Archive for the ‘Countries’ 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.

kramnik 2
icc handle steve odendahl 2
cochrane gambit 2
gyula sax 2
gheorghiu florin 2
transportation of denmark 1
“manuel gerardo monasterio” 1
another country 1983 1
knight chess history 1
modern defense 1

The Fabulous 80s: Columbia U fails to repeat in the 1985 Pan-Am

January 8, 2008

Here’s a funny picture from the Columbia University’s “Daily” newspaper reporting on the Columbia squad’s failure in the 1985 event, held in New Brunswick, NJ (Rutgers U. home town). Click to enlarge.


Man or Building?

The first thing to note: the player on the left, Earl Hall, had the same name as a Columbia University building! I kid you not. “Earl Hall” on campus had a lot of chaplain events. Earl the person was a monster third board and a very strong player (Senior Master strength) who helped us win the 1984 event in Kitchener, Ontario (side note: I recently found the winners page – showing all historical Pan-Am winners). There have been very few Pan-Am’s outside the USA and Columbia took gold in 1984!

To the right of Earl the person, is yours truly. Next we have second board SM Jeremy Barth, then NM Simon Yelsky (I think he went to Joel Benjamin’s high school and we nicknamed him “Old Yeller” for no reason) and finally Leonid Rozhetskin.

Author’s postscript and reflections on the Greater Blogoverse as of January 13, 2008: due to commotions, cross-links and mutters in the Blogoverse, I backtracked on some breadcrumbs and came to realize that Leonid Rozhetskin grew up to be an international legal and investment celebrity and is now head of a major film production company. He, along with Eric Eisner, son of ex-Disney chair Michael Eisner, co-founded L+E Productions and their “Hamlet 2” production, starring Elizabeth Shue and Catherine Keener, made it into Sundance. It’s funny how when I mention a name, disturbances in the blogoverse quickly (within 24-48 hours) alert me to the fame or infamy of the mentioned individual. Often times, it’s the individual or minions thereof mentioning my site in their context – certainly, ego-surfing is a popular pastime that spans all ages and socio-economic boundaries. But if a minion ego-surfs on behalf of his or her master (mistress?), what is that called, minion-surfing? At any rate, a hearty round of applause for Leonid who has seen a heady ascent from “Columbia’s last board” to Very Important Societal Personage.

We were the highest rated in the 1985 version, but as the article points out, “one of our players was so convinced he had a winning game he hallucinated a piece away.” Well, that player was me and my bungle was versus University of Florida’s Miles Ardaman. But any press is good press, right? Right.

And on an unrelated 1980s matter, here are some 1980s photographs.


From left: Jan Adamski, Gabor Pirisi, and the author.

This was the August 1985 Eeklo, Belgium prizegiving. From left: IM Jan Adamski (POL), IM Gabor Pirisi (HUN), and me. Pirisi has an odd-looking trophy! I was lucky enough to defeat Pirisi in short-order in the IM round-robin as black when he played too riskily versus a Sicilian Scheveningen. Note the 1980’s hair style and glasses. I don’t know who took this photograph.

IM G. Pirisi – IM M. Ginsburg ECI 1987 Eeklo, Belgium

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Be3 a6 7. g4!? A Hungarian specialty that Judith Polgar has used many times, for example to defeat Kazimzhdanov in Morales, Mexico WC Candidates 2006.


Position after 7. g4. A Hungarian Specialty.

7…h6 8. Qf3 Nc6 Risky is 8… Nbd7 9. Qh3 Nc5 (better may be 9…e5!? 10. Nb3; not 10. Nf5? g6 11. Ng3 Nb6 12. Be2 h5 13. Qh4 Be7! and black won in Ermenkov-Polugaevsky, Buenos Aires 1978) 10. f3 e5 11. Nb3 Be6 12. Nxc5 dxc5 13. Qg3 Be7 14. h4 Qa5 15. Qxe5 O-O-O 16. Bc4 Bd6 17. Bxe6+ Kb8 18. Qf5 fxe6 19. Qxe6 Rhe8 20. Qf7 Nd5 21. O-O-O Nxe3 22. Rxd6 Rf8 23. Qxg7 Rxf3 24. Qe5 Rxd6 25. Qxd6+ Ka7 26. Qd3 Rg3 27. Ne2 Nf5 28. Nxg3 and white won, 1-0 Sax,G (2550)-Tukmakov,V (2570)/Las Palmas 1978. If Vladimir loses, take notice, the variation is dangerous.

9. Rg1 Bd7!? Playable but risky is 9…g5!? 10. O-O-O Bd7 11. h4 Rg8 12. Qe2 Ne5 13. Bh3 (white was ultimately successful with 13. hxg5!? hxg5 14. Nf3 in Dominguez-Bruzon, Las Tunas 2001, 1-0, 57) 13…b5 14. f4 gxf4 15. Bxf4 b4 16. Nb1 Ng6 17. Bg3 Qa5 18. Qf3 Be7 19. e5 Nd5 20. Rgf1 Rf8 21. exd6 Bxh4 22. Bxh4 Nxh4 and drawn in 42, Ermenkov,E-Suba,M/Baile Herculane 1978. The text is definitely a slower and more sedate approach, that is unexpectedly rewarded quickly in this game.

10. h4 h5 11. g5?! Not very good. Better is 11. gxh5 Rxh5 (11… Nxh5 12. O-O-O Rc8 13. Nxc6 Bxc6 14. Bd4 b5 15. Bd3 b4 16. Ne2 Bb7 17. Kb1 with a white plus) 12. Nxc6 Bxc6 13. Bg5 Rh8 14. O-O-O Be7 15. Qe3 Qc7 16. Bh3 b5 17. f3 Bb7 18. Kb1 Rc8 19. Rg2 b4 20. Nd5 exd5 21. Bxc8 Bxc8 22. exd5 Bf5 23. Re2 and white went on to win, 1-0 Blees,A (2415)-Rytshagov,M (2495)/Antwerp 1996.

11… Ng4! 12. Bh3? Another bad move. Black now executes a dance of the knights with much gain of time.

12… Nce5 13. Qe2 Nxe3 14. Qxe3?  White had to play the ugly 14. fxe3.

14…Qb6! Now white is totally lost! Black has too many threats, including the primitive fork-trick he executes in the game.


Position after 14…Qb6. White has no defense.

15. g6 The best white had was the sad 15. Nce2 Qxb2 16. Qc1 Qxc1+ and wins, or the slightly trickier 15. Rd1 Nc4 16. Qf3 Nxb2 17. Rd2 Nc4 18. g6!? O-O-O! 19. Rd1 Ne5! and wins.  If 15. O-O-O Nc4,white can keep playing with 16. Na4 (forced) Bxa4 17. Qc3, but after 17…Ne5 18. g6 Bd7 19. gxf7+ Kxf7 20. f4 Nc6 21. Nf3 Ke8 22. Ng5 Rh6! black consolidates the extra piece and wins.

15. ..Qxd4! Weirdly, white was lost even before 15. g6. He now loses a piece for no compensation, so the game is effectively over.

16. gxf7+ Kd8 17. Qg5+ Kc7 18. Rg3 Nxf7 19. Qf4 Ne5 20. Rd1 Qb6 21. Qg5 Rh6 22. Ne2 Rc8 23. f4 Nf7 24. Rc3+ Kb8 0-1

Let’s move on to a picture from Lugano, 1984.


Lematchko-Sax, Lugano, 1984

Moving back a year to Lugano, Switzerland 1984, we have Tatiana Lematchko (WGM, Bulgaria) on the left battling future WC Candidate Hungarian GM Gyula Sax. Photo by intrepid Frenchwoman Catherine Jaeg.

The Fabulous 80s: Fun and Chess in Eeklo Belgium

November 16, 2007

Belgium has always been a nice place to play. Eeklo is in Flemish Belgium (Dutch language, no French) nestled near the Dutch border (Sas van Gent, Holland, has been another location for the event). It is slightly larger than the proverbial one-horse town that would be a one-horse town if somebody gave it a horse. In the center of town, there was a cafe with the crowd-pleasing “crevette salade” – very yummy.

Here is a battle versus future GM Danny King in the Eeklo, Belgium ECI International. There is also a concomitant ECI Youth Open. Luminaries who have played in this event in years past include John van der Wiel, David Goodman, Pavel Blatny, Philipp Schlosser, Ferdinand Hellers, Erik Pedersen, and more!

Danny King – IM M. Ginsburg ECI 1983 Eeklo, Belgium

1. Nf3 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. g3 Nf6 4. Bg2 O-O 5. O-O d6 6. c4 Nbd7 7. Nc3 e5 8. h3 c6 9. e4 Re8 10. Re1 exd4 11. Nxd4 a5 Needless to say white has good chances to gain an edge starting from here, but white’s next few moves seem tentative.

12. Rb1 Nc5 13. b3 Nh5 14. Be3 Be5!? White can’t repel with f4 because the g3 pawn would be hanging. The text sets up an unusual re-arrangement to keep black’s piece activity alive, but in retrospect it’s a little dubious.


15. Qd2 Ne6 16. Nde2?! 16. Nxe6 Bxe6 17. g4! is a strong idea. Black is running severely short of space after 17…Ng7 18. f4 Bf6 19. g5 Be7.

16…Qf6 17. Rbc1?! And here, 17. Na4! eyeing b6 is strong. Sometimes it’s best to simply vacate the a1-h8 diagonal in King’s Indian structures, leaving black’s pieces pointing at nothing.

17… g5! 18. Rf1 If 18. Na4 now, black has 18…Nhf4! (not 18…Nef4? 19. Nb6!) with counterchances.


I have managed to totally confuse the strong captain of the white forces with my unusual play. This move prohibits white’s agenda with f2-f4 in the most radical way and cements black’s advantage. A classic example of two sides each pursuing their own agenda, almost unmindful of the other, with one side arriving slightly earlier at the goal.


19. g4 Ng7 20. Ng3 h5 21. f3 Nge6?! 21…hxg4 22. fxg4 Qh6! is strong.

22. Nce2! White hunkers down an plays a set of optically horrific moves, but in fact they are strong and limit black’s pull to a minimum.

22… hxg4?! Stronger is the immediate 22…Qh8! – it is careless to let white operate on the f-file right away.

23. fxg4 Qh8 24. Bxf4 Nxf4 25. Nxf4 Bxf4


26. Rxf4!? White is doing his best to stay afloat.

26…gxf4 27. Nh5 Qe5 28. Rf1 Re6! A very useful transfer of the rook for offensive and defensive purposes. See the note to black’s 32nd move for how I should have to used this rook to get at white’s king.

29. Rxf4 Rg6 Of course there is some risk that the rook will wind up stranded here with nothing to do – which occurred in the game after I made a mistake!

30. Qf2 Be6 31. h4? A major mistake. This is tactically playable due to the fork on f6 but it’s much too optimistic and now black should win. Correct was 31. Nf6+ Kg7 32. Nh5+ Kf8 33. Qb6! with counterplay; for example 33…Qc5+ 34. Qxc5 dxc5 35. e5! and white is OK.

31…a4! This calm reply puts white in a lost game.

32. b4 A desperate bid at counterplay. If black opens the a-file for the rook it will all be over very soon.

32…c5? First of all, 32…a3! keeps a huge edge. Secondly, I must have been scared of the obvious capture 32…Bxc4! 33. Qb6 Qe7? 34. Qd4, but I had a brilliant sequence here: 32…Bxc4! 33. Qb6 Kh8! 34. Qxb7 Rag8! (every piece attacking) 35. g5 Qc3! 36. Qxc6 Qe3+! 37. Rf2 Qe1+! 38. Bf1 Rxg5+!! and mate in 9! The text doesn’t throw away black’s edge, but it’s third-best. It would have been very nice (for me) to snatch the pawn and then find the mating variation, but it was not on my radar at the time.

33. bxc5 Qxc5?

A big blunder after a small blunder that destroys my hopes of winning. Correct is 33…dxc5! keeping the blockade and black has every chance to win. For example, 34. Nf6+ Kg7 35. g5 Bxc4 36. Rf5 Qd4 with a small black edge. If I converted, this would give me first place in the tournament and relegate Danny to 2nd.

34. Qxc5 dxc5 35. e5 Kh8 36. Nf6 Rd8 37. Bd5!


White has skillfully bottled black up – a consequence of my little miscue at move 32 and big miscue at move 33 which released the blockade.

37…Kg7 38. g5 Bxd5 39. cxd5 b5 40. Kf1 c4 41. Ke2 At adjournment we decided to call it quits, although white now has a huge positional bind. It clinched tournament victory for Danny.


And so Danny captured 1st place and I finished 2nd, to the delight of his Belgian lady cheering section.

Ths game reminds me of the famous quote by Lord Alfred Tennyson (good for barking out after any draw):

“Faultily faultless, icily regular, splendidly null,
Dead perfection; no more. “

That was the result of the game – a big fat null.

Since chess players need culture, a picture of Lord Tennyson to go with his great quote:

Jumping ahead to the end of the decade, here is a battle versus Marjan Mitkov from the same event, 1989. I think he may be the brother of GM Nikola Mitkov who resides in the USA.

Marjan Mitkov – Mark Ginsburg ECI 1989 King’s Indian 4 Pawns Attack

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Be2 O-O 6. f4 c5 7. d5 b5 8. cxb5 a6 9. Nf3? This allows a simple trick.

9…axb5 10. Bxb5 Nxe4! 11. Nxe4 Qa5+ 12. Nc3 Bxc3+ 13. bxc3 Qxb5 14. Kf2 Qc4! Freezing white’s weak pawns.


Position after 14…Qc4! 

15. Qd2 Bb7 16. Re1 Re8 17. a3 Bxd5 18. Qe3 Bxf3?  There is no reason to give up this strong bishop.

19. Qxf3 d5 20. f5 Nd7 21. Bg5 e5 22. Qh3 Qa4 23. Kg1 f6 24. fxg6 hxg6 25. Qd3 Kg7 26. Bd2 Qc6 27. c4 d4 Well, it looks really awful for white anyway.  Nevertheless, he succeeds in finding chances!


 Position after 27…d4.  White finds some chances.

28. Re4 f5 29. Rh4 Rh8 30. Qh3 Rxh4 31. Qxh4 Nf6
32. Qh6+ Kf7 33. Rf1 Rxa3 34. g4!
White is not quitting and the game gets very exciting in mutual time trouble.


 Position after 34. g4! – Excitement!

34…fxg4 35. Qh7+ Ke6 36. Qxg6 Rf3 37. Ra1 e4 38. Bg5 Ke5 39. Ra7 e3 40. Re7+ Kd6 41. Bxf6 White has gained a piece in the time scramble.


Position after 41. Bxf6 – White is up a piece after the time control.
41…Rf1+!  But black finds an aesthetic shot that forces mate!

42. Kxf1 Qf3+ 0-1

This combination was very satisfying to play because it was at the tail-end of a series of blows and counter-blows.

Photo Time

From the 1985 ECI Eeklo event (I won the IM section ahead of future GM Ferdinand Hellers), here is the USA junior representative, Revi Schea.


USA Junior representative Revi Schea, Eeklo Belgium 1985

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.

The Classic 2000s: Chess in Switzerland

September 15, 2007

The Swiss “A” Teams are quite strong. Featuring players from the German and French leagues, the major cities such as Biel, Bern, and Zurich have well-known players like Robert Huebner, Andrey Sokolov, Lothar Vogt, home-grown talent Yannick Pelletier, and more. Six person matches take place on weekends and it’s very pleasant going around Switzerland on a train sightseeing. I got to play legend Dr. Robert Huebner in this league (and lose a long ending), when I dig up that game score I will post it at the end of this article.

Here are some games from my year 2000 League experience. My ‘Riehen’ club is a suburb of Basel. On our squad we also had strong 2500-player Roland Ekstrom (originally from Sweden).

NM Yvan Masserey (Geneva) vs Mark Ginsburg (Riehen)
Switzerland “Mannschaft Meisterschaft” A

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. Be2 Nf6 7. O-O Bb4 8. Qd3 Bxc3 9. bxc3 d6 An unusual sideline. Black forfeits the two bishops to gain some structural advantage.

10. Qg3 O-O


11. Bh6 Ne8 Although it looks weird, this is all part of the program. Black is OK.

12. a4 Nd7 13. Nb3 Ndf6 14. Bd3 e5 15. Bd2 Be6 16. a5 Rc8 17. Ra4 Qe7 18. Qh4 Rc7 19. f4 Now black simplifies, to reduce white’s attacking chances.


19… Ng4! 20. Qg3 exf4 21. Rxf4 Nef6 22. Nd4 Things look scary but black has a resource.


22… Nh5! 23. Nxe6 Nxg3 24. Nxc7 Qxc7 25. Rxg4 Nh5 26. Rg5 Nf6 27. Rc4 Qe7 28. Rf5 g6 29. Rf1 Ng4 30. Rb4 Qe5 31. Bf4 Qc5+ 32. Rd4 Ne5 33. Kh1 Qxc3 34. Rxd6 Nxd3 35. cxd3 Qxa5 36. Bh6


36… Rd8 37. e5 Rxd6 38. exd6 f6 39. Rc1 Kf7 40. h3 g5 41. Rc7+ Ke6 42. Bf8 b5 43. Rxh7 Qd8 44. Be7 Fortunately for me the white rook is in trouble so finally I am able to bring the point home for my team and we win narrowly, 3 1/2 – 2 1/2.


44… Qg8! 45. Rh6 Qg7 46. Rh5 b4 0-1


Not every game went this smoothly.

In the next game, my opponent came all the way up to Basel from the Italian-Swiss Alps, home to the picturesque towns of Locarno and Lugano.

IM Mark Ginsburg (Riehen) vs IM Renzo Mantovani (Locarno)
Switzerland Team A 2000

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. d4 d5 3. c4 e6 4. g3 Be7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O dxc4 7. Qa4 Bd7 8. Qxc4 Bc6 9. Nc3 Nbd7 10. Rd1 Nb6 11. Qd3 Na4 12. Ne5 Bxg2 13. Kxg2 Nxc3 14. bxc3 c5 15. Qf3 Qd5 16. Rb1 cxd4 17. cxd4 b6 18. Nc6 Bd6 19. Bf4 Rfc8 20. Rbc1 Ba3 21. Rc2 Qxf3+ 22. Kxf3 Nd5

White is a little better here. But watch what happens!

23. e4 Nxf4 24. gxf4 Kf8 25. Rd3 Bd6

I declined a draw around here, determined to press for a win on behalf of my squad.

26. d5 exd5 27. exd5 Rc7 28. a4 Re8 29. Re3 Bc5 30. Re5 Bd6 31. Re3 Bc5 32. Re5 Rd7 33. Ke4 g6 34. Rxe8+ Kxe8 35. Re2 Kf8 36. Ne5? f5+!

Oh no! This was not part of the plan. I lose miserably.

37. Kd3 Rxd5+ 38. Kc4 Rd4+ 39. Kb5 Rxf4 40. Nd3 a6+ 41. Kxa6 Rxa4+ 42. Kb5 Rh4 43. f4 Bg1 0-1 My team captain was not happy. We lost the match as well.


Moving on to Swiss “Swisses” (heh), we have these games:

GM Attila Groszpeter vs Mark Ginsburg
2000 Lenk Open, Lenk, Switzerland

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Bd3 Qb6 6. Nb3 Qc7 7. O-O Nf6 8. Kh1 Be7 9. f4 d6 10. Nc3 Nc6 11. Qf3 O-O 12. Bd2 Bd7 13. Rae1 Nb4! 14. Nd1 Nxd3 15. cxd3 a5 16. Ne3 a4

Black is fine here. But I get careless!

17. Nd4 a3 18. b3 Qb6 19. Ndc2 Qa6 20. Qe2 Bb5 21. Nb4 Qb6 22. Nc4 Qd8 23. Bc3 d5 24. exd5 Nxd5 25. Nxd5 Qxd5 26. Qg4 g6 27. Qh3 Rad8 28. f5 Bg5 29. Qg3 Be7 30. f6 Bc5 31. Re5 Bxc4 32. Rxd5 Bxd5 33. Be5 Rfe8 34. h3 Bc6 35. d4 Bb4

I almost have a blockade – not quite.

36. Qe3 Bd5 37. Rc1 Rc8 38. Kh2 Rc6 39. Rxc6 Bxc6 40. Qf4 Rd8 41. d5! Rxd5 42. Qxb4 Rxe5 43. Qd6



And after that loss, I went on to score a few wins, then I had this big game versus a world-class player, a former FIDE Candidate:


IM Mark Ginsburg (2402) – GM Andrei Sokolov (2565)

Lenk 2000


1. c4 e6 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. d4 b6 4. Nc3 Bb7 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 g5 7. Bg3 Nh5 8. Be5 I decide to “punish” the famous GM. It’s not so easy!

8…f6 9. Qd3 fxe5 10. Qg6+ Ke7 11. Qxh5 exd4 12. Nxd4 Bg7 Black is fine. But I should not lose immediately!

13. O-O-O? Qf8! I didn’t notice that move!  

14. Qg6 Bxd4! 15. Rxd4 Nc6! I totally underestimated this sequence also.

16. Re4?? This is even worse. 16. Rd2 is necessary with a bad game.

16…Re8 17. f3 Kd8 18. Qh5 Qc5 19. h4 Ne5 20. hxg5 Bxe4


This is not the way to win a prize in a strong Swiss!


The Classic 2000s: Battling the Hedgehog

September 15, 2007

The Hedgehog is a prickly animal. Let’s see a couple of aggressive anti-Hedgehog systems which I’ve tried vs NMs, IMs, and GMs alike.

IM Mark Ginsburg vs NM Teddy Coleman

2006 World Open, Philadelphia, PA

1. c4 c5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 e6 4. g3 b6 5. Bg2 Bb7 6. O-O Be7 7. Re1 d6 This is the mainline Hedgehog where White has fianchettoed his king bishop. See the next game for a different idea, the placement of the Bishop on d3 (only possible in certain move orders). 7…d5 is a solid move here and worthy of serious attention. It is good to learn those positions as a nice change of pace because black gets a much bigger piece of the center than usual.


8. e4 a6 9. d4 cxd4 10. Nxd4 Qc7 11. Be3 O-O 12. Rc1 Nbd7 13. f4
The only way to try to punish black is by grabbing this space. Needless to say, white should not spend time guarding the c-pawn which is immune for the moment.


13… Rfd8?! Unnatural. 13…Rfe8!? is a better rook move; white should then react similarly with 14. g4. However, the strongest according to current thinking is 13…h5!? It’s very strange to move a pawn in front of one’s king, but black argues that it’s more important to hold up the g4 advance. After 13…h5!? 14. h3 Rfe8 15.f5 Bd8!? black holds on. White can play more sharply with 13…h5!? 14. f5!? but black again retains decent chances with 14…Ng4! – as of this writing, 13…h5!? has not been refuted.

14. g4!? Black’s minor pieces are in a tangle and white wants to push them around. Strangely, the move 14. f5! may be stronger here. White gets a clear plus after 14…e5 15. Nd5.

14…Nc5 15. Bf2 d5? This move, always a possibility in Hedgehogs, doesn’t work here for tactical reasons. 15…Nfd7 was necessary; 16. b4 Nf8!? awaiting events.

16. exd5 Qxf4 17. Bg3? 17. b4 is a clean win. 17…Qxg4 18. bxc5 Bxc5 19. Na4! finishes it.

17…Qxg4 18. b4


18… Qxd1? The last chance was 18…Qg6 19. bxc5 Bxc5 but after 20. Na4!, white should win.

19. Rcxd1 Ncd7 20. d6! Very obvious but an important tactical motif to remember.

20…Bxd6 21. Bxb7 Bxb4 22. Nc6 Bxc3 23. Re3 Ba5 24. Nxd8?! 24. Red3! is the correct move, winning quickly.

24…Rxd8 25. Red3 b5 26. cxb5! There was a chance to go wrong here: 26. c5?? Nd5! and black escapes.

26…axb5 27. Bc6 A fatal pin. Black wriggles a little more but it’s over.


27… Bb6+ 28. Bf2 Bxf2+ 29. Kxf2 Ng4+ 30. Kg3 Nge5 31. Rxd7 Nxd7 32. Bxb5


Here’s a similar story with a similar happy ending from Switzerland (Lenk) 2000.


IM Ginsburg – NM F. Epiney Lenk 2000

1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 c5 3. Nf3 e6 4. g3 b6 5. Bg2 Bb7 6. O-O a6 7. Re1 d6 8. e4 Be7 9. d4 cxd4 10. Nxd4 Qc7 11. Be3 Nbd7 12. Rc1 O-O 13. f4 Rac8 Diverging from the Coleman game above.

14. g4  The immediate 14. f5 e5 15. Nd5 Qd8 is not particularly effective.  White has to try the text to get somewhere.

14…Rfd8?  This is weak.  But 14…Nc5 does not help matters after 15. Bf2. For example, 14..Nc5 15. Bf2 h5 16. gxh5 Kh7 17. b4 Ncd7 18. e5 dxe5 19. fxe5 Ng8 20. h6 Nxh6 21. Ndb5 axb5 22. Nxb5 Qb8 23. Qxd7 Bxg2 24. Qxe7 Bc6 25. Nd6 Nf5 26. Nxf5 exf5 27. Qh4+ Kg8 28. Rc3 and wins.  Another logical try, 14…g6, is met by 15. g5 Nh5 (15…Ne8 is passive, for example 16. Bh3 Ng7 17. f5! with a large edge) 16. f5 Ne5 17. b3 Qd7 18. Bh3! and white has a big plus.

15. g5! Ne8 16. f5!  Of course. Once black gives up the key light squares, it’s all over.

16…exf5 17. Nd5 Bxd5 18. cxd5 Qb7 19. Nc6  Ne5 20. exf5 Rd7 21. Bf4 f6 22. Bxe5 fxe5 23. f6!  Total paralysis.

23…gxf6 24. Qg4 f5 25. Qxf5 Ng7 26. Nxe7+ Rxe7 27. Rxc8+ 1-0

A very smooth and effortless victory.

Things are not always so easy. IM Roussel-Roozman tried the same approach vs IM (GM-elect) Jesse Kraai and lost. (in the …h5 line).


Here’s a wild affair where I battled veteran GM Leonid Yudasin in a related line.

However, in this line I put my KB on d3 and I don’t fianchetto it – an extra opportunity white gets in the move order Yudasin adopted.


IM Mark Ginsburg – GM Leonid Yudasin World Open 2003

1. c4 c5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 b6 4. e4! d6 5. d4 cxd4 6. Nxd4 Bb7 7. Bd3! This is the more aggressive formation white can get, exploiting black’s slow first moves.

7…Nbd7 8. O-O e6 9. Qe2 Be7 10. b3 O-O 11. Bb2 a6

11..Ne5!? 12. Bc2 Ng6!? is an interesting possibility to ‘change the usual course of events’.

12. f4 Re8 13. Rad1 Qc7 14. Kh1 Bf8 15. Nf3! White is getting his pieces to very dangerous squares; every piece is working which is nice when one has attacking ambitions.

15…g6 This position has been seen before. I didn’t know that; if I did, I might have known the right move!

This is the key moment.


16. Bb1? No!!! The right move is 16. e5! Nh5 17. Be4! ignoring the knight attack on f4. White is better in all lines. This was proven in Ambroz-Summermatter, Bad Ragaz 1997. Black played 17…d5 18. exd5 Nxf4 19. Qd2 and white was better and went on to win. Note that 16. e5 dxe5? 17. fxe5 Nh5 18. Be4! is even worse; and after 17. Be4! Nxf4?? is a gross blunder due to 18. exd6! winning in all lines (18…Bxd6?? 19. Qd2 wins right away). It is very important to remember this positionally very strong maneuver (e5 clearance then Be4).

16…Rad8! Black consolidates, defusing e4-e5. White lost his chance.

17. Ng5 Bg7 18. e5 dxe5 19. fxe5 Nxe5 20. Rxd8 20. Nb5!? right away is interesting.

20…Rxd8 21. Nb5 axb5 22. Bxe5 Qe7 23. cxb5 h6 24. Nf3 Qc5 Black is fine now, and white has less time. Not a pleasant situation.

25. Qc4? Not good. However, there were no easy ways to play.

25…Qxc4 26. bxc4 Rc8 27. Bd3 Nd7 28. Bd6 Nc5 29. Bxc5 Rxc5 30. Nd2 Rc8 31. Nb3 Rd8 32. Rd1 Bf8 Black has a really nice and solid ending advantage now. White does not offer very serious resistance.

33. Be2 Ra8 34. Rd2 Bb4! 35. Rb2 Be4! Accurate.

36. Bf3 Rd8 37. Kg1 Bd3 38. c5 bxc5 39. b6 Bc3 40. Rf2 c4! White has no hope left.

41. Nc5 Bd4 42. Nxd3 Bxb6 43. Kf1 Bxf2 44. Nxf2 c3 45. Be4 Rd2 46. Ke1 f5 47. Bd3 Rxa2 48. Bc4 Rxf2 0-1

A good technical ending by Yudasin but disappointing for me because I bungled a promising attacking position.

Let’s see a third game, from a Swiss in Switzerland (!), where this setup did better.

Mark Ginsburg vs Thomas Saladin
Lenk Open 2000, Lenk Switzerland

Lenk is a very pretty postcard-type town high in the Swiss Alps. The 2000 event saw Tukmakov, Gheorghiu, Grozpeter, and a host of other strong players competing for not so much cash, but it definitely was a good time. I was working in Basel at the time.

1. c4 c5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 b6 4. e4 d6 5. d4 cxd4 6. Nxd4 Bb7 7. Bd3! I get my preferred set-up.

7…e6 8. O-O


8… Nc6?! 8…Nbd7, as in the Yudasin game, is to be preferred. White now gains time to further his plans.

9. Nxc6! Bxc6 10. b3 a6 11. Bb2 Be7 12. Qe2 Bb7 13. f4! O-O


14. Rf3 g6 15. Rh3 Nd7 16. a4! White keeps black bottled up.

16…Bf6 17. Rd1 Rc8 By simple means, white has acquired a large advantage – space and initiative.


18. Bc2 Qc7 19. Rhd3 Black cannot meet well this regrouping.

19…Be7 20. e5! d5 Desperation already; this move is refuted.

21. cxd5 exd5 22. Rxd5 Bxd5 23. Nxd5 Bc5+ 24. Kh1 Qc6 25. Be4 Qe6 26. b4 Bxb4 27. Nxb4 Qc4 28. Bd3 Qxb4 29. e6! A nice breakthrough.

29…Nc5 30. e7! Excelsior!

30…Rfe8 31. Qe5 f6


32. Qxf6! This quickly forces mate.

32…Rxe7 33. Qh8+ Kf7 34. Qg7+ Ke8 35. Bxg6+ 1-0

Isn’t it funny how a good setup versus a GM sometimes doesn’t do as well as the same setup versus a lesser light? Well, sometimes it works. Here’s a quick win over D. Gurevich in the Milwaukee, WI G/30 champs, 2002.

IM Ginsburg – GM D. Gurevich G/30 Milwaukee WI 12/02

1. c4 c5 2. Nf3 b6 3. Nc3 Bb7 4. e4 d6 5. d4 cxd4 6. Nxd4 Nf6
7. Bd3! e6 8. O-O Nbd7 9. Qe2 a6 10. b3 Be7 11. Bb2 O-O
12. Rad1 Re8 13. f4 Bf8?
Careless. In this G/30 encounter, black simply forgets his N is embarrassed after white’s next.

14. e5 dxe5 15. fxe5 Bc5 16. Na4! The motif we know from the Coleman game, above. Black’s game is hopeless.

16…Nxe5 17. Qxe5 Bd6 18. Qe2 Qc7 19. Rxf6! In G/30, it’s better to force matters and keep the initiative to make sure no surprises happen.

19…Bxh2+ 20. Kh1 Qg3 21. Rxf7! It’s always pleasant to continue to take things with an en prise piece.

21…Kxf7 22. Qh5+ Ke7 23. Qxh2 Qxh2+ 24. Kxh2 1-0


Summary: if white plays aggressively versus the Hedgehog, there are good chances to cause concrete defensive problems early on – a good thing!

The Fabulous 00s: The Politiken Cup 2000

August 14, 2007

Let’s get the weird news out of the way first. I’m in the electronic Time magazine (online version) submitting a question for Sir Ben Kingsley! OK that’s done. Let’s move on to the photos.

It’s Maiken! Also known as Quote on ICC, photo Copenhagen Denmark in the year 2000 by the author of these pages. This photo was taken during the tough Politiken Open chess tournament.


Watch this space, I will post some interesting games from the Politiken Cup, including an abject disaster vs GM Tiger Hillarp-Persson.

Here’s a good one, GM Nick DeFirmian from this 2000 Politiken Cup in Copenhagen, fetching some beer (perhaps during his game with me in which he improved his personal score versus me to 2-0). What a nice tournament! I went broke after one week though – expensive town.


Here’s a tough battle versus a veteran Danish master.

NM Jorgen Hvenekilde – IM Mark Ginsburg

Politiken Cup 2000, Round 5 Modern Defense

1. d4 g6 2. e4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. Be3 a6!? This move is approved in GM Hillarp-Person’s Modern Defense book.

5. Qd2 b5 6. O-O-O Bb7 7. f3 7. h4 first is interesting.

7…Nd7 8. g4 The developing 8. Nh3!? comes into consideration.

8…c5 9. Nge2 Rc8 10. h4 b4! Clearly white has played inaccurately because already black is more comfortable.

11. Nb1 Ngf6!? The cat and mouse maneuver 11…Qa5!? 12. a3 Qc7!? is interesting. The text prepares a speculative sacrifice.

12. h5 Nxe4! Having said “A”, black has to say “B”. The situation is quite unclear.

13. fxe4 Bxe4 14. Rh2 Bxc2! 15. Re1?? A gross blunder. White must play 15. Qxc2 cxd4 16. Nxd4 Rxc2+ 17. Rxc2 with counter-chances.

15…Be4?? A blunder in reply. Black wins with the obvious 15…cxd4 16. Nxd4 Ba4+ 17. Nc3 bxc3 18. bxc3 Qa5.

16. d5! Of course. White prevents the opening of the c-file and should turn the tables.

16…Qa5 17. Ng3 Bf3 18. Bh6? 18. Bf4! is correct with a big plus.

18…Be5 19. Rxe5! dxe5 White’s counter-sacrifice clarifies the situation and it’s about equal.

20. Be2? Yet another blunder. 20. d6! is OK for white and so is 20. hxg6 hxg6 21. Bg5.

20…Bxe2 21.Rxe2 Qxa2 Now black is simply winning.

22. Ne4 Qc4+ 23. Kd1 If 23. Qc2 Qxc2+ 24. Kxc2, black has the crushing 24…Rg8! and wins.

23… f5! 24. gxf5 gxf5 25. Ng5 Rg8! A perfect square. White has no moves left.

26. Rf2 Nf6 27. Qe2 Qxd5+ 28. Nd2 c4 29. Rxf5 c3 30. bxc3 bxc3


Not all games in Denmark went this well. Here’s a complete debacle in which I throw away a winning game versus GM Tiger Hillarp-Persson. We both played well under our strengths, and I managed to try harder to give the game away.

IM M. Ginsburg – GM T. Hillarp-Persson

Politiken Cup.  Colle System. 

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. Bg5 Bg7 4. Nbd2 d5 5. e3 c5 6. c3 Ne4? An outright blunder. Moving the same piece twice gives white a simple reaction that leaves black with a dreadful game.

7. Nxe4 dxe4 8. Nd2 cxd4 9. exd4 f5 10. f3 10. Bc4 is also very good as black can’t get his pieces out easily. Here’s an amusing line: 10…Nc6 11. O-O h6 12. Bh4 g5 13. Qh5+ Kd7 14. Bg3 f4 15. Bxf4! gxf4 16. Qg4+ picking up the bishop on g7 and winning.

10…h6 11. Bf4 O-O 12. Bc4+ Kh7 13. fxe4 fxe4 14. O-O All should be well; white is completely winning as the pawn falls. It’s not usually the case that it’s so easy to achieve a crushing position versus a Grandmaster.

14…Nc6 15. Nxe4 Qb6 16. Bd3?? What an awful blunder. 16. Qb3 and black has less than nothing for the pawn minus. I cannot explain why 16. Qb3 was not one of my candidate moves.

16…e5! Of course. Black is fine now.

17. Be3 Bf5 18. g4 exd4 19. cxd4 19. gxf5 dxe3 20. fxg6+ Kh8 21. Rxf8+ Rxf8 22. Qb3 was another way to play. The text is probably somewhat stronger.

19…Be6 20. Nc5? 20. Rxf8 first was correct.

20…Rxf1+ 21. Qxf1 Nxd4 22. Bxg6+ Kh8 White is left with a lost game. What a total botch!

23. Rc1 Bxg4 24. Bd3 Rc8 25. Qf4 Ne2+? The comedy of errors continues. Correct is 25…Nf3+ 26. Kh1 Qxb2! 27. Rb1 Qxa2 28. Rxb7 Qa1+ 29. Rb1 Qe5 and black is winning.

26. Bxe2 Bxe2 27. Bd4 Now white is more or less OK again. He just has to worry a little about a loose king.

27…Qg6+ 28. Kf2 Bg4 29. Rc3 There’s a nice tactical detail here. The apparently strong 29. Rg1 h5 30. h3 is met by the stunning 30…Rc7!!.

Rd8 30. Be5 Kh7? Correct is 30…Kg8!.

31. Ne4! Rd7 32. Ke3? A last blunder in time trouble. All I had to do in mild trouble was find the rather elementary 32. Bxg7 Kxg7 33. Qe5+! (Centralizing!) Kf7 34. b4 and white is fine.

34…Rf7 Oops!

0-1  A very poorly played game.