nh6 Nxe6 32. dxe6 Bd4 33. Nf7+ Kg7 34. Be3 Bxe3 35. fxe3 h6 0-1

Later on, I tried to be more ‘normal’ and I couldn’t have come closer to a KO.

MG – IM J. Sarkar, US Ch. 2006, San Diego
1. c4 f5 2. d4 Nf6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. Nf3 O-O 6. O-O d6 7. Nc3 Qe8

I don’t trust this move. It’s so uni-dimensional and committal! (with the crude idea of e5). But how to punish it? White should aim for structures where one of two things happens: 1) achieving the idea of e5 is playable tactically but positionally hurts black! or 2) by changing structures, white can aim to entice black to give up on e5 (for example, reverting to a Stonewall). Then, the fundamental point of Qe8 is lost and white is happy. Let’s see some variations.

8. d5!? A useful space gaining move. But, as we shall see, it is crude and black has counterchances on the dark squares.

Positionally more motivated is my recommendation of 8. Qb3! which of course has been seen in lots of games. In most of the games, though, either one side or the other played inaccurately right off the bat.

Position after 8. Qb3! – Analysis.

Continuing, 8…c6 9. Rd1! which is a very accurate sequence.

As a sidenote, going back to the analysis diagram, the droll point of 8. Qb3 is the rather crude trap 8…e5?? 9. c5+! (Very aesthetic!) 9…Kh8 10. cxd6 cxd6 11. Nb5! e4 12. Ng5! (a fantastic sortie by the two knights!) 12…Qd7 13. d5 and black has a miserable game. For those who like further sadistic variations on this theme, 8…e5?? 9. c5+ Qe6 10. Qxe6+ Bxe6 11. Ng5 Bc8 12. Nd5! wins.

Similarly, 8…Nc6?! 9. c5+! is also a white edge. If white takes away e7-e5, the main point of Qe8 is lost. The clumsy looking 8. Qb3! Kh8 is also met by 9. Rd1.

Let’s proceed with the ‘main line’. After 8. Qb3 c6 9. Rd1, if 9…Na6 for example then 10. c5+! anyway gives an advantage after the forceful sequence 10…Qf7 11. Qxf7 Rxf7 12. Ng5! Rf8 13. cxd6 exd6 14. d5! c5 15. Bf4! Ne8 16. Ne6!. If 10…d5 “Stonewalling” it, this represents a failure of the black principal idea to play e5 and white simply continues with 11. Bf4! enjoying a nice edge.

Korchnoi has also shown in a related line the idea of Qb3-a3 and then the b-pawn can rush up, defeating Dolmatov in a nice miniature. That game went
1. c4 f5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. g3 d6 4. d4 g6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. O-O O-O 7. Nc3 c6 (not Qe8, but we see Qe8 soon) 8. Qb3 Kh8 9. Rd1 Na6 10. Qa3! Qe8 11. b4! Nc7 12. Bb2 e5 13. dxe5 dxe5 14. Qa5 Na6 15. b5 b6 16. Qa3 Nc5 17. bxc6 e4 18. Nd4 Qf7 19. Rac1 Be6 20. Ncb5 a6 21. Nd6 Qc7 22. Nb7 1-0, Korchnoi-Dolmatov, FIDE WC Candidates, Las Vegas 1999. At the time, this game made a big impression for its consistent positional message.

Lastly, if 8. Qb3 Na6, there is nothing wrong with the thematic move 9. c5+ but it’s not the powerful dagger blow as it is in other lines. After 9…Kh8?! 10. cxd6 exd6 11. Be3 black has an offside knight. More accurate for black is 9…Qf7! 10. Qxf7+ Rxf7 11. Ng5 Rf8 12. c6!? b6 and he should be able to unangle. White can play more abstractly with 9. Bf4!? awaiting events and taking away e5 for the time being.

8…a5 9. Nd4 Na6 10. e4 fxe4 11. Nxe4 Nxe4 12. Bxe4 Bh3 13. Re1 Nc5 14. Bh1 Qf7 15. Be3 Rae8?! The unprejudiced 15…Bf5!, offering a trade of this optically nice bishop, is a good move for black. The text is mechanical and after the upcoming e5 break, white gets some nice squares.

16. Qd2 a4 17. Rad1 e5 18. dxe6 Nxe6 19. Nb5! White has an edge!

19…Qd7 20. f3!? This waiting move I thought was very nice. White shuts down black’s simplifying idea of Bg4 for the time being. But, I had the scary looking 20. Bxb7 c6 21. Nxd6 Rb8 22. Qb4 Nd8 23. Ba7! and the Rybka engine says I can do this, with some advantage.
Correct was 20…Rf7.

21. Nc3 Be6 22. c5?! 22. b3! +=

21…Nf7?! 22…a3! =

23. f4 Bg4 24. Rc1 dxc5? A big lemon. Now white swarms. Better, again, was 24…a3.

25. Qxd7 Bxd7 26. Bxc5 Rxe1+ 27. Rxe1 Rb8? This should have been the decisive blunder. 27…a3 was the last chance. Then, 28. Bxa3 is +=, but not 28. Bxf8?? Kxf8! =.

28. Bd5? White is just hugely better with fantastic piece activity. But I had 28. Re7! first, and if 28…Be8 29. Rxc7 just wins.
28…Bf8 29. Ne4 Bc6 30. Nf6+ Kh8
I get confused by all the possible captures. I start on the right path…

31. Bxf8 Bxd5 32. Bb4?? No!!!! Playing for mate in time-trouble is the wrong thing to do!
Simply 32. Nxd5 Bxd5 33. Re7 and it’s all over, black cannot escape the vice and loses the ending quickly. In the game, black managed to evade the attack and survive!
32..Bxa2 33. Bc3 Rd8 34. Re7 Kg7 35. Rxc7 b5 36. Rb7 Bc4 37. g4
The quiet 37. Kf2! offered better winning chances.

37…h6 38. h4 Rd3? Necessary was Kf8, either with Rd1+ thrown in or without.

This is white’s last chance in the first time control. It’s a problem, white to play and win.

Position after 38…Rd3. Can white solve this tricky problem?

39. g5?? Wrong! White allows black’s trick! The quite beautiful answer was 39. Ne4+ Kf8 (39…Kh7 40. g5! wins) 40. Bf6! setting up a fantastic mating net. if 40…Kg8, 41. Rb8+ Kh7 42. g5! and now 43. Be7 and Nf6+ mating is threatened. Suppose black defends with 42…Rd7. White plays 43. Be7!! anyway! This is worth a diagram.

Position after 43. Be7!! winning (analysis).

All these variations are quite study-like. Another nice one is 39. Ne4+! Kf8 40. Bf6! Ke8 41. Nc5!! hitting the rook, threatening the lethal Rb8+, and winning. Fantastic N & B coordination. I just didn’t have the time to observe all these nice things and forgot to play the knight check in time.

39…hxg5 40. hxg5 40. fxg5 does not seem to make much of a difference.

40…a3! The last move of time control and black finds an equalizing shot! How embittering.
41. Ne4+
Too late for this!

41…Rxc3! 42. bxc3 Bd5 43. Rxb5 Bxe4 44. Ra5 Nd6 45. Rxa3 Kf7 46. Ra5 Ke6 47. Kf2 Nc4 48. Rc5 Bd3 49. Kf3 Kd6 50. Rc8 Kd7 51. Ra8 Kc6 52. Rc8+ Kd7 53. Rf8 Bc2 54. Rf6 Bd3 55. Kf2 Kc7 56. Ra6 Kd7 57. Ra1 Kc6 58. Rd1 Bc2 59. Rd8 Bf5 60. Kg3 As befits a poorly conducted middlegame, it is white now that has to worry.
60…Nd6 61. Kf2 Kc5 62. Ke3 Nb5 63. Ra8 Nxc3 64. Ra5+ Kc4 65. Ra1 Nd5+ 66. Kf3 Kd4 67. Ra4+ Kd3 68. Ra3+ Nc3 69. Rb3 Be4+ 70. Kg4 Kc4 71. Rb8 Nd5 72. Re8 Kd4 73. Re5 Ne3+ 74. Kg3 Nf5+ 75. Kf2 Bd5 76. Re1 Be4 77. Rd1+ Bd3 78. Re1 Be4 1/2-1/2

Postscript – Something Completely Different (Nh3, Nf4)

When Leningrad Specialist Mikhail Gurevich loses a miniature, that is a cause for attention. His opponent, FIDE Women’s ex-WC Stefanova, plays very cleverly in the first phase. This is a way for white to sidestep the main lines we saw above.

[Event “Gibraltar”]
[Site “Gibraltar ENG”]
[EventDate “2008.01.22”]
[Round “2”]
[Result “1-0”]
[White “Antoaneta Stefanova”]
[Black “Mikhail Gurevich”]
[ECO “A81”]
[WhiteElo “2464”]
[BlackElo “2607”]

1. d4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Nh3!? g6 4. Nf4 This knight placement with the idea of a quick h2-h4-h5 makes sense because when black kicks the knight with g5, white has the intermediate move h5-h6! hitting the B/g7 to not give black the time to play himself h7-h6 to keep the pawn chain intact.  Thus the black king side pawn formation will be damaged.

4…Bg7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. h4! Naturally.  h4-h5 will be a problem.

Position after 6. h4!

6…Nc6 6…d6 is also met by 7. h5! – here is some craziness: 7….e5 8. hxg6! exf4 9. gxh7+ Nxh7 (or 9…Kh8 10. Bxf4 with an edge) 10. Bd5+ Kh8 11. Bxf4 with white edge! For example, 11…Nc6 12. e3.

7. h5 g5 8. h6 Bh8 9. Nd3 Nxd4 10. Bxg5 Well, this was the point. Black’s king side is compromised.

10…Ne6 11. Bh4 d5 12. Nd2 c6 13. c4 Ne4 14. cxd5 14. Rc1! was a good alternative here and white retains pressure.

14…cxd5 15. Nf3 Qd6 16. Qb3 Bd7 16…b6 is also possible.

17. Nf4? 17. Rc1 was correct with equal chances.

17…Bc6? Black had the strong 17…N6c5! here and after 18. Qxd5+ Qxd5 19. Nxd5 e6 he is even somewhat better as he will take on b2 next.

18. Nxe6 Qxe6 Curiously, at this stage, black had reasonable defensive chances but soon went under to a tactical trick.

19. Rd1 a5 20. Nd4 Qf7? The unprejudiced 20…Bxd4 21. Rxd4 Rf7! gives the king an escape chance and black has counter-chances.

21. g4 21. Qe3 was also strong.

21…Bxd4 One move too late! White has a huge attack.

22. Rxd4 e5 Black has clearly missed white’s next tactically, but he had no other good moves at this point. He made too many concessions.

23. gxf5! exd4 24. Bxe4 The point! Black’s king has no refuge. After 24…dxe4 25. Qg3+ Kh8 26. Qe5+ is the decisive zig-zag maneuver with Rh1-g1 next.

Rae8 25. Qg3+ Kh8 26. Bd3 b5 27. Qf4 Qa7 28. Qd6 Qf7 29. Rg1 b4 30. Rg7 Qh5 31. Rg8+ 1-0

A crushing defeat inflicted on the veteran by Stefanova, although admittedly there were inaccuracies and black could have completely turned the tables on move 17.

Selected ICC Shouts

Blitzovich(GM) shouts: the study of crime begins with the knowledge of yourself

Finegold notes most people are motivated by achievement… food/sex are ok… but achieving goals and being successful at what you do is more important… ship it!

Detroit-Warrior what do i gotta do to find a hot chess girl??

aries2 googled for “is gasol soft?” and the third link coming back was the name of some chick i met at a vicary party in brooklyn

Chess Art of the Day

This angry picture of “Blokade.”

Search Terms as of June 17, 2008.

These terms were used in searches to stumble across my site.

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The Fabulous 80s: Lugano, Switzerland

October 27, 2007

Nobody can say this site doesn’t have cool photos. Let’s go back to 1984, the Open tournament in the beautiful Swiss-Italian (Tyrolian) Alps town of Lugano, for this classic.


The hoodie guy with his back to the camera is indefatigable, indomitable IM Jay Whitehead. Of course the person he is analyzing with is the one and only GM Viktor Korchnoi. But look at the all-star kibitzers! Ex-World Champ Boris Spassky is seated next to Korchnoi. GM Florin Gheorghiu is standing next to Spassky. Sergey Kudrin is standing between Spassky and Korchnoi. I don’t know who the two fellows behind Kudrin and Gheorghiu are.  The photo is by French photographer Catherine Jaeg. Quite a nice shot, don’t you think?

Why was I playing in this pretty, exotic but rather expensive locale? Because Jay had won enough money for both of us to go with an incredible backgammon streak one evening in New York City. He had gone downtown from our crash pad in Washington Heights and he took a big win away from a Jazz Club owner (I think a famous club, such as Kenny’s Castaways or The Village Gate).  As a spiritual footnote, he had previously informed me that his Hare Krishna temple had given him permission to gamble (his other moniker was Jaya Krishna). When he got back, he woke me up to count the 50’s and 100’s bulging out of every one of his pockets. We were on a flight to Milan, Italy only two days later. So we get to Milan. We transfer to a train that will take us from Italy across Lake Como and on into Switzerland. On this train, I meet a panicky Malcolm Pein in the club car. “Mark, there is the most dreadful fellow on this train!” I asked why and he said “he is going on and on about vegetarian food options in Lugano!” I knew right away this was my patron saint, Jay. Malcolm was feeling probably a wee bit put upon but, amusingly, there were decent vegetarian options in meat-crazed Switzerland. Once we got to Lugano, there were a whole bunch of Brits. Glenn Flear, and many more. They had an economy cottage rental and bought enough groceries for the week – very clever. I was rooming with John Fedorowicz. One day we had a surprise visitor: Spassky. More on this later.

Watch this space for some good Lugano 1984 games, including a win over Dutch blabbermouth Erik Knoppert.  It’s too bad they discontinued this classic annual Open.