Posts Tagged ‘Baburin’

The Fabulous 10s: Chess Today, a daily chess newspaper

June 4, 2011

Chess Today – an Inbox Chess Tidbit Every Day!

I want to make sure everyone is aware of Chess Today, a daily electronic chess bulletin.  GM Baburin founded it, and GM Golubev also contributes analysis many times.  For a very low subscription price, people can follow current news and also get chess biographies.

An excellent daily treat in the inbox!  In addition, every month, a ChessBase archive file is sent out with all the games for the month, so readers can import them easily into ChessBase or some other database.

Here’s a brief sample from today’s newsletter.  GM Leonid Yurtaev passed away recently (1959 – 2011) and here is a very interesting win of his in the King’s Indian. GM Mikhail Golubev supplies the notes in the Chess Today edition but I removed them and just added a few of my own.

[Event “Riga”]
[Site “Riga URS”]
[Date “1988.??.??”]
[Round “?”]
[White “Tukmakov, Vladimir”]
[Black “Yurtaev, Leonid”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “E68”]
[WhiteElo “2590”]
[BlackElo “2485”]
[Annotator “Mikhail Golubev (”]
[PlyCount “52”]
[EventDate “1988.??.??”]
[EventType “tourn”]
[EventRounds “16”]
[EventCountry “URS”]
[Source “Chess Today”]
[SourceDate “2011.06.03”]

{Leonid Yurtaev was an exceptionally gifted tactician who defeated many
world-famous players in individual games such as Tal, Ivanchuk, Morozevich,
the very young Kasparov and Aronian. He developed many special lines in the

{MG : I never met him, but I met his opponent this game Vladimir Tukmakov in Lenk, Switzerland 2000 and he is a very pleasant fellow full of chess anecdotes.  In particular, Tukmakov recounted some howlingly funny episodes involving classic chess character Yaakov Yukhtman. }

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nf3 Bg7 4. g3 O-O 5. Bg2 d6 6. O-O Nbd7 7. Nc3 e5 8. e4 exd4 9. Nxd4 Re8 10. h3 Nc5 11. Re1 Bd7

Golubev points out an interesting alternative: 11… h6  12. Rb1 Ne6 13. Nxe6 Bxe6 14. b3 Qc8!  {
(Kharitonov-Yurtaev, Sverdlovsk 1987)  and if white reacts with 15. Kh2 then black has the equalizing trick 15… Ng4+! 16. hxg4 Bxc3

{MG: I would be inclined as white not to trade on e6 (as in Kharitonov-Yurtaev), as the simplifying and equalizing
trick that occurred is fantastic!}

12.Rb1 h6  MG:  !? 

MG:  I never played Bd7 or h6 in this position, so I am definitely learning things.

Golubev points out the amazing Yurtaev idea  12… Qc8!? 13. Kh2 Re5 {, preparing …Rh5.}, as in Aseev-Yurtaev, 1988.

MG: I love this Yurtaev idea! (Re8-e5-h5)! It appears coffee-house, but it’s quite dangerous!

13. Kh2 a5 14. f4?!   Golubev prefers 14. b3.

14… a4 15. b4  axb3 16. axb3 h5 17. Bb2 c6

 18. b4 Na6 19. b5?!  Golubev points out white should throw in e4-e5 first.

19… Nc5 20. e5 dxe5 21. fxe5 h4 !!

{ MG: a great idea by Yurtaev!  He had as much in this game as I did in the game Yoos – MG, Pan Ams 1992! } 

 22. exf6  hxg3+ 23. Kh1 Qxf6

Black has a huge attack and white collapses under the strain.

 24. Rxe8+ Rxe8 25. Nf3?  Golubev points out 25. bxc6 is stronger and the last chance.
 25…Qf5!   26. Bf1  Re3 0-1

MG: A very creative accomplishment by Yurtaev! Too often, these strong grandmasters go virtually unnoticed in the west. Chess Today always sheds light on their best games.

Chess U News

The mobile Quiz application Chess U continues to gain traction.  We have signed up guest author Marcel Martinez to write about Middlegames for us.  Attack 101 is out, Rook 101 is out, Anand 201 is out coming within the next few days, and i expect Martinez’s Middlegames to be ready a little after that.    Right now it’s only on the iPhone/iPad, but we will go forward with Facebook native app and hopefully Android also.


Chess U

Update: on June 8, 2011, Anand 201 was released.

Here’s a screenshot of a quiz during the game Anand-Karpov Las Palmas 1996 (Lesson 6, Anand 201).

Quiz Time - Anand-Karpov

The Bad News and the Good News

May 2, 2011

The Bad News

Take a look at this diagram.  The play that followed, if it is true, sets chess back centuries.

White to play

It occurred in the 2011 US Women’s Championship according to a e-mail report I received from the always timely and excellent “Chess Today”, edited by GM Baburin.  My first reaction was this was a joke and Baburin must have gotten the position wrong.  I haven’t checked yet, but he goes on to say this was Krush-Zatonskih, a competitively important game, and that white lost the diagrammed position(!).   “How?” Baburin rhetorically asked.  “White moved her bishop twice randomly and allowed black’s king to a2.”

Are there any readers that can shed light some more (for example, time left, other information) light on this bizarre incident?  After all, it would only take a second or less to understand that 1. Bxb4 draws (among other things).  Worse yet, are there any unkind videos of this shipwreck?

The Good News

The iPhone ChessU App is born

After a year of group effort, my Chess “App” (it is called Chess University, or ChessU for short) is about to be approved by Apple and enter the iTunes store.  It is a set of guided quizzes with all the fancy visual interface features you expect in an iPhone.  The users gain “points” and can print out a diploma when they pass a course.  We will offer courses in Attacking, Playing Like Anand, and Basic Rook Endings for starters.

The Settings Screen

Take a look at the main announcement page    or the product page  for more details.

When the product is on iTunes, I will update this post! (hope it is very soon).  So far, we have the app (which you can download for free) along with a starter Course (also free) called Attack 101.  Once inside the App, when you graduate from Attack 101, you will have the opportunity for “in-app” purchase to move on to Rook Endings 101 (Rook 101 for short).  We are also finishing up another paid Course, called Playing Like Anand 101 (Anand 101 for short).  The paid courses will be available directly from iTunes or as an in-app purchase inside the quiz environment.

The target audience is scholastic kids who are used to the iPhone anyway and also people of any ages who wish to improve.   We will port to the Android later; we wanted to get the iPhone version first.  It runs on the iPad too.

This was a true international effort with programmers from Taiwan, Vietnam, and Australia.  The result is a platform that can play over any PGN feed or handle custom PGN marked up with Quizzes and answers.

The Fabulous 10’s: Berkeley Chess International 2011

January 13, 2011

Return to Forever

It was a treat to go back to UC Berkeley for the January International organized by David Pruess and Arun Sharma.  I taught at the UC Berkeley SIMS School (now called the i-school) in the spring of 1999 and in the fall of 1998 I was a post-doctoral researcher at the UC Berkeley Haas School.

Le Roy and Cedar, an intersection near the chess site (a Harry Potteresque abandoned schoolhouse)

Super Happy Lucky Cat

The chess was a bit of a tough slog.

In Round 1 I failed to spot a nice win in an ending.  Actually I was simply worse (losing, really) in the early middlegame then white went wrong.

Manvelyan,Hayk (2158) – Ginsburg,Mark (2393) [B25]
Berkeley op Berkeley (1), 02.01.2011   Sicilian Closed

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 d6 6.f4 e6 7.Nf3 Nge7 8.0-0 0-0 9.Rb1 Rb8 10.Bd2 b5 11.a3 Nd4 12.Ne2 Nxf3+ 13.Bxf3 d5 14.c3 dxe4 15.dxe4 Qd3 16.Be1 Rd8 17.Bf2 c4

A rather crazy “gambit” but what can I do?  I played aggressively on move 15 then had no real followup.

18.Bxa7 Bb7 19.Qxd3 cxd3 20.Nd4 Rbc8 21.Nxb5??

Inexperience.  An experienced player would spot 21. e5! crushing black who suddenly has no play at all and is down material.

e5! Now black has irritating counterplay.  White’s bad reaction leads him into a lost game!

22.fxe5? Nc6 23.Bb6? Nxe5! An obvious exchange sacrifice.

24.Bxd8 Rxd8 25.Bg2 Nc4 26.Rfd1 Ne3 27.Rd2 f5!

Suddenly black is just winning!

28.Re1 Nxg2 29.Rxg2 fxe4 30.Nd4 Rxd4 31.cxd4 Bxd4+ 32.Kf1 e3 33.Rge2 dxe2+? Here for some reason I never saw 33…Ba6! winning, a very nice geometrical motif.

34.Kxe2 Ba6+ 35.Kf3 e2 36.b3 Kf7 37.Rxe2 Bxe2+ 38.Kxe2 Ke6 39.Kf3 Kf5 40.b4 h5 41.h3

Black made it harder on himself but the next move is a real lemon handing a square over that his own king needs.  Correct and rather elementary is 41…Bb2 42. a4 Bc3 43. b5 Ba5 and black will win in fairly short order.

g5?? 42.g4+ hxg4+ 43.hxg4+ Ke5 44.a4 Bc3 45.b5 Ba5 46.Ke3 Now black cannot establish a zugzwang.

Bd8 47.Kd3 Kf4 48.Kc4 Kxg4 49.Kc5 Kf3 50.b6 g4 51.a5 g3 52.Kc6 g2 53.b7 1/2-1/2

Round 2 was a bye to recuperate from this ordeal.  Round 3 was not much more inspiring:

Ginsburg,Mark (2393) – Kavutskiy,Konstantin (2170) [D34]
Berkeley op Berkeley (3), 03.01.2011

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.b3 Be7 5.Bg2 c5 6.0-0 Nc6 7.cxd5 exd5 8.d4 0-0 9.dxc5 Bxc5 10.Bb2 Bg4 11.Nc3 a6 12.Rc1 Re8 13.e3 Ba7 14.Ne2 Qe7 15.h3 Bf5 16.Ned4 Nxd4 17.Bxd4 Bxd4 18.Qxd4 Be4 19.Qb6

White has a pleasant game but black should not lose if he stays solid.

Rac8 20.Nd4 Bxg2 21.Kxg2 h5 22.Rfd1 Qd7 23.Ne2 h4?

A terrible move but white is not in good enough form to score the full point after this gift.

24.gxh4! Did black underestimate this?


White should seek improvements now because he is better.

25.Qa5 Rec6 26.Rxc6 Qxc6 27.Rc1 Qd7 28.Rxc8+ Qxc8 29.Qc3 Qf5 30.Ng3 Qe6 31.Qd4 Ne4 32.Nxe4 dxe4

After this trade white has very little as he soon realized.

33.Qd8+ Kh7 34.Qg5 Kg8 35.h5 Kh7 36.Kg3 Qd6+ 37.Qf4 Qe6! The drawing motif is simply to keep the white king at bay.

38.h4 b5 39.Qg5 Qd6+ 40.Kg2 Qe6 41.Qf4 Qd5 42.Kg3 Qe6 43.b4 Kh8 44.a3 Kh7 45.Qg5 Qd6+ 46.Kg2 Qe6 1/2-1/2

A 7th round where I messed up the opening badly but struggled back to draw with plenty of help from white.

Collins,Sam (2436) – Ginsburg,Mark (2393) [B07]
Berkeley op Berkeley (7), 05.01.2011   Sicilian 2. c3

1.e4 c5 2.c3 d6

2…Nf6! as in a precise game Sevillano-De Firmian (drawn) must be more accurate.

3.d4 Nf6 4.Bd3 cxd4 5.cxd4 g6 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.h3 0-0 8.Nf3 Nc6 9.0-0 Nh5 10.Be2 e5 11.dxe5 dxe5 12.Qxd8 Rxd8 13.Bg5!

This is just unpleasant for black!

f6 14.Bc4+ Kh8 15.Be3 Nf4 16.Rfd1 Be6 17.Bd5 Bxd5 18.exd5 Na5 19.g3 Nh5 20.b3 Rd7 21.Rac1 Bf8

Black’s position is horrible.


22. Nb5! looks completely crushing.

Ba3 23.Rb1 Kg7 24.b4 Nc4 25.Nc5 Rf7 26.Ne6+ Kg8 27.Bh6 a5

Black shows some signs of life.

28.bxa5 Rxa5 29.g4 Nf4 30.Nxf4 exf4 31.Bxf4 Bd6 32.Rbc1 Bxf4 33.Rxc4 Bd6 34.Rd2 Rf8 35.Re4 Kf7 36.Rb2 Rb8 37.Rd2 Rd8 38.Kg2 Rda8 39.Ree2 Bf4 40.Rd4 Bd6 41.Re6 Rd8 42.g5 f5 43.a4 Kg8 44.Ne5 Bxe5 45.Rxe5 b5 46.axb5 Rxb5 47.Re7 Rbxd5 48.Rh4 R5d7 49.Rhxh7 Rxe7 50.Rxe7 Rd4

Fortunately at this fast time control this is a simple draw.  White cannot construct any trick.

51.Kg3 Kf8 52.Rc7 Kg8 53.Ra7 Kf8 54.Rc7 Kg8 55.Rb7 Kf8 56.h4 Kg8 57.Ra7 Kf8 58.Rb7 Kg8 59.Rb5 Kg7 60.Ra5 Rc4 61.Ra7+ Kg8 62.Ra3 Kg7 63.Rd3 Rb4 64.Rd7+ Kg8 65.Re7 Rd4 66.Re5 Kg7 67.Re7+ Kg8 68.h5 gxh5 69.f4 h4+ 70.Kf3 h3 71.Kg3 Rd3+ 72.Kh2 Rf3 1/2-1/2

Some 8th round play vs. a rather passive French:

Ginsburg,Mark (2393) – Kuljasevic,Davorin (2545) [C13]
Berkeley op Berkeley (8), 06.01.2011   French Defense

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 dxe4?!

Black would be better off with the McCutcheon, an opening Kuljasevic has played in the past (4…Bb4!? 5. e5 h6).

5.Nxe4 Be7 6.Bxf6 Bxf6 7.Nf3 Nd7 8.Qe2!

An idea from GM Bologan’s autobiography.  I believe Bologan beat GM Bareev in this line.  My opponent after the game pointed out that Morozevich has tried another dangerous move here, 8. Qd3!? with a later idea of Neg5 and h2-h4.

0-0 9.0-0-0 Be7 10.Ne5 Nf6 11.Nxf6+ Bxf6

11….gxf6!? leads to an interesting position.  My intention was Ne5-c4!? with an idea of Nc4-e3 and a complex struggle in sight.

12.f4 Bd7 13.Qf3 Bc6 14.Nxc6 bxc6 15.Qxc6 Bxd4 16.c3

Here, 16. Qe4? Bxb2+ 17. Kxb2 Qxd1 18. Bd3 Rfb8+!  releases white’s mate threat and black wins.

Be3+ 17.Kc2 Qf6 18.g3 1/2-1/2

Actually white can and should play on.  He can play his B to d3 and launch a general kingside pawn storm, whereas black probably has to go for the passive retreat Be3-b6. White is somewhat better with no risk.

In the next to last round, a disaster!

Ginsburg,Mark (2393) – Evans,Bela (2262) [A13]
Berkeley op Berkeley (9), 07.01.2011    Catalan / Hedgehog Reversed

1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 e6 3.g3 dxc4 4.Qa4+ Nd7 5.Bg2 a6 6.Qxc4 c5 7.0-0 Ngf6 8.b3 b5 9.Qc2 Bb7 10.Bb2 Rc8 11.d3 Be7 12.Nbd2 0-0 13.Rac1 Qb6 14.Qb1 Rfd8 15.Rc2 Qa7 16.Rfc1 Qa8 17.a3 h6 18.Qa1 Bd5 19.Bc3!

White hits upon a strong idea.  Transfer the bishop to a5 and later play b3-b4 to chip away, in true Hedgehog style (colors reversed, of course).

Rb8 20.Ba5 Rdc8 21.e4 Bb7 22.h3 Qa7 23.b4 Re8 24.bxc5 Bxc5 25.Nb3 Be7 26.Nfd4 Qa8

At this point black’s position is in ruins.  The lights went out though and we had to relocate to the skittles room.  This change of venue somehow bewitched white who went completely wrong in mild time trouble.


27. Bc7 followed by Nba5 is crushing.

Bxc6 28.Rxc6

Of course this is great for white with the two bishops but black has some breathing space.

Rbc8 29.Rxc8 Rxc8 30.Bb4 Bd8 31.d4?

Why?  The d3/e4 pawn duo kept black’s minor pieces at bay.  White should simply have played slowly to make the time control.

Nb6 32.d5?

And this is just irrational. White, with less time, launches an “attack” without supporting forces.

exd5 33.e5 Ne4 34.Nd4 Nc4 35.Nf5 Qa7

Black hits f2.  White’s knight on f5 is optically nice but he has no support.

36.Bxe4 dxe4 37.Qb1 Qb7 38.Rxc4 Rxc4 39.Nd6 Qd5 40.Nxc4 Qxc4 41.Qd1 Bb6

Now black is just winning.   A very sad state of affairs considering the nice opening.

42.Qd6 Qe6 43.Qb8+ Kh7 44.Bd6 Bd4 45.Qb7 Qf5 0-1

Finally I scored a win in the last round.  I was fairly irritated from the previous round and wanted at least to get to 50%.

Shivaji,Shivkuma (2303) – Ginsburg,Mark (2393) [B07]
Berkeley op Berkeley (10), 08.01.2011  Modern Defense

1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.Bg5

I would prefer 4. Be3 guarding the sensitive d4 point.

c6 5.Qd2 b5 6.f4 Nf6 7.Bd3 b4 8.Nd1

This shouldn’t be a “scare” system for black but white is solid.

Qb6 9.c3 e5!?

Maybe too sharp.

10.fxe5 dxe5 11.Nf3 exd4 12.cxd4 Ba6

Not very impressive but black does have to develop.

13.0-0 Bxd3 14.Qxd3 0-0 15.Nf2 Nbd7 16.Kh1 Rac8 17.Nd2?!

There was no real reason for this passive regrouping.

Nh5 18.Nb3

And now although it looks rather schizophrenic white should have seriously considered 18. g4!?.

c5 19.Qh3 Qe6

I had not considered a strong alternative here, 19…Qb5.

20.Qxe6 fxe6 21.dxc5 Bxb2 22.Rad1 Ne5 23.Be7 Rf7 24.Bd6 Nc6 25.Ng4 Rxf1+ 26.Rxf1 a5 27.Nd2 Bg7 28.e5!

This position is very sharp and double-edged.   In time trouble white goes astray.

a4 29.Nf6+ Nxf6 30.exf6 Bf8 31.Ne4 h6 32.g4 Ra8 33.g5 h5 34.Rb1 e5 35.Nd2 Kf7 36.Nc4 Bxd6 37.cxd6 Rd8 38.Kg2 Ke6 39.Kf3 Kd5 40.Nb6+ Kxd6 41.Ke4

White notices that 41. Nxa4 Ra8 is hopeless and tries something else, but black has a winning ending in any event.

a3 42.Rd1+ Ke6 43.Nd5 b3!

Not a difficult tactic but nice.

44.axb3 a2 45.Nc7+ Kf7 46.Nd5 Nb4 47.Nxb4 Rxd1 48.Nxa2 Ke6

Now it’s just mop-up.

49.Nc3 Rd4+ 50.Ke3 Rh4 51.Ne4 Rh3+ 52.Kd2 Rxh2+ 53.Kd3 h4 54.Nc5+ Kd5 55.Ke3 Rh3+ 56.Ke2 e4 57.Nd7 Rf3 0-1

Questions of Modern and not so Modern Opening Theory

The following game was presented in GM Baburin’s daily online chess newsletter, Chess Today.  It caught my attention.

Conrad Holt – Lev Milman Nimzo Indian

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 0-0 5.e4 (?!)

Too soon, junior

I don’t see the motivation for this. Black has castled, white has not.  Black has a ready-made counterstrike in the center.  Even so, Irina Krush and others have played it; so it’s a good thing for black to know. I recently enjoyed GM Ivan Sokolov’s “Best Games” oeuvre.  He is a 4. Qc2 fanatic, and 5. e4 does not appear in his games!  I deduce that he believes 5. a3 is stronger!


For some bizarre reason, also (earlier, Round 2)  in this tournament, GM Magesh Panchanathan reacted here with the bad move 5…d6? conceding white a huge center.  Black, in some weird Caissic injustice, won that game with a combinational finish – of course white misplayed because he must have overjoyed to see the lemon 5….d6.

That game:

Holt,Conrad (2388) – Panchanathan,Magesh (2537) [E32]
Berkeley op Berkeley (2), 02.01.2011

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 0-0 5.e4 d6?  Why?

6.Bd3 Nc6 7.Nf3 e5 8.d5 Ne7 9.a3 Bxc3+ 10.Qxc3 a5  Black looks significantly worse here but white for some reason hurries to give away the bishop pair.

11.Bg5 Ne8 12.0-0 h6 13.Bxe7 Qxe7 14.b4 f5 15.Nd2 Qg5 16.c5 Nf6 17.exf5 Bxf5 18.Bxf5 Qxf5 19.bxa5 Kh8 20.cxd6 cxd6 21.Qb3 e4 22.Rae1 Rxa5 23.Nc4 Rc5 24.Nxd6 Qf4 25.Qg3 Qxg3 26.hxg3 Rxd5 27.Nxb7 Ra8 28.Re3 Ra7 29.Rb1 Rxb7!  Ut-oh 30.Rxb7 Rd1+ 31.Kh2 Ng4+ 32.Kh3 Nxf2+ 33.Kh4 Rh1# 0-1  Why did white play on to mate?

6.e5 Ne4 7.Bd3 c5 8.Nf3 cxd4 9.Nxd4 Nd7 10.Bf4 Qh4 (?) 11.g3 Qh3 12.0-0-0 Nxc3 13.bxc3 Ba3+ 14.Kb1 Nb6 15.Bf1 Qh5 16.Be2 Qh3 17.Nf3 Qf5 18.Bd3 Qh5 19.Ng5 h6 20.h4 Bd7 21.Bh7+ Kh8 22.Bg8! g6 23.Nxf7+ Kg7 24.g4 Qxg4 25.Rdg1 Qf5 26.Qxf5 exf5 27.Rxg6+!

A very nice mating combination.

27…Kxg6 28.h5+ Kg7 29.Rg1# 1-0

All very nice, but black’s 10th move looks insanely risky and totally impractical.  Why put the queen far afield when there is no need?  I had analyzed this variation some time ago, and white’s 5th move looks very loosening (that’s why GM Sokolov always prefers 5. a3).   All is well from black’s point of view after white’s 10th; his bishop is passively guarding a pawn on e5. The correct move is 10…Ndc5! and this looks dead equal.  I wrote in to Chess Today and got a response from GM Golubev that while 10…Qh4 may be viable due to some improvement, 10…Ndc5 is probably safer.  All of this was confirmed in this same tournament, (later game), as I found after writing in!  Here is the second game.  White didn’t need to lose the game, but still this indicates the correct treatment.

Conrad Holt – Daniel Rensch  Nimzo Indian
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 0-0 5.e4 (?!) d5! 6.e5 Ne4 7.Bd3 c5 8.Nf3 cxd4 9.Nxd4 Nd7 10.Bf4 Ndc5! 11.0-0 Nxd3 12.Qxd3 Bxc3 13.bxc3 b6

This looks completely equal!  White’s dangerous light square bishop (the one that killed Milman) has been removed.

14.cxd5 Qxd5

Note in passing that Black can afford to accept an isolated d-pawn here as white has weak pawns of his own.

15.Rfd1 Rd8 16.c4 Qb7 17.Qe3 Bd7 18.f3 Nc5 19.Bg5 Rdc8 20.Ne2 Ba4 21.Rd4 Nd7 22.Nc3 Bc6 23.h4 Qc7 24.Re1 h5 25.Rd6 Nf8 26.Red1 Bb7 27.R1d4 Qc5 28.Be7 Re8 29.Bxf8 Rxf8 30.Ne2 Qb4 31.Nf4 Qb1+ 32.Kh2 Qf5 33.Nd3 Rac8 34.Rf4 Qg6 35.c5 bxc5 36.Nxc5 Bd5 37.Ra4 Bxf3 38.Rd2 Bd5 39.Rxa7 Rc6 40.Nd7 Rc4 41.Qf2 Rd8 42.Nb6 Re4 43.Nxd5 exd5 44.Rd3 Qe6 45.Rf3 Qxe5+ 46.Kh3 Qe6+ 47.Kh2 Rf8 48.Ra5 Qe5+ 49.Kh3 Re1 50.Rf4 Qc3+ 0-1

GM Golubev was impressed by this coincidental find.

In another totally puzzling turn of events, black plays a bad Dragon line in the next game and the higher-rated white player strangely reacts badly and loses.  But it’s all well known to be good for white.  Go figure.

(233) Hess,Robert L (2572) – Kiewra,Keaton F (2337) [B76]
Berkeley op Berkeley (9), 07.01.2011   Sicilian Dragon

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 0-0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.0-0-0 Nxd4?!

9…d5 is the only testing move.

10.Bxd4 Be6

This is not a good line for black.


Quite simple and good for white is 11. Nd5 Bxd5 12. exd5 Qc7 13. Kb1 with the idea of Rd1-c1, c2-c4, and a later h2-h4.  Black doesn’t have much play.  It cuts out all the play that actually happened in this game.  I totally tortured GM Kudrin (noted Dragon expert) with this in the early 1980s and it won some kind of stamp of approval as Kudrin adopted my treatment in his next tournament.

Qa5 12.Qg5

There is no need for this “fancy” reaction.  It’s quite impractical too since the line given above is a safe significant plus for white.

b5 13.h5 Rab8 14.hxg6 fxg6 15.Bd3 Bxa2

Now it’s just a Dragon mess and black winds up on top.

16.e5 dxe5 17.Bxe5 Bf7 18.Ne4 Nxe4 19.fxe4 b4 20.Qh4 h5 21.Bxg7 Kxg7 22.e5 Qa1+ 23.Kd2 Qxb2 24.Qg5 Rbd8 25.Rxh5 Rxd3+ 26.Kxd3 Qc3+ 27.Ke4 Qxc2+ 28.Ke3 Qc5+ 29.Ke4 Qc2+ 30.Ke3 Bc4 31.Qh6+ Kf7 32.Qf4+ Ke8 33.Rd8+ Kxd8 34.Qxf8+ Kd7 35.e6+ Bxe6 36.Ra5 Qc3+ 37.Kf2 Qd4+ 38.Kg3 b3 39.Qf3 Qd6+ 40.Qf4 Qxf4+ 41.Kxf4 Bf5 42.Rb5 Bc2 43.Ke3 Kc6 44.Rb8 Kc7 45.Rb4 a5 46.Rc4+ Kb6 47.Kd2 Kb5 48.Rc7 Kb4 49.Rb7+ Ka3 50.Kc3 a4 51.Rxe7 Ka2 52.Re2 b2 53.Rxc2 a3 54.Kd2 Kb1 55.Kc3 Ka1 0-1

To give some perspective on why Kiewra plays this bad line, he was probably emboldened by the successful result in this game.

[Event “USCL Arizona vs Dallas”]
[Site “Internet Chess Club”]
[Date “2009.09.30”]
[Round “5”]
[White “Adamson, Robby”]
[Black “Kiewra, Keaton”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “B76”]
[WhiteElo “2354”]
[BlackElo “2365”]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 Nf6 4. Nc3 cxd4 5. Nxd4 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 Nc6 8. Qd2 O-O 9. O-O-O Nxd4?! 10. Bxd4 Be6 11. Kb1 Qc7 12. Nd5 Bxd5 13. exd5

Pleasant for White!

Rfc8 14. Rc1! Correct, as in my Kudrin game.

Nd7? A rather serious miscue.  Black cannot stand this opening to the king at this moment.

15. Bxg7 Kxg7 16. h4 h5 17. g4 Nf6

Critical Moment

18. gxh5?  Nxh5 19. Bh3 Rh8 20. Bg4 Qc4 21. Rce1 Qf4 22. Qc3+ Qf6 23. Qc7 Nf4 24. Qxe7 Rae8 25. Qc7 Qxh4 26. Qc3+ Qf6 27. Rxh8 Rxe1+ 28. Qxe1 Kxh8 29. Bc8 b6 30. Qe4 Kg7 31. a3 Ng2 32. c4 Qf4 33. Qxf4 Nxf4 34. Kc2 Kf6 35. Kc3 Ke5 36. b4 f5 37. Bd7 g5 38. Bc8 Ng2 39. Kd3 Nh4 40. Ke2 f4 41. Ba6 Kd4 42. c5 bxc5 43. b5 c4 44. a4 Kxd5 45. Bc8 Kc5 46. Bd7 Kb4 47. Bc6 Nf5 48. Kd2 Ne3 49. a5 Kxa5 50. Kc3 Kb6 {White resigns} 0-1

As an exercise to the reader, identify the key improvement early on in the above US Chess League game where white could have reached a huge plus.  As a hint, it occurred at the “critical moment”. This improvement completely refutes black’s treatment.  White probably missed it due to the very fast USCL time control.

As a final piece of evidence, consider this 2008 USCL game.

Event “USCL Chicago vs Arizona”]
[Site “Internet Chess Club”]
[Date “2008.10.22”]
[Round “9”]
[White “Ginsburg, Mark”]
[Black “VandeMortel, Jan”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “B76”]
[WhiteElo “2410”]
[BlackElo “2460”]
[PlyCount “93”]
[EventDate “2008.??.??”]
[TimeControl “3600+30”]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 O-O 8. Qd2 Nc6 9. O-O-O Nxd4?! 10. Bxd4 Be6 11. Kb1

White can do Nd5 next.  11…Qa5?? 12. Nd5!

Qc7 12. Nd5 Bxd5 13. exd5

Starting Point

The familiar starting point.  I think this is just bad for black.

Rfc8 14. Rc1!

The key idea that bothered GM Kudrin so much he adopted it.

14…Qd7 Trying for some counterplay via …b7-b5.

15. g4 b5 16. c4

White needs to get his own queenside space and he remains much superior on the kingside.

Qb7 17. h4 bxc4 18. Bxc4 Rc7 19. b3!

This is the key idea to prepare Qb2 and continue an attack.

Rac8 20. Qb2 h5? Black makes a mistake under pressure.

21. gxh5 Nxh5 22. Bxg7 Nxg7 23. h5 Rxc4 24. Rxc4?

White misses the h5-h6 interpolation concluding the game right away.

Rxc4 25. bxc4 Qxb2+ 26. Kxb2 gxh5 27. Kb3 Kh7 28. Kb4 Kg6 29. Kb5 Nf5 30. Ka6 Ne3 31. Kxa7 Nxc4 32. a4 e6 33. Ka6 Kg5 34. Kb5 exd5 35. a5 Nxa5 36. Kxa5 h4 37. Kb4 Kf4 38. Rxh4+ Kxf3 39. Kc3 f5 40. Kd2 f4 41. Rh6 Kg2 42. Rg6+ Kf3 43. Rxd6 Ke4 44. Ke2 f3+ 45. Kf2 d4 46. Rd8 d3 47. Rd7 {Black resigns} 1-0

The Fabulous 10’s: Russian Superfinal

December 22, 2010

Russian SuperFinal Puzzler

Here’s a puzzle for you in a competitively very important game that dropped Svidler out of the lead at the 2010 Russian Superfinals.

[Event “Russian Championship Superfinal”]
[Site “Moscow RUS”]
[Date “2010.12.20”]
[EventDate “2010.12.11”]
[Round “9”]
[Result “1-0”]
[White “I Nepomniachtchi”]
[Black “P Svidler”]
[ECO “C45”]
[WhiteElo “2720”]
[BlackElo “2722”]
[PlyCount “78”]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nxc6 bxc6 6. e5 Qe7 7. Qe2
Nd5 8. c4 Ba6 9. Nd2 g6 10. Nf3 Qb4+ 11. Kd1 Nb6 12. b3 Bg7 13. Qd2 Qe7 14.
Bb2 O-O 15. Kc2 c5 16. h4 d5 17. exd6 Qxd6 18. Bxg7 Qxd2+ 19. Nxd2 Kxg7 20.
Ne4 Nd7 21. Rd1 Bb7 22. Nc3 Nf6 23. f3 Rfe8 24. Bd3 a5 25. Rhe1 Bc6 26. Nb5
Rxe1 27. Rxe1 Re8 28. Rxe8 Nxe8 29. Kb2 Kh6(?!)

Time for the first pre-test.  Suggest a ‘better’ move for black here (GM Zagrebelny talked about it on ChessPro.Ru).   I put “better” on quotes because black can probably save himself on the next move too.   The move is very clever indeed.

30. Be2

See it?

Much of the game’s commentary revolved around Svidler’s bad opening choice; how dismal the ending was, etc. etc.  But precisely here he can save it!  Or, if he is not saving it, he is coming very close (it’s still not clear after analysis).

30…Ng7? 31. Ka3 Nf5 32. Ka4 Nxh4 33. Bf1 Nf5 34. Kxa5 Ne3 35. Nxc7 Nxf1 36. Kb6 Bd7 37. Nd5 Kg7 38. a4
Bc8 39. Ne7 1-0

Looks like a clean win for white, right? Wrong! Find the rather unintuitive but clear draw for black starting from the diagram position!  And, for full credit, find black’s improvement on move 29 also!

Thanks for GM Baburin and “Chess Today” daily newsletter for pointing out some of the intriguing save possiblities that Svidler missed and thanks to for discussing some of the other save lines.

The Fabulous 00s: Sadness and Despair at the 2010 World Team

January 8, 2010

Tough Times in Turkey: USA Gaffes vs Russia

The 2010 World Teams are in full swing in Bursa, Turkey.

The USA came out of the gate very lame versus Russia and was severely trounced as two of our players uncharacteristically didn’t know the opening phase.

[White “Malakhov, V.”]
[Black “Shulman, Y.”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “C05”]
[WhiteElo “2716”]
[BlackElo “2624”]
[EventDate “2010.01.05”]
[EventType “team ()”]
[EventRounds “9”]
[EventCountry “TUR”]
[Source “Chess Today”]
[SourceDate “2010.01.08”]

Vladimir Malakhov is a rather conventional player and is best at opponents who commit senseless hara-kiri in well-known structures.  He is not very good in original strategic situations, as Mamedyarov has proved in the past.  Unfortunately, this important USA-Russia game belongs to the former category.
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. Ngf3 Nc6 7. Nb3

A bizarre move, wasting several tempi to close off the queenside.

7. Nb3 - This?!

7…c4 A livelier game results from 7…f6 with equal chances.

8. Nbd2 b5 9. Be2 Nb6 10. Nf1 Bd7 Nothing is wrong with the simple 10..Be7 and 11…O-O.  What is black attacking?

11. Ne3 Be7 12. O-O Qc7 12…O-O is fine for black.

13. Bd2 a5 13…O-O is fine for black. 14. g4? f6! and black has a small edge.

14. Be1 O-O-O?

A huge lemon and very surprising from veteran GM Shulman.

After any move not committing black’s king to the queenside, black is fine.  For example,
14… b4 15. c3 O-O 16. g4 f6 and black is all right.

No... not king to the queenside!

15. b3 a4 16. Rb1 Qa7 17. bxc4 bxc4 18. Bf2 Even the simple 18. c3 already gives white a huge and fairly automatic plus.

18… Na5 19. f5 g6 20. f6 Ba3 21. Ng5 Be8 22. Bg4 Nc6 23. Nxe6! Child’s play for any grandmaster.  Black could already resign. A total debacle, doubly so in a team event.

fxe6 24. Bxe6+ Rd7 25. Nxd5 Nxd5 26. Qf3 Nd8 27. Bxd5 Qa6 28. e6?! To show best this situation, 28. Bxc4! Qxc4 29. Qa8+ Kc7 30. Rb8 instantly won.

28… Rxd5 29. Qxd5 Nxe6 30. Bg3 Nc7 31. Bxc7 Former WC Mikhail Tal would not have missed 31. Rb8+!! Kxb8 32. Qd8+ Ka7 33. Qxc7+ Qb7 34. Qa5+ Qa6 35. Bb8+ and wins very elegantly.

31… Kxc7 32. f7 Bd7 33. Qe5+ 1-0 Depressing.  Even more depressing was the next game where an American player gets a hopeless ending right away…. with the white pieces!

[Event “7th World Team Championship”]
[Site “Bursa TUR”]
[Date “2010.01.07”]
[Round “3”]
[White “Akobian, V.”]
[Black “Vitiugov, N.”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “D10”]

[WhiteElo “2628”]
[BlackElo “2692”]
[PlyCount “146”]
[EventDate “2010.01.05”]
[EventRounds “9”]

[EventCountry “TUR”]
[Source “Chess Today”]

Young grandmaster Akobian is a young player’s favorite ever since he did an MTV video where he proclaimed washing socks and cooking food is a waste of time (his mother was in the background picking up socks).  Classic.  How many players will emulate these words?  I remember one famous junior who was described as, “if he can make toast or boil an egg, it’s a miracle.” However, in this game, something goes horribly wrong right away for the anti-laundry kid.

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 dxc4 4. e4?! The safe choice is 4. e3! b5 5. a4 b4 6. Na2 Nf6 7. Nxb4  equal, or 7. Bxc4 e6 8. Nf3 Nbd7 equal.  Former WC Karpov had no equal playing safe when surprised.  Akobian should pick up some clues from Karpov.

4…. b5 5. a4 b4 6. Nb1 Black is happy after 6. Na2 Nf6 7. e5 Nd5 8. Bxc4 a5 9. Nf3
g6 10. O-O Bg7.

6… Ba6 7. Qc2 White could have tried 7. Nf3 Nf6 8. e5 Nd5 to try to get out of the opening.

7… Nf6

Setting white a rather elementary tactical problem.

White to play and lose dismally

8. Bxc4? An incredible lemon.  Was white “faking” knowing this stuff? 8. Nd2! is a good try to save it.  For example, if 8…Qxd4 9. Ngf3 Qc5 10. Nxc4 e6 11. Be3 b3 12. Qxb3 Qb4+ 13. Qxb4 Bxb4+ and white will reach a half point.   Maybe if he picked up some socks in a pre-game warm-up or cooked the team a meal he would have been sharper in this encounter.

8…Bxc4 9. Qxc4 Nxe4 10. Qxb4? Ugh!  He had to try 10. f3 Nd6 11. Qxb4 a5 12. Qb3 Nf5 13. Ne2!  hoping for 13…Nxd4; black has 13…g6! =+.

10… e5 So simple.

11. Qb7 Did this absurd queen raid really appear on the board in this important team event?  It appears so, sadly.


Oopsie.  Black can just take this. Vitiugov must not have been able to believe his eyes.  This childish trap…. winning for black… is on the board!

12. Qc8+ 12. Qxa8 Bb4+ wins easily for black.

Qd8 13. Qxd8+ Kxd8 14. Nd2 Bb4 15. Ngf3 Nd7 16. Ke2 Nd6 17. Nb3 Ke7 18. Bd2 Rab8 19. Rhc1 Rhc8 20. Rc2 c5 21. Be3 c4 22. Nbd2 Bc5 23. Rac1 Bxe3 24. fxe3 f6 25. Nxc4 Nxc4 26. Rxc4 Rxb2+ 27. Nd2 Rxc4 28. Rxc4 Ra2 29. Kd3 This blunder doesn’t matter; white was lost anyway.

29..Rxa4 30. Rc7 Kd8 31. Rc3 e4+ 32. Ke2 Nb6 33. g4 Kd7 34. h4 Kd6 35. Rb3 g6 36. Rb5 Kc6 37. Rb1 Nd5 38. Rc1+ Kd6 39. Rc8 f5 40. gxf5 gxf5 41. Nc4+ Kd7 42. Rc5 Ra2+ 43. Ke1 Ne7 44. h5 Ke6 45. Rc7 Rc2 46. Kd1 Rc3 47. Kd2 Kf6 48. h6 Nd5 49. Rc5 Rd3+ 50. Ke2 f4 51. exf4 Nxf4+ 52. Kf2 Rf3+ 53. Kg1 e3 54. Rc6+ Kg5 55. Nxe3 Why did white not resign here?  This was the biggest mystery of the game.  Incredibly depressing game from a team standpoint.  Kibitizers were calling for Hess to come in off the bench (Hess, in fact, did come in the next round and convincingly win).

55…Rxe3 56. Rc7 Kxh6 57. Rxa7 Re2 58. Rf7 Nh5 59. Kh1 Kg6 60. Rf3 Ra2 61. Kg1 Nf6 62. Rg3+ Kf5 63. Rf3+ Kg5 64. Rg3+ Ng4 65. Rb3 Kf4 66. Rb5 Kf3 67. Rb3+ Ne3 68. Kh1 h5 69. Kg1 Re2 70. Kh1 Kg3 71. Rb1 Nc2 72. Rg1+ Kh3 73. Rg2 Apparently white did not resign in order to set up this deep stalemate trick.

73…Re1+ Vitiugov is too crafty to take the rook on g2.


And This Game Just in…

From today’s action, America’s young hopeful Robson luckily avoids a very aesthetic defeat!

[White “IM_Abdelnabbi”]
[Black “IM_Robson”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[WhiteElo “2448”]
[BlackElo “2570”]
[Opening “Sicilian: modern Scheveningen”]
[ECO “B45”]
[NIC “SI.22”]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 d6 6. Be2 Nf6 7. Be3 a6 8.
O-O Be7 9. Kh1 O-O 10. f4 Qc7 11. Qe1 Nxd4 12. Bxd4 b5 13. e5 Nd7?

A terrible lapse from a 2570-rated player.  13…dxe5 = is necessary.

14. exd6! The problem is e4 is now cleared for white’s pieces with gain of tempo.

Bxd6 15. Bd3? Why not the obvious 15. Qg3 with an edge.

15…g6? Another lemon.   I think the kid may have been nervous in this team tournament. 15…Bb7! =

16. Qh4?! 16. Ne4! is indicated with an edge.

16…Bc5 17. f5 exf5 18. Nd5 Qd6? A really bad blunder.  18…Qd8 was equal.

19. Rxf5 Bxd4 20. Qxd4 gxf5 21. Re1 Now white is winning!  Oh no!

21…Ne5 What else?

22. Rxe5 Rd8 23. Qh4?? An incredible final blunder in this blunder-filled game.  23. Bxf5! wins.  Do you think white was happy drawing his higher rated opponent and went for this perpetual?

23. Bxf5!!  Bxf5 24. Rxf5 Qh6 (threatening mate) 25. h3!! wins.  For example, 25…Rd6 26. Rf3!  Or, 23. Bxf5!!  h6 and I will let the readers find the win, it’s very nice indeed.

White to play and win (analysis)

The game concluded dismally for white:

23…Qxe5 24. Qxd8+ Kg7 25. Qg5+ {Game drawn} 1/2-1/2

Props to Chess Today

Thanks to GM Baburin’s Chess Today newsletter for providing timely reports!

The Fabulous 00s: Spassky takes on Korchnoi again

December 24, 2009

Spassky – Korchnoi Redux

In Elista 2009 we have Boris Spassky playing a match with Viktor Korchnoi… again.

The two were on very bad terms in their Candidates match contested in the Belgrade 1977.  Time and again, Spassky would try to overcome Korchnoi’s French Winawer with overall poor results (for example this reverse). Spassky would retire to the back stage or turn his back on the board and watch on a big projector between moves (shades of Kramnik-Topalov!).  I would also become crabby confronted with endless French Defenses. I presume things are not so icy now.

One of their 2009 match games was especially interesting for a wild tactical line that remained behind the scenes – in fact, quite far behind the scenes, but so unique tactically we have to present it.  Thanks to GM Alex Baburin’s timely Chess Today bulletins for rapidly bringing this game to my attention!  Note the duo’s strangely depressed ELO ratings – tempus fugit!

Elista Match  Game 5   12/24/09

Viktor Korchnoi (2567) – Boris Spassky (2548).

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. a3 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. Qc2 Be7 7. e3 a6 8. Bc4
Nb6 9. Bd3 Qd7 N  10. b3
(10. O-O! f5 11. b4 e4 12. Nxe4! fxe4 13. Bxe4 with equal chances)

10… f5 11. e4?

Again, 11.  O-O! e4 12. Nxe4 fxe4 13. Bxe4 with equal chances.  Here is precisely where the incredible tactics lie, if we carry out a little.

13…Bf6 14. Bb2 Bxb2 15. Qxb2 O-O 16. Rac1
Qe7 17. Qc2 Be6 18. Bxh7+ Kh8 19. Be4 Bxb3 20. Qxb3 Qxe4 21. Rc5 Qg6 22. Ng5
Rf5 23. Rxf5 Qxf5 24. f4 Rf8 25. Rf3 Na5 26. Qc3 Nac4 27. e4 Qc5+ 28. d4 Qc6
29. f5 Kg8 30. Rg3 Qa4 31. Ne6 Rf7 32. Nxg7!!
and here we are starting the amazing adventure.  Yes, it’s a little far afield, but it has incredible fantasy value.  Take a look.

Position after 32. Nxg7 (analysis)

Black’s king is thoroughly denuded, but his remaining pieces are quite active.

This is just the start of the adventure.  Play proceeds 32…Rxg7 33. f6 Qd1+ 34. Kf2 Rg4!
Only move!

Not, of course, 34… Rxg3?? 35. Qxg3+ Kf7 36. Qg7+ Ke6 37. Qe7 mate.

Continuing, white has the delightful 35. h3! which in fact is the only move for white.  All these only moves for both sides mean the position is a real tightrope act.

Now we get to another great position!

Position after 35. h3! (only move) - Analysis

Now, black has two moves!    See if you can spot them both.

The first is 35…Nd2.

The second, more spectacular and good on shock value alone, is 35…Nd5!!  – by some perverse “logic of chess”, both moves turn out to have equal value.

Let’s look at the second move.

35… Nd5!! 36. Qxc4? (This is a blunder.  Correct is 36. exd5! Nd6! {Only move!  But now white faces a difficult problem!} 37. Qe3!! Only move for a draw!} Qc2+ 38. Kg1 Rg6 39. Qe6+ Kf8 40. Qe7+ Kg8 41. Qd8+ Kf7 42. Qd7+ Kf8 (42… Kxf6 $4 43. Rf3+ Kg5 44. Qd8+ Kh5 45. Qh8+ Rh6 46. g4+ Kg5 47. Qd8+ Kg6 48. Qg8 mate) 43. Rxg6 equal, or 43. Qe7+ Kg8 44. Qd8+ {Perpetual check})

Finishing the faulty 36. Qxc4?, that move is met by 36… Qd2+! 37. Kf1 Rxg3 38. Qxd5+ Kh7 39. Qf7+ Kh6 40. Qf8+ Kh5 41. Qf7+ Rg6 42. Qh7+ Qh6 and black wins.  So, in conclusion, 35…Nd5!! 36. exd5 Nd6 draws.

Now let’s go to the other, more conventional defense.  It leads to very wild situations!

35…Nd2 36. f7+ Kh7!

Position after 36...Kh7! (Analysis) - more craziness!

This surprising king move is the only move, once again, but an amazing resource!  Black must avoid the blunder 36… Kxf7?? 37. Qxc7+ Ke8 38. Qe5+ Kd8 39. Rxg4 Qf1+ 40. Kg3 Qe1+ 41. Kf4 Qf2+ 42. Kg5 and white should score the full point.

37. Rxg4! This leads to a draw.  Curiously, once again, it’s an only move.  Not the optically tempting underpromotion 37. f8=N+?! Kg8 38. Rxg4+ Qxg4 39. Qxd2 Qh4+ 40. Kf3 Qf6+ 41. Qf4 Qxf4+ 42. Kxf4 Kxf8 and black is clearly better.

37… Qf1+ 38. Kg3 Qe1+ 39. Kf4 Qxe4+ 40. Kg3!   Once again, an only move!. If 40. Kg5??, well that move is too frisky, and black wins:  40…Qe7+ 41. Kh5 Qxf7+ 42. Kh4 Qf6+ 43. Kg3 (43. Rg5 Qxg5+! 44. Kxg5 Ne4+ and wins) 43… Nf1 mate!

And we conclude this amazing variation with the prosaic

40..Qe1+ 41. Kh2 Nf1+ 42. Kg1 Nd2+ 43. Kh2 Nf1+ {perpetual check draw})  Wow!

Unfortunately, after the game’s lame 11. e4? move, the game concluded quickly in black’s favor:

11… g5! 12. exf5 g4 13. Nxe5 Nxe5 14. Be4 Nc6 15. Ne2 Bf6 16. Rb1 Qd6 17. h3 gxh3 18. Rxh3 Bd7 19. Rd3 Qf8 20. Bxc6 Bxc6 21. Re3+ Kd7 22. Bb2 Nd5 23. Qd3 Bxb2 24. Rxb2 Qxa3 25. Rc2 Rae8 26. Qd4 Kc8 0-1

Match Postscript

The two titans of chess history wound up battling to a draw in the Elista 2009 match.  I suddenly remembered a Spassky interview I had read somewhere.  Readers, I need help with its time and place.  I am also paraphrasing, and need the actual interview text.  Somebody asked Spassky to assess Korchnoi’s strengths and weaknesses.

Spassky said something like this: “Strengths:  encyclopedic opening knowledge, ruthless fighter, fierce uncompromising will to win, flawless endgame technique.  Weakness: no talent.”  It drew quite a snicker from us humor-loving fans.

A Nice Ending

This ending has occurred twice in the last two weeks!  The first, a OTB encounter between GMs.  The second…

Kuzmicz (2415) – Musialkiewicz (2147) Amplico Lite Rapid (6) 12/19/09

Position after 76…Bg3

White to play and win

In the game, white played 77. Rb5? Kf8 and now there’s no way to prevent Kf8-e8 with a draw.  Once black’s king has freedom on the queenside squares, it is still just close enough to run back and stop the h-pawn when white goes for the Rxg3 idea.

The correct line is very nice.

77. Rf5! Bh2 78. Rd5! Kf8 79. Rd4 Bg3 80. Re4! with a winning zugzwang; black must give up the h-pawn and the game.

The Fabulous 00s: Gentlemen, Test your Engines

December 4, 2009

Perplexing Sidelined Knight!

This highly perplexing ending just surfaced on ChessToday.Net (Mikhail Golubev commenting).  Thanks to chess enthusiast Kurt Stein for bringing this intricate ending, and the problems computer engines have with it, to my attention.

GM Viktor Laznicka (CZE) – GM Viktor Bologan (Moldavia)

World Cup  Khantiy-Mansiysk

As a preamble, I enjoyed GM Josh Friedel’s Chess Life Online narrative of the trials and tribulations just to get to this Siberian way-station. And then, to be eliminated practically as soon as one arrives is truly agonizing!

I thought it was bad enough to venture up to Toronto for a David Lavin tournament from New York City (taking People’s Express to Buffalo, then transferring to a bus across Niagara Falls and being faced with hostile customs questions) – this is worse. 🙂

Here’s the action after Laznicka launched a clever combination to put Bologan in quasi-zugzwang.

It’s a good position to test chess engines, because most scenarios are well beyond the engine horizon, even for the big names such as Rybka.

Position after 55. Kg2

Black to play.  Is this real zugzwang or quasi-zugzwang or pseudo-zugzwang?

Golubev indicates white is playing for a win, and that he surely is, but what’s the correct result?  A great computer test!

Black played 55…d4 here and lost slowly.  White’s king *carefully* approached the pawn and never allowed black knight fork tricks.

It is my contention that 55…Nb7!, shuttling between b7 and d6, draws if black leaves the pawn on d5 for the time being.  The point is, when white tries to approach the p/d5, THEN black gets fork tricks.


55…Nb7! 56. Kf2 Nd6 57. Ke1 Nb7 58. Kd2 Nd6 59. Kc3 Kxh4! – only now! and black is saved due to a fork.

Or, 59. Kd3 Kg4! 60. Kd4! is the only way for white to draw.  If 60. f6? Kf5! 61. Kd4 Ke6! wins for black.

In fact, there are some pure fantasy variations here with DOUBLE fork tricks!

Here is a really nice line from the start position:

55…Nb7 56. Kf1 Nd6 57. Ke1 Nb7 58. Kd1 Nd6 59. Kc1 Nb7 60. Kb2 Nd6 61. Kc3 Kxh4! (well-timed!)  62. Kd4! (not 62. f6? Ne4+ 63. Kd4 Nxf6 64. b7 Nd7) and look at this position:

Black to play. What's the best move?

Unbelievable analysis position.  It turns out black actually has two moves.

But NOT 62…Nxf5+?? 63. Kxd5 Ne7 64. Kc5! and the pawn queens – a common beginner’s error to snatch a poison pawn like this.  The mundane line is 62…Kg5 63. Kxd5 Nb7 and draws.  Hidden, though, is something much prettier.

62…Nc4!! Wow!!!  63. b7 Na5!! (Fork Trick #1) 64. f6? (64. b8=N! draws!) 64…Nxb7 65. f7 Nd8!! (Fork Trick #2!!)  and now forced is 66. f8=N (another under-promotion on a different square) 66…Kg5 and black has an edge (but not a forced win) in the resulting ending after 67. Kxd5 Kf5!  Wow!!    The multiple fork tricks and the multiple under-promotion defenses are really something special.

Conclusion: I don’t see any win for white if black just hangs tight with Nd6-b7-d6 shuttle, waiting for WK to approach.  Readers?

Thinking Your Way To Chess Mastery – 2nd Installment

The second installment of my live Internet-TV show has been postponsed to Monday, December 14th, at 2 PM PDT (5 PM EST). Register for free at Chess.Com and tune in (under the “Fun” tab on the right, you see the “TV” link).  This is different from most chess videos online because here you get people and chessboards, imagine that.  And live Q&A throughout.

Chess Today

I just started subscribing to GM Alex Baburin’s excellent, regular, chess periodical (emailed to the readers with PGN and CBV attached).   Good stuff!

In “CT”, I noticed GM Nakamura missed many chances to put long-suffering Ni Hua away, starting with the crunching 35. Rxh6 winning – for example 35…Ke4 36. e6! and fini.

My Laznicka-Bologan analysis (above) made it into CT Issue #3319.

And Readers Deserve to See

Maria Yurenok (photo from John Saunders London Press Release)

London Calling

The Fabulous 00s: The National Open 2001

July 19, 2008

Playin’ At The Riviera

The Las Vegas National Open is always a good time. The Riviera hotel is so close to the Peppermill coffee shop! This Peppermill is related to, but much smaller than, the behemoth Peppermill Casino in Reno.

Let’s look at six interesting games I played from the 2001 installment.

Round 1.

M. Ginsburg – J. Riddell (2075) Stonewall Dutch

1. c4 f5 2. d4 Nf6 3. g3 e6 4. Bg2 d5 5. Nf3 c6 6. Nbd2 Bd6 7. b3 Nbd7 8. Bb2 Ne4 9. O-O Qf6!? It might look strange to move out the queen so soon, but this move has a certain logic (queen to h6, other knight to f6, look for chances).

Position after 9…Qf6!? – the Queen sortie makes sense.

10. e3 This is somewhat unusual.

White can try 10. Ne1!? O-O 11. Nd3 Qh6 12. Nf3 a5 and it’s murky. Also interesting is 12… f4!? 13. gxf4 Bxf4 14. Nxf4 Qxf4 15. e3 Qf5 and only with great care can white get anywhere: 16. Qc2 Qh5 17. Ne5 Nxe5 18. dxe5 Qg5 19. Rae1 Rf3 20. Qe2! Rh3 21. f3 Nc5 22. cxd5 exd5 23. Qc2! Ne6 24. f4 Qg4 25. Qe2! Rh4 26. Qxg4 Rxg4 and white is better after 27. h3.

More usual than my move is 10. Qc2!? but black has had good results in the database after 10 Qc2 g5!? – more tests are needed!

10… O-O

A chaotic example from around the same time as this game: 10… h5 11. h4 Nxg3? Hopelessly unsound. 11…O-O is correct. 12. fxg3 Bxg3 13. cxd5 exd5 14. Qc2 Qe6 15. e4 Nf6 16. e5 Ng4 17. Ba3 b6 18. Ng5 Qg6 19. e6 Bb7 20. Qxf5 Qxf5 21. Rxf5 Ne3 22. Rf3 Bxh4 23. Nf7 Nc2 24. Nxh8 Bf6 25. Rxf6 gxf6 26. Rf1 Nxa3 27. Bh3 Kf8 28. Rxf6+ Kg7 29. Rf7+ Kxh8 30. Rxb7 Nb5 31. Nf3 c5 32. a4 Nxd4 33. Nxd4 cxd4 34. Rd7 Kg8 35. Rxd5 Rc8 36. Rxd4 Rc3 37. Re4 1-0 Koch,J-Zuriel,A (2182)/Buenos Aires 2001.

11. a4 Bc7 I like 11…b6 here better.

12. Ne1 Qh6 13. Nd3 Ndf6 14. Qe2 Bd7 Black can consider 14…Ng4!? 15. h3 Nxe3!? 16. fxe3 Nxg3 with counterchances.

15. Nf3 Ng4 16. Nde5 Bxe5 17. dxe5 Qh5 18. h3 Nh6 19. Ba3 Rfc8 20. Qc2 Nf7 21. Bb2 Neg5 22. Nh4 Nh6 23. f4 Ne4 24. Bf3 Qf7 25. g4 g5? This just doesn’t work at all. Black had to play 25…Qe7 26. g5 Nf7 with some disadvantage.

26. Bxe4 gxh4 27. Bf3 fxg4 28. hxg4 Qg6 29. Rf2?! White will win quickly after the obvious 29. Qxg6+ hxg6 30. Kg2! Nf7 31. Kh3! g5 32. Bg2.

29…Nf5 30. Re1?! And here, 30. Kh2! Ng3 31. Qxg6+ hxg6 32. Kh3 g5 33. Ba3! finishes it soon.

30…Ne7 31. e4 Rf8 32. Bc1 Kh8 33. cxd5 cxd5 34. Qc7 The simplest win is 34. exd5 Qxc2 35. Rxc2 Nxd5 36. Bxd5 exd5 37. e6 Bc6 38. Bb2+ Kg8 39. f5 h5 40. Rh2.

34… Rfd8 35. f5 exf5 36. e6 Qxe6 37. Bb2+ Getting the queen IN FRONT of the bishop on the a1-h8 diagonal wins. 37. Qc3+! d4 38. Qxd4+ Kg8 39. Bb2 Kf8 40. Qg7+ Ke8 41. gxf5 Qf7 42. Qh6. The text is OK too.

37… d4 38. Bxd4+ Kg8 39. Rg2? Those with tactical insight will quickly spot 39. gxf5! Nxf5 40. exf5! Qxe1+ 42. Kh2 and wins.

39…f4! 40. Qxf4 Ng6? The comedy of errors continues. 40…Rf8! is correct.

41. Qh6 Qf7 42. Be2 Be6 43. Rf2 Qd7 44. Bf6 Rf8 45. g5 Qf7 46. b4 Rad8 46… Rae8 is met by the same move as in the game, 47. Ref1.

47. Ref1 Rd7? 47….Qc7 was the last chance to resist.
48. Bc3 Qe7 49. Rxf8+ Nxf8 50. Rxf8+ Qxf8 51. Qxe6+ Black could have resigned here.

51…Qf7 52. Qe5 Qg6 53. Bc4+ Kf8 54. Qh8+ Ke7 55. Bf6+ Kd6 56. Qf8+ Kc7 57. Qc5+ Kb8 58. Be5+ 1-0

Round 2.

V. Nembu (2175) – M. Ginsburg. Reti

I like this game because it shows the advantages of patience – taking one’s opportunities when they arise, no matter how small. The game was drawish for a long time but I found some resources to keep things going. In the end, I scored the full point.

1. c4 Nf6 2. g3 c6 3. Nf3 d5 4. b3 Bg4 5. Bg2 Nbd7 6. Bb2 e6 Some players like to do …e7-e5 gaining the center. See, for example, Naroditsky-Friedel, Tulsa Qualifier US Ch 08.

7. d3 Be7 8. Nbd2 O-O 9. O-O a5 10. a3 Qb6 11. Bc3 h6 12. h3 Bh5 13. Qc2 Rfd8 14. Qb2 Nc5 15. Bd4 Apparently threatening b3-b4.

15…dxc4! Good tactical vision.

Position after 15…dxc4!

16. dxc4 White doesn’t gain much from the optically impressive 16. b4!? axb4 17. axb4 cxd3 18. e4 Rxa1 19. Rxa1 Rxd4 20. Qxd4 Ncd7 21. Qxd3 Bg6 22. Ra8+ Kh7 23. Nh4 Qxb4 equal — less good is 23… Bxb4? 24. Nxg6 fxg6 25. Nc4! with an edge. After, e.g., 24. Nxg6 fxg6 chances are balanced in the ending. (25. Qc2 Bc5 26. Ra4 Qb6 with play on the dark squares).

16… Bxf3 17. Bxf3 Rd7 18. Be3 Qd8 19. Qc2 e5 20. Bg2 Ne6 21. Nf3 Bd6 It’s still balanced.

22. Rfd1 Qf8 23. b4 axb4 24. axb4 Bxb4 25. Nxe5 Rxd1+ 26. Qxd1 Bc5 27. Rxa8 White offered a draw.

27…Qxa8 Clearly there is no risk so I play on.

28. Bxc5 Nxc5 29. Qd4 Ne6 30. Qb2 Qa5 31. Nd3 Qc7 Here white makes a psychological mistake. Ike should mark time.

Position after 31…Qc7. Not the right time for white to get all Nembu.

32. Qe5? An instructive error. This gives Black an easy plan. Simply *not* doing this would have been much better – i.e. leave the queens on.

32…Qxe5 33. Nxe5 Kf8 34. Nd3 Nd7 35. f4 Nb6 36. Nb2 Ke7 37. Kf2 Kd6 38. e3? A blunder. Superior was 38. Ke3 but even so, 38… Kc5 39. Nd3+ Kxc4 40. Ne5+ Kc3 41. Nxf7 Nc4+ 42. Kf2 Nc5 43. Nd8 b5 44. Nxc6 b4 45. Nxb4 Kxb4 46. e4 Kc3 47. e5 Kd4 and black keeps excellent chances to win.

38… Nc5! 39. Ke2 Nca4 40. Nxa4 Nxa4 41. Kd2 Kc5 White’s position is collapsing.

42. Bf1 Kb4 43. Kd3 Nb2+ 44. Kd4 c5+ 45. Kd5 Nd1 46. Ke4 f5+! Some nifty tactics spell the end.

47. Kf3 Nb2! 48. g4 fxg4+ 48…Nxc4! is the cleanest.

49. hxg4 Nxc4 50. Bd3 Nd2+ 51. Ke2 Kc3 52. Bg6 Nc4 53. e4 Kd4 54. e5 Ne3 55. Kf3 Nd5 56. Be4 b5 57. e6 Ne7 58. f5 b4 0-1

Round 3.

IM M. Ginsburg – GM Alex Chernin Catalan

In which I find myself in an unusual Catalan but adapt well.

1. c4 e6 2. Nf3 d5 3. g3 dxc4 4. Qa4+ Nd7 5. Bg2 c5 I was already pretty much on my own after this move. Sometimes, knowing less is better as that leads to finding more natural moves.

6. O-O Ngf6 7. Qxc4 b6 8. d4 Previously seen was 8. Qc2 Bb7 9. b3 Be7 10. Bb2 O-O 11. d3 Rc8 12. Nbd2 Nb8 13. Rfc1 Nc6 14. a3 Qd7 15. Qd1 Rfd8 16. Rab1 Nd5 17. Ba1 Nc7 18. Ne5 Qe8 19. b4 Nd5 20. b5 Nxe5 21. Bxe5 Qd7 22. Nc4 Nf6 23. Bxb7 Qxb7 24. Bxf6 Bxf6 25. Qf1 Rd5 26. Qg2 Qc7 27. a4 Rcd8 28. Rb3 h5 29. a5 bxa5 30. Ra3 Rb8 31. Rxa5 Qd7 32. Rb1 Bc3 33. Ra6 Rxb5 34. Rxb5 Qxb5 35. Rxa7 Qb8 36. Ra3 Bd4 37. Qe4 g6 38. Kg2 Kg7 39. e3 Bf6 40. h4 Be7 41. Qf3 Bf6 1/2-1/2 Andersson,U (2585)-Tal,M (2615)/Stockholm 1976. My move seems more active and to the point.

8… Bb7 9. Nc3 Rc8

Position after 9…Rc8

Eventually a peaceful result occurred in 9… a6 10. dxc5 Bxc5 11. Bg5 h6 12. Bxf6 Qxf6 13. Rad1 Rc8 14. Qd3 Nb8 15. Nd2 (typical Ulf simplifications) 15…Bxg2 16. Kxg2 O-O 17. Na4 Qd4 18. Qxd4 Bxd4 19. Nb3 Bf6 20. Nxb6 Rc2 21. Rd2 Rxb2 22. Rxb2 Bxb2 23. Rd1 Bf6, 1/2-1/2 Andersson,U (2605)-Sokolov,A (2595)/Belfort 1988.

10. Bg5 Not very impressive. Trickier is 10. Bf4 Be7 11. Rfd1 O-O 12. Qa4.

10…a6!? 11. dxc5 If 11. Rfd1 b5! 12. Qb3 c4! 13. Qc2 b4!, a very nice series of pawn moves. Then, 14. Na4 Be7 15. Ne5 Bxg2 16. Kxg2 Qa5 17. h3 Nxe5 18. dxe5 Qxe5 19. Nb6 Rc6 20. Bxf6 Bxf6 21. Nxc4 O-O 22. Rac1 Qc7 23. b3 and it’s balanced. Or, 11. a4 h6 12. Bxf6 Nxf6 13. Rfd1 cxd4 14. Qxd4 Qxd4 15. Nxd4 Bxg2 16. Kxg2 Bc5 17. Nb3 Ke7 18. Nxc5 Rxc5 19. Rd4 Rhc8 20. Rad1 Rc4 21. h3 g5 22. f4 gxf4 23. gxf4 Rxd4 24. Rxd4 Nd7 25. Kf3 f5 26. e4 fxe4+ 27. Rxe4 This is equal. Nevertheless, Yusupov playing black manages to ‘make something out of nothing’. 27…Rc5 28. Rd4 a5 29. Nb5 Rc2 30. b4 axb4 31. Rxb4 Nf6 32. Rd4 Rc1 33. Kg3 Rg1+ 34. Kf2 Rb1 35. Kg2 Rb3 36. Kh2? (36. Nd6! =) Nh5! 37. Nd6 Rb2+ 38. Kg1 Ng3! 39. Nc8+ Kf6 40. Rd6 Ne2+ 41. Kf1 Nxf4 42. Rxb6 Ra2 43. Rb3? (White can only toddle on with 43. Ra6 Nxh3 44. a5.) 43…Rxa4 Now black is completely winning. 44. Kf2 Ra2+ 45. Kg3 Ne2+ 46. Kg4 Ra4+ 47. Kh5 Nd4 48. Rg3 Ra5+ 0-1 Michelakis,G (2405)-Yusupov,A (2583)/Copenhagen 2003.

11…Rxc5?! Looks and is artificial.

11… Bxc5! 12. Qd3 (12. Qh4 O-O 13. Rfd1 Qe7 14. Rac1 h6 15. Bxf6 Nxf6 16. Na4 Rfd8 17. Rxd8+ Qxd8 18. Nxc5 Rxc5 19. Rxc5 bxc5 20. Qf4 Be4 21. Qd2 Qc7 22. Qc3 Qd6 23. Qd2 Bd5 24. a3 Qb8 {equal.}) 12… O-O 13. Rad1 Qe7 14. Rd2 h6 15. Be3 b5 16. Rfd1 Bxe3 17. Qxe3 b4 18. Na4 Rc7 19. Nb6 Nxb6 20. Qxb6 Rfc8 21. Ne5 Nd5 22. Qd4 f6 23. Ng6 Qf7 24. Bxd5 Bxd5 25. Nf4 Rc4 26. Qd3 Be4 27. Qd6 e5 28. Nd5 Bxd5 29. Rxd5 Rc1 equal.

12. Qb3

I think less good is 12. Qd3?! Be7 13. Be3 Rc8 14. Rfd1 O-O 15. Rac1 b5 and black is fine.

12… Be7 13. Be3 Rc8 14. Rfd1 Agreed drawn here. This is a case of giving the GM respect; after a continuation such as 14…O-O 15. Rac1 (15. Ne5 accomplishes nothing due to 15…Bxg2 16. Kxg2 Qc7 17. Nxd7 Nxd7 18. Ne4 Rfd8 19. Rac1 Nc5 20. Bxc5 bxc5 21. Qc4 Qc6 22. f3 Rd5 23. Nc3 Bg5 24. Rb1 Rdd8 25. Ne4 Be7 and this is dead equal) 15… Nd5 16. Bd4 Nxc3?! (16…Bc5! appears stronger) 17. Bxc3 Bd5 18. Qa4 Nc5 19. Qg4 Bf6 20. Nd4 g6 21. e4 Bxa2 22. Nc6 Rxc6 23. Rxd8 Bxd8 24. Bd4 Rd6 25. Bxc5 bxc5 26. Qf3! and white is better. At any rate, white was not risking anything and should not have curtailed the game after 14 moves.


Round 4.

In which mighty Irish GM Baburin unaccountably hangs a rook at the end of a virtuoso technical performance, drawing. He was so angry that in print later on he referred to this as a draw versus a random guy. I know how he feels. I have drawn “random” guys too (games I tried to put out of my memory).

GM Alex Baburin – IM M. Ginsburg King’s Indian Round 4

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 d6 3. Nf3 c6 4. g3 g6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. O-O O-O 7. Nc3 Bf5!? An under-rated line.

Position after 7…Bf5!?

8. Ne1 If this retreating move is the best white has, I am surprised we don’t see this line more often.

8…e5 9. d5 cxd5 10. cxd5 Na6 11. e4 Bd7 12. Nd3 Qa5 White has a perfect score (2 and 0) when I checked the database with this, but it’s actually about equal. That’s why it’s under-rated and deserves more tryouts!

13. a3 Rfc8 The clever 13… Qc7 14. Bd2 Qc4! is a nice, active regrouping. After the plausible 15. Qe2 Rfc8 16. b4 Rc7 17. Rfc1 black has enough activity.

14. h3 Of course, this position has been seen many times in practice. White also has 14. Bd2 and now black can choose between the normal 14…Qd8 and the surprising 14…Nc5!?

Let’s first see 14…Nc5!? 15. b4 (15. Nxc5 Qxc5 16. Be3 Qa5 17. f3 Rc7 (17… h5 18. Qd2 Qd8 19. Rfc1 a6 20. Rc2 b5 21. Rac1 Rab8 22. b4) 18. Qb3 Rac8 19. Rfe1 Nh5 20. a4 Rc4 21. Qxb7 R4c7 22. Qb3 Rc4 23. Qa3 Rb4 24. Rec1) 15… Qa6! 16. Nxc5 (16. Nxe5 dxe5 17. bxc5 Rxc5 18. Qb1 Rac8 19. Rc1 Ng4 20. f3 (20. h3 Bh6 21. f4 Qc4 22. Nb5 Qe2 23. Rxc5 Rxc5 24. Qe1 Qxe1+ 25. Rxe1 Rxb5 26. hxg4 Bxg4 27. Bc1 Rb1 28. d6 Bg7 29. Bd2 Rb6 30. Bb4 a5 31. Bxa5 Rxd6 32. Rb1 Rd7 33. Bc3 Rd3 34. Be1 Bc8 35. Rc1 Be6 36. Rb1 Bb3 37. Rc1 h5 38. Rc8+ Kh7 39. f5 Ba4 40. Rc7 Rd7 41. Rc4 Bb5 42. Rc5 Bc6) 20… Rb5 21. Nxb5 Qb6+ 22. Kh1 Nf2+ 23. Kg1 Nh3+ 24. Kh1 Qg1+ 25. Rxg1 Nf2#) 16… dxc5 17. b5 Bxb5 18. Nxb5 Qxb5 19. Rb1 Qa6 20. Qb3 Rc7)

Now let’s try the more solid move. 14. Bd2 Qd8, 15. b4 Nc7 (15… Rc4 16. Rc1 Rac8 17. Qe2 Bg4 18. f3 Bd7 19. Nb2 R4c7 20. Rc2 h5 21. h4 Bh6 22. Bxh6 Rxc3 23. Rxc3 Rxc3 24. Qf2 Rxa3 25. Qxa7 Rb3 26. Nc4 Nxb4 27. Nxd6) 16. a4 Nce8 17. b5 Nh5 18. Nb4 Qb6 19. a5 Qd4 20. a6 bxa6 21. Nc6 Bxc6 22. bxc6 Nc7 23. Ra4 Qb6 24. Qa1 Ne8 25. Rxa6 Qd8 26. Rb1 f5 27. Rxa7 Nhf6 28. Be3 Rxa7 29. Qxa7 Ra8 30. Qb7 Nc7 31. Bb6 Nfe8 32. Nb5 Rb8 33. Bxc7 Nxc7 34. Nxc7 and black resigned. Polgar,Z (2510)-Paunovic,D (2455)/San Sebastian 1991. It’s too soon to draw conclusions, but 14…Nc5 needs more checking.

14… Nc7 15. a4 b5? Correct was the psychologically difficult return with 15… Na6! 16. Bd2 Qc7 17. Rc1 Qc4 18. Qe2 Nb4 19. Nxb4 Qxb4 20. Qe3 Bxa4 21. Nxa4 Qxa4 22. b4 Qa2 23. Ra1 Qb2 24. Rfc1 a6 25. Bc3 Qb3 26. Bd2 Qxe3 27. Bxe3 Kf8 28. g4 Ke7 and black is OK. The hackneyed text gets black into a risky situation.

16. Bd2 bxa4 17. Nxa4 Qb5 18. Bb4 Nxe4? Very frisky but not good by the immutable laws of chess. 18… Nce8! is the sensible choice: 19. Nc3 Qb7 20. b3 Bh6 (for example) and the game continues.

19. Bxe4 f5 The craven capture 19… Bxh3 20. Nc3 Qb7 21. Bg2 Bxg2 22. Kxg2 Nb5 23. Ra5! looks really bad for black.

20. Nc3! Black has totally lost the opening discussion.

20…Qc4 20… Qb7 21. Bg2 is also very nasty.

21. Bxd6 fxe4 22. Nxe5 Bxe5 23. Bxe5 Nb5 24. Re1 Nxc3 25. Bxc3 Rf8 26. Qd4 Qxd4 27. Bxd4
Bxh3 28. Rxe4
Needless to say, this is horrific for Black.

28…Bf5 29. Re7 Rf7 30. d6 a6 31. Rae1 Raf8 32. R1e3 Bd7 33. Rc3 Re8 34. Rce3? 34. Rxe8+! is the easiest win. Then, 34…Bxe8 35. Rc8 Kf8 36. Bc5 Rd7 37. Ra8 and finito.

34… Ref8 35. R3e5 35. f4 wins easily too. 35…Rxe7 36. Rxe7 Rf7 37. Re1 Rf5 38. Be5 Kf7 39. g4 is a humorous rook trap.

35… Bb5 36. Re1 Bd7 37. b3 Bb5 38. Rc1 Rxe7 39. dxe7 Re8 40. Bc5 Kf7 41. b4 Rc8 42. Rd1 Be8 43. Rd8 Rc6 44. Ra8 Re6 45. f4 h5 46. Kh2 Re2+ 47. Kh3 Re6 48. Kh4 Rc6 49. Kg5 Re6 50. Rd8 Rc6 51. Ra8 Re6 52. Kh4 Rc6 53. f5 Rf6 54. fxg6+ Rxg6 55. Kxh5 Rxg3 56. Rxa6 With some nice maneuvering, white picked up another pawn. The end shouldn’t be too far off now.

56…Rg2 57. Kh4 Bd7 58. Ra8 Be8 59. Ra1 Ke6 60. Rd1 Kf7 61. Rd3 Ke6 62. Rg3 Rd2 63. Kg5 Rd1 64. Re3+ Kd7 65. Kf6 Rf1+ 66. Ke5 Kc6 67. Rd3 Re1+ 68. Kf6 Kc7 69. Re3 Rh1 70. Kg7 Rf1 71. Rd3 Bc6 72. Rd2 Bb5 73. Re2 Be8 74. Rf2 Re1 75. Kf8 Bb5 76. Rf5 Bc6 77. Bd4 Kb7 78. b5 Bd7 79. b6? Tired from the long game, white hangs his rook. 79. Rd5 Kc8 80.b6 Ba4 81. Ra5 Rf1+ 82. Kg8 Be8 83. Ra8+ Kd7 84. Bc5! is a nice maneuver that would have ended Black’s resistance. The game would conclude, 84…Bh5 85. b7 Rb1 86. b8=Q Rxb8+ 87. Rxb8.

79… Bxf5 It’s a testament to the strength of white’s game that he can withstand the loss of a rook without losing.

80. e8=Q {Agreed drawn.} 1/2-1/2

Round 5

An effortless win in an Eingorn King’s Indian as white.

M. Ginsburg – FM T. Brownescombe King’s Indian, Eingorn Variation

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. d4 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. O-O Nc6 8. d5
Ne7 9. Bg5
GM Viacheslav Eingorn’s Line – I really enjoy it – it accelerates white’s queenside play. The cool thing about Eingorn is that it means “one horn” (Unicorn). A spelling variant is Einhorn.

See the Appendix at the bottom of this post for a related idea in the Bayonet KID, where white also gives up the queen bishop early for accelerated queenside play.

Position after Eingorn’s 9. Bg5.

9…h6 Of course, 9…Nh5 is a major alternative. I like to respond with 10. Ne1 Nf4 11. Nd3! giving black a choice between Nxe2 and Nxd3. White usually has f2-f4, counterpunching, in these lines. I have mostly good results with that treatment.

10. Bxf6 Not very thematic is the historical game I found 10. Bd2?! Nd7 11. Qc1 Kh7 12. Ne1 f5
13. g3 fxe4 14. Nxe4 Nf5 15. Nc2 c6 16. dxc6 bxc6 17. Bb4 Nf6 18. Bf3 a5 19. Ba3 Qc7 20. Qd2 Rd8 21. Rac1 Be6 22. Qe2 Qf7 23. b3 Nxe4 24. Bxe4 d5 25. cxd5 cxd5 26. Bg2 Rac8 27. Qa6 e4 28. Ne3 Nd4 29. Rxc8 Rxc8 30. Qxa5 Ne2+ 31. Kh1 d4 32. Nd1 Bg4 33. h3 Bf3 34. Qe1 Rc2 35. Kh2 Bxg2 36. Kxg2 Qf3+ 37. Kh2 Be5 38. Rg1 Nxg3 0-1 Golombek,H-Bronstein,D/London 1954.

10… Bxf6 11. b4 Bg7 12. c5 f5 13. Nd2 fxe4 14. Ndxe4 Nf5 15. Bg4! White enjoys an edge after this move. Possible is 15. Rc1 h5 16. cxd6 cxd6 17. Nb5 Bh6 18. Rc3 Rf7 19. Bxh5 gxh5 20. Qxh5 a6 21. Nbxd6 Nxd6 22. Qxh6 Nxe4 with craziness, Grivas,E (2485)-Arduman,C (2390)/Zouberi 1993. Black eventually won that game.

15…Nd4 16. Bxc8 Rxc8 17. Qd3 Qd7 18. f3 Rf4? Black needed to play 18… h5! 19. a4
h4 with activity.

19. a4 Rcf8 What are the rooks doing?
20. cxd6 cxd6 21. Rac1?! Tempting and strong was 21. Nb5! Nxb5 22. axb5 Qc7 23. Qe3 Qc4 24. Qxa7 Qxd5 25. Rfd1 Qxb5 26. Nxd6 Qxb4 27. Ne4 Qe7 28. Qb6 Kh7 29. Rd6 Qf7 30. Qb5 Qc7 31. Rd7 Qc6 32. Qxc6 bxc6 33. Raa7 Rg8 34. h4 Kh8 35. Rdc7 and white wins.

21… R8f7 22. Nb5! Returning to the correct idea.

22…Nxb5 23. Qxb5 Qxb5 24. axb5 Bf8?! Black needed 24…Rd7! 25. Ra1 b6 26. Rfc1 g5 27. Rc8+ Rf8 28. Rc6 Rfd8 and he retains defensive chances.

25. Rc8 Rd7 26. Kf2 Kg7 27. R fc1 b6 28. Ke2 Be7? A blunder ending the game. He needed 28… Rff7 ! 29. R1c6 Be7 30. Kd3 g5 31. Kc4 Kg6 32. Rg8+ Rg7 33. Rh8 Rh7 34. Re8 Kf7 35. Rec8 Kg6 to continue.

29. R8c7 Rxc7 30. Rxc7 Rf7 31. Rxa7 Bf8 32. Rxf7+ Kxf7 33. Nd2 Sadistic.

33…Be7 34. Nc4 Bd8 35. Nxd6+ Ke7 36. Nc4 1-0

Round 6

The dream felll to earth when I played an opening my opponent knew far better than I! I found out later he had suffered (for example vs Kasparov) in this system. No preparation = bad preparation!

GM A. Yermolinsky – IM M. Ginsburg Bogo-Indian, 4. Nbd2.

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Bb4+ 4. Nbd2 I had introduced played 4. Bd2 c5!?? versus Seirawan, World Open 1984, and a hard-fought draw resulted. Some Russian sources mention Vitolinsh started it, but I’m not sure; we have to check the chronology. No such luck here, Alex goes for the same line. I was fundamentally not ready.

4…d5 I trust this more than 4…b6. However, I must know theory to play this (see note to black move 7) so as not to fall into a passive game with the opponent holding the bishop pair “for free”.

5. Qa4+ Nc6 A tradeoff: the knight blocks the c-pawn, but also the WQ isn’t so wonderful out on a4.

6. a3 Grossly premature is 6. Ne5? Bd7 (I played the hideous lemon 6…Bd6? a long time ago vs. Peter Biyiasis! — 7. c5, oops!) 7. Nxc6 (7. Nxd7 Qxd7 8. e3 e5 9. dxe5 Ne4 10. Qc2 Nxe5 11. Be2 Qc6 12. f3 Nxd2 13. Bxd2 Bxd2+ 14. Qxd2 Nxc4 is OK) 7… Bxd2+ 8. Bxd2 Bxc6 and black is doing great.

6…Bxd2+! Retreating the bishop yields quite a poor and passive game.

7. Bxd2

Position after 7. Bxd2. An important theoretical moment in the Bogo-Indian.

7…O-O? A theoretical lemon!

If black knew theory, he would select the freeing 7… Ne4! and now white has two main tries. A. 8. e3, and B. 8. Rd1. The practical examples are of great interest.

Try A.

8. e3 O-O 9. Qc2 and here the roads diverge.

A1. 9…e5!? 10. cxd5 Nxd2 11. dxc6 Nxf3+ 12. gxf3 exd4 (A very sharp treatment!) 13. O-O-O Qf6 14. Rxd4 Qxf3 15. Rg1 Bf5 16. Qc3 Bg6 17. cxb7 Rab8 18. Ba6 Qf6 19. Ra4 Qxf2 20. Rf1 Qxh2 21. Rc4 Qd6 22. Rc6 Qd5 23. Rxc7 Qa2 24. Rc8 Qb1+ 25. Kd2 Rd8+ 26. Qd4 Qxb2+ and drawn eventually in a fascinating tactical duel, 1/2-1/2 Ftacnik,L (2585)-Hracek,Z (2605)/Prievidza 1997.

A2. Quite playable here is 9… Nxd2!? 10. Qxd2 b6 11. b4 dxc4 12. Bxc4 Bb7 13. Qc2 a5 14. b5 Ne7 15. Bd3 Bxf3 16. gxf3 g6 17. Be4 Rc8 18. Rc1 Qd6 19. Bb7 Rb8 20. Qxc7 Qxa3 21. O-O Rfd8 22. Qxb6 Nd5 23. Qa6 Qe7 24. Bxd5 Qg5+ 25. Kh1 Qxd5 26. Qc6 Rxb5 27. Qxd5 Rdxd5 28. Rc8+ Kg7 and drawn eventually, Chabanon,J (2504)-Miralles,G (2451)/France 2003)

There is also

B. 8. Rd1!? and here B2 seems to be better than B1.

B1. 8… O-O 9. e3 Ne7?! 10. Qc2 b6 11. Bd3 Bb7 12. O-O Ng6 13. b4 (13. Ne5! right away!) 13…f5 14. Ne5 dxc4 15. Bxc4 Qd6 and draw, Petrosian,A (2495)-Spassky,B (2610)/Sarajevo 1986 but white has a small edge in the final position.

B2. Probably stronger is 9… Bd7! The computer approves of this move and says equality. 10. Qc2 Be8 11. b4 (11. Bd3 f5 12. cxd5 exd5 13. Ne5 Bh5 14. Rc1 Nxe5 15. dxe5 Qg5 16. O-O Bf3 17. g3 Qg4 18. Rfe1 c5 19. b3 Ng5 20. Bc3 Be4 21. Bxe4 fxe4 22. Re2 Qh3) 11… a6 12. Bc1 f5 13. Be2 Bh5 14. O-O Rf6 15. g3 Bg4 16. Kg2 and draw, Lputian,S (2555)-Rohde,M (2555)/Saint John 1988.

Not knowing any of this, I get in a difficult situation. Boo!

8. Bg5! This is the problem! The annoying pin gives white an obvious edge! 9… h6
9. Bh4! “Soft” in Stohl’s parlance is the compliant capture 9. Bxf6? Qxf6 10. e3 Rd8 11. Rc1 Qe7 12. cxd5 exd5 13. Bb5 Nb8 14. Bd3 c6 15. O-O Nd7 16. Bb1 Nf6 17. Ne5 Ng4 18. Qc2 g6 19. Qc3 Qh4 20. h3 Nxe5 21. dxe5 d4 22. exd4 Qxd4 23. Qxd4 Rxd4 24. Rfd1 Rxd1+ 25. Rxd1 Be6 26. Rd6 g5 27. Kh2 a5 {1/2-1/2 Kozul,Z (2600)-Galego,L [2538]/Kusadasi 2006.

9… Re8 9… Bd7 10. Qc2 (10. e3) 10… Rc8 11. Ne5) If 9… dxc4 10. e3 Ne7 11. Bxf6 gxf6 12. Qxc4 {Obviously good for white.} 12…Bd7 13. Be2?! (more active is 13. Bd3! Bc6 14. O-O-O Qd6 15. Kb1 b5 16. Qc5 Qxc5 17. dxc5 e5 18. e4 Ng6 19. g3 Rfd8 20. Bc2 Kg7 21. Rhe1 Bd7 22. Rd3 Bg4 23. Red1) (13. Rc1 Bc6 14. Qc5 Kg7 15. Bd3 Nd5 16. h4 Rg8 17. Rh3 Kh8 18. Kf1 Qd6 19. b4 a6 {About even.}) 13… Bc6 14. O-O Qd5 15. Qc2 Qe4 16. Qc5 Ng6 17. Ne1 Qd5 18. Qc3 Nh4 19. f3 Rad8 20. Rf2 e5 and drawn eventually, Giffard,N (2324)-Villeneuve,A (2247)/Le Touquet 2005/EXT 2006})

10. e3 a6 At this stage it’s hard to offer advice. 10… Bd7 11. Qc2 Qe7 12. O-O-O a5 13. Ne5 g5 14. Bg3 Ne4 15. Bd3 Nxe5 16. Bxe5 Bc6 17. f3 f6 18. fxe4 fxe5 19. dxe5 dxc4 20. Qxc4 a4 21. Qc3 Rf8 22. Rhf1 Kg7 23. Kb1)

11. Rd1 Bd7 12. Qc2 Rc8? This is the last chance for a decent game with 12… b5! 13. cxb5 axb5 14. Bxb5 Nb4!? or 14. Bd3 e5!? in both cases with a defensible position and only a slight white advantage.

13. Ne5 g5 Dreadful. The alternatives were also unappealing. 13… Ne7 14. Bd3 dxc4 15. Bxc4 Nfd5 16. O-O f6 17. Nxd7 Qxd7 18. e4 b5 19. Ba2 Nf4 20. Bg3 Nh5 21. Qb3 Ng6 22. f4 Kh7 23. e5 Rcd8 24. Qc2 Nxg3 25. hxg3 c6 26. g4 and white is way on top.

14. Bg3 Ne7

Black suffers after 14… Qe7 15. cxd5 Nxd5 16. h4 Nxe5 17. dxe5 Bb5 18. Bxb5 axb5 19. hxg5 Qxg5 20. Qe4 Rf8 21. Rh4 Kh8 22. Ke2 Qg6 23. Qf3.

15. h4

Now it’s just horrible for black. The irritating thing is that I posed no obstacles and white found simple moves to get a big edge.

15…Kg7 16. Bd3 Rh8 Black also has a very bad game after 16… Nf5 17. hxg5 hxg5 18. cxd5 Nxg3 19. fxg3 exd5 20. Bf5 Be6 21. Bxe6 Rxe6 22. Qf5.

17. Qe2 Ba4 Black can try 17… Bc6 18. c5 Nf5 19. Nxc6 bxc6 20. Be5 but again white has a solid edge.

18. Rd2 Ne4? Really a bad day. Necessary was 18… dxc4! to make some room and then 19. Bxc4 (19. Nxc4 Bc6) 19…Bc6 and black can play on. Even in bad positions there are ways to offer resistance.

19. Bxe4 dxe4 20. Qh5 Qg8 21. hxg5 21. Ng4! at first was crushing.

21…hxg5 22. Qxg5+ Kf8 23. Rxh8 Qxh8 24. Qh4 Qxh4 25. Bxh4 Ng6 26. Bf6 Nxe5 27. dxe5 c5 28. f4 b5? Another blunder, but after 28…exf3 white should win eventually anyway.

29. Rd6 Bb3 30. cxb5 axb5 31. Rb6 Bc4 32. g4 Kg8 33. Rb7 Bd3 34. f5 b4 35. fxe6 fxe6 36. g5 1-0

Uck! Very poor. This seems to happen at least once per tournament!

Appendix:  Related Bayonet KID Material

Readers will find the following interesting as an additional material to the Eingorn KID above.  In the following case, too, the white queen bishop is given up and the g7-a1 diagonal “points at nothing” to justify white’s play.

King’s Indian Defense, 9. b4!? Bayonet Attack

NM Mark Ginsburg vs NM Glenn Lambert
Lloyds Bank Open, London 1978

This game was really wild and featured (at the time) very topical Bayonet Attack King’s Indian Defense theory. GM-to-be Ron Henley was another practitioner of the white side.

1.c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 g6 3. e4 d6 4. d4 Bg7 5. Be2 O-O 6. Nf3 e5 7. O-O Nc6 8. d5 Ne7 9. b4!?

The Bayonet Attack, 9. b4!?, was popularized much later by GM Kramnik. In the 70’s, we played it differently. The differences will become clear. At any rate, the white king is not in danger of being mated so that is a distinct plus of the variation.

9…Nh5!? The most testing reply. 9…Nd7? runs into the strong gambit 10. c5! as IM Eugene Meyer proved at least a few times. It’s no fun in that line to face 10…dxc5 11. bxc5 Nxc5 12. Ba3.

9…a5?! also isn’t great; Black is playing on the side of the board where White is faster. After 10. bxa5 Rxa5 11. a4 white established a big initiative and went on to win, IM Ginsburg-GM Biyiasis, Philadelphia 1982. We will cover that game in an installment of The Fabulous 80s. White also has 10. Ba3!? there, avoiding 10. bxa5 c5!? which GM Nunn said was good for black. That conclusion is not altogether clear to me – refer to a more recent installment to see more.

10. c5 Logical. White is preparing to give up the unmoved bishop on c1 to accelerate his queenside play. In later years, 10. Re1 Nf4 11. Bf1 came into fashion to ignore the N on f4, arguing it simply impedes the attack. The text is more to the point in terms of queenside activity and leads to positions that are worth a re-visit even in today’s theory landscape.


The former tabiya of this variation until 10. Re1 replaced 10 c5. Maybe the current game will trigger a re-investigation of certain key positions after 10. c5.

10…Nf4 One of the main moves. I have faced 10…a5!? in a tournament game, but playing all the board looks a little haphazard for black. Black also has 10…f5!? here which I was always curious about but never had to face. Black seems OK after 11. Ng5!? Nf4! as I learned in a blitz game with IM David Goodman so maybe white is better off with 10…f5!? 11. Bc4!? – the entire system needs more exploration. After the text, the next moves for both sides are clear for a while.

11. Bxf4 exf4 12. Rc1 h6 13. h3 g5 14. a4 (14. Re1!?)

14…Ng6? 14…f5 is superior here. Play might proceed 15. cxd6 cxd6 16. Nd2 Bd7 with a small edge for white.

15. cxd6 cxd6 16. Nb5! Now white is on top.

16…a6 17. Nc7 This piece is really powerful with influence all over the board.

17…Rb8 18. b5 Strangely, the hard to spot 18. a5! is strong here too. For example, 18. a5 Bd7 19. b5 axb5 20. Qb3 f5 21. exf5 Bxf5 22. Bd3 with a white plus.

18… axb5 19. axb5 Qe7 20. Re1! b6 20…Qxe4?! leads to big trouble after 21. Bc4 Qf5 22. Bc4 Qf6 (22…Qd7? 23. Bxg6 fxg6 24. Ne6! Rf7 (24…Rf6? 25. Rc7!) 25. Qd3! Kh7 26. b6! with total paralysis, an unusually nice winning line.) 23. Ne8! Qd8 24. Nxg7 Kxg7 with massive compensation after, e.g., 25. Qd2.

21. Na6 Rb7


Both sides are playing consistent moves yet white’s chances have to be rated higher, since he is faster in his plans.

22. Nd4? A blunder. 22. Bc4! or 22. Qb3! or even 22. Bf1 were all fine and black has a very bad position. White thought the e-pawn is immune, but it is not. After 22. Qb3!, the e-pawn really is immune due to 22…Qxe4? 23. Bd3 trapping the queen. 22. Qb3 Bd7 23. Nb4 and white has a big edge.

22…Bxd4? As so often happens, the opponent trusts an erroneous calculation and makes a blunder in reply. 22…Qxe4! 23. Nc6 Ne5 and black is back in the game although white has some compensation.

23. Qxd4 Ne5 24. Nb4 Qf6 25. Nc6 An amusing dance of the knights. White protects the queen on d4 and wards off tactics.

25…f3 Black might as well sharpen the game to the utmost because he is positionally behind.

26. Bxf3 Nxf3+ 27. gxf3 Qxf3 28. Rc3 Qf4 29. Kg2 f6 30. Rf3 Qh4 31. Ree3 g4 32. hxg4 Bxg4 33. Rg3 Kh7

The game is getting very exciting, and both players are getting short of time to the time control on move 40!

34. e5! Objectively white is winning now but it will be a nervous affair with both kings exposed.


34…Rg7 35. exd6 Qh5 36. Qe4+ 36. Kg1 is winning with less tricks. 36…Kh8 37. Ne7 f5

Black does his best to find tactical counter-chances. One slip up from White and the tables might turn completely!

38. Qf4 Ra8 Trying his last chance. Black activates his rook and tries to keep an attack alive.

39. Re1?! 39. d7 wins cleanly.

39…Ra4! Grasping at every possible chance and forcing a crisis.


Quick, you have no time, what do you play??

40. Rh1!!

Right! Deduct points if you played 40. Qxa4?? Bf3+ 41. Kf1 Qh1 and mate next move. In addition, the flashy 40. Ng6+? Rxg6 41. Re8+ Kh7 42. Re7+ is simply a draw. The text, temporarily sacrificing a rook, is the only way to win.

40…Qxh1+ 41. Kxh1 Rxf4 42. d7 Bf3+ 43. Kg1!

No points for 43. Kh2?? Rh4+ 44. Rh3 Rg2+ and black mates.

43…Rh4 44. d8=Q+ Kh7 45. Rxg7+ Kxg7 46. Nxf5+ 1-0

A tremendous fight! It takes two players to create such an exciting battle of chess ideas.