This amusing annual Bill Goichberg event (always at the Bally’s hotel, Las Vegas) was, well… amusing again. In one droll episode, NM Zimbeck arrived late for a game with SM Bryant. Zimbeck bashes out 1. d4 without filling in the player names or the move on his scoresheet and Bryant plays 1… Nf6. Zimbeck continues to not keep score and emphatically blitzes out one of the worst moves possible, 2. f3. I found it quite droll that this move merited not keeping score. To continue with the drollity, in his middlegame Zimbeck was visited by a lady friend who seemed to be tubercular, emitting continuous coughs that were not alleviated by a cough drop. Since I was right next to all this, it was good theater – except I #$%*#* drew Rubshamen. I will present the Rubshamen game so you see the irritation.
The chess for me was hard slogging. Many of the lower rated masters, such as the Champion of Hawaii (!) Rubshamen (2260), defended doggedly coming up with many defensive resources (in both the G/75 and the 40/2 games). Lower rated players must be getting stronger?
I played in four such tiring G/75 games (2.5 out of 4), drew the aforementioned agonizing superior middlegame vs. Rubshamen by transposing into the wrong ending, then recouped somewhat in the last two rounds with a win over ICC personality “f-pawn” (Aigner) and a rather fortunate draw with black against tough GM Cicak (2664) in the last round, so finishing with 4.5 out of 7. Let’s see a sharp Round 2 struggle versus GM Alex Shabalov.
Ginsburg – GM Shabalov NAO 08, Round 2. G/75. 1…b6.
The last time and only time I played Alex, Reno 1992 (one of my three blacks in a row courtesy of the bizarre Weikel “policy” of occasionally awarding three blacks in a row for no reason in critical last rounds – Weikel defended the policy by bellowing incoherently at the top of his lungs), he misplayed as white and I took a draw in a winning position, not realizing it was winning. I was chided by Bruce Leverett in the chess newsgroups (remember those, they were big in 1992). Time for the second game.
1. c4 b6 2. d4 e6 3. a3 f5 I had pleasant memories of this offbeat variation from my Hammer game. Of course, remembering prior games precisely is not always easy. And not everyone would sacrifice early like Jon Ludwig.
4. Nc3 Nf6 5. d5 Ba6 A strange move, but in the wise words of GM Hellers, “you have to do something.” It was indicative of my state of mind that I considered 6. e4!? seriously here – I mut have been in crazy attack mode. In the end, I settled for a good, solid, move. But in fact 6. e4!? is fine, since 6…fxe4! (note that black is worse in the nice forcing sequence after 6…Nxe4? 7. Nxe4 fxe4 8. Qh5+ g6 9. Qe5 Rg8 10. dxe6 Nc6 11. exd7++ Kxd7 12. Qd5+ Bd6 13. Be2!) 7. dxe6 dxe6 8. Qxd8+ is just equal.
Position after 5…Ba6
6. Qa4 exd5 The subtleties of this variation are beyond me. As black, I would not do this (yet) and play 6…Bd6 instead. The risky 6…Bc5 is also available.
7. cxd5 Bd6 8. Bf4! An unusual set-up (Qa4 protecting f4) allows this trade which is to white’s advantage.
8…Qe7 Not absurd is 9…O-O!? 10. Bxd6 cxd6 10. Nf3 Qc8!?.
9. Bxd6 Qxd6 10. Rd1! No reason to put the king on the open queenside. 10…O-O 11. Nf3 Re8 12. e3! Bxf1 13. Kxf1 Ne4! The best way to keep activity but white has an edge. 14. Nb5 Qc5 15. Qb3! White is getting alarming attacking chances.
Position after 15…Kh8. Go for the throat?
16. d6? I am too excited to make a direct attack in this action game. As Shabalov mentioned after the game, the simple g2-g3 and Kf1-g2 keeps a very solid edge for white. For example, 16. g3 Na6 17. Kg2 c6 18. dxc6 dxc6 19. Nbd4 and black’s position is very bad.
16…cxd6 17. h4 a6 Another good move here is 17… f4! with a sample variation 18. Rd5 Qc6 19. exf4 Qc1+ 20. Rd1 Qc5 21. Nfd4 Nc6 22. Qd3 Rac8 23. Rh3 d5 and it’s balanced.
18. Nbd4? Another mistake. 18. Rd5! is clearly right. 18… Qc1+
19. Rd1 Qc5 repeats, and 18….Qc6 19. Nc3! (I did not see this move) is a white edge as the dangerous N/e4 is eliminated, freeing the WN on f3 to do damage. Black should therefore give the check to repeat. If black does not repeat with 18…Qc1+ 19. Rd1 Qc6?, then 20. Nbd4 Qc5 21. Ng5! is crushing. For example, 21…Nxg5 22. hxg5 Nc6 23. g6 h6 24. Rxh6+! (a typical attacking idea) 24…gxh6 25. Qf7 and wins.
18… Nc6 19. Ng5 Re7! Excellent play. I didn’t see this which explains the prior mistake. If white gives a check on f7, black takes, takes on d4, and invades with the queen, winning.
20. Ne2 Rf8 21. Nf4? Again, I am too focused on attack against the BK when it’s high time to figure out the best ending to hold. A better try is 21. Rd5 but black has the nice and aesthetic shot 21…Re5!! keeping a small edge. On the other hand, the move I saw, 21… Na5 22. Rxc5 Nxb3 23. Rc7 Nf6 24. g3 Re5 25. Nc3 Rc5 26. Ra7 a5 is about equal.
21… Na5 22. Qd5 Nc4 Of course. Black’s once dormant knight is now a powerhouse on c4.
23. h5?? Completing the ‘attack suicide’. White can only stay in the game with 23. Nxe4 fxe4 24. Qxc5 dxc5 25. b3 Nxa3 26. Ra1 Nb5 27. Rxa6 Rb8 and although black is better, much work remains. It’s important in action games to resist like this.
23… Nxe3+! Did I really expect 23… Nxg5 24. Ng6+ hxg6 25. hxg6+ mating? Absurd. since 23…Ng3+ also won easily for black.
24. fxe3 Ng3+ and white resigned 0-1 in view of ruinous material loss. Since each G/75 game followed the prior one by a short span you can see how much nervous energy is lost in the course of a single day. Still, many players such as Shavadorj, Ehlvest, etc., tried their luck in this format.
Here is one of the tough slog G/75 games versus Show Kitagami (2075).
Ginsburg – Kitagami Round 4 (G/75) King’s Indian Averbakh
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Be2 O-O 6. Bg5 c5 7. d5 h6 8. Be3 e6 9. Qd2 exd5 10. exd5 Kh7 11. h3 b5?! A good way to make counter-play in an action game, although it is not objectively good.
12. cxb5 a6 13. Nf3 axb5 14. Bxb5 Na6 15. O-O Nc7 16.Bc4? (It was criminal for white to miss 16. Bc6! Rb8 17. Rfe1 Bb7 18. Rab1 Nfxd5 19. Bxd5 Bxc3 20. bxc3 Bxd5 21. Bxh6 and white should win.)
16… Rb8 17. Rfe1 Nd7 18. a3 (18. Rac1 Nb6 19. Bb3 Re8 20. Bf4!) 18… Nb6 19. Ba2 Ba6 20. Rab1 (Again good for white was 20. Bf4! Nc4 21. Bxc4 Bxc4 22. Re4 Bxc3 23. Qxc3 Bxd5 24. Bxh6) 20… Nc4 21. Bxc4 Bxc4 22. b4! cxb4 23. Rxb4 Rxb4 24. axb4 Even so, this is good for white.
24…Qa8 25. Bd4! Bxd4 26. Qxd4 Bxd5 27. Re7 (The strong move 27. Nh4! never occurred to me)
27… Bxf3 28. gxf3 Ne6 29. Qf6 Ng5 30. Ne4 Kg8 31. Kg2 By far the simplest was 31. Nxg5 hxg5 32. b5! and this is clearly good for white.
31… Nxe4 32. fxe4 Qb8 A truly amazing variation was behind the scenes. 32… d5! is a good move. If the tempting 33. e5 (33. b5! dxe4 34. b6! is stronger) 33….d4+ 34. Kh2 Qd8? (34… Qb8! is correct but the text has the merit of a fantastic combination coming up) 35. e6 d3 and now study this position. White to play and win. The solution is really incredible.
36. f4! (36. exf7+?? Kh7 37. f4 Qc8 38. Qd4 Qc2+ 39. Kg3 d2 40. Rd7 Qb3+ 41. Kg2 d1=Q 42. Qxd1 Qxb4 and it’s drawn) 36… d2 37. exf7+
Kh7 38. f5 gxf5 (38… Qb8+ loses more slowly and less elegantly)
39. Qxf5+ Kg7 40. Qg4+ Kh7 and now let’s pause again. White to play and mate. The stunning conclusion:
41. Qg8+!! Rxg8 42. f8=N double check!! Kh8 43. Rh7 mate! Wow! That mating pattern is not often seen!
Returning to the prosaic game, with both sides low on time,
33. Qd4 Qd8 34. Qa7 Re8!! (Escaping the bind elegantly) 35. Rxf7 (35. Rxe8+ Qxe8 36. Qb7 Qd8 37. Qd5 Qb6 38. b5 Kf8 and black is fighting)
35… Qg5+ 36. Kf3 Qh5+ 37. Ke3 Qe5 (Black misses a great blow, 37…Qxh3+ 38. f3 Rxe4+!! 39. Kxe4 Qe6+ 40. Kd4 Qxf7 41. Qxf7+ Kxf7 42. b5 Ke6) 38. Rf4 Qe6! I had actually forgotten about this simple defense. 39. Qd4 Qxh3+ 40. Rf3 Qf1 41. Rf6 Qe1+ 42. Kf4 Qc1+ 43. Qe3 g5+ 44. Kf5 Re5+ 45. Kg6 and this crazy position the players descended into blitz chess chaos and I eventually won somehow.
Here’s the round 6 Aigner game in which I find myself once more permanently fighting against the Leningrad Dutch (I’ve previously discussed games with Fishbein, Guillermo Rey, Jack Young on this site).
Ginsburg – NM Aigner NAO Round 6 40/2
1. d4 f5 Tigran Petrosian exclaimed “What a delight! I love playing against the Dutch” when he faced Bent Larsen in San Antonio 1972. I concur.
2. g3 No crazy gambit with 2. Nc3 d5 3. e4!? dxe4 4. Bf4! for me today, although white does get good play. See my strange Fishbein game. Also well motivated is 2. Nc3 d5 3. Bg5.
2…Nf6 3. Bg2 g6 4. Nf3 There is a strong argument for the well-motivated and solid 4. Nh3! Bg7 5. c3! here, blunting the black bishop and preparing e2-e4. For example, 5…O-O 6. Qb3+! d5 7. Nf4 e6
8. h4 c5 9. h5 gxh5 and white was better and went on to win, Hebden,M (2530)-Motwani,P (2470)/London 1990} See also former Women’s Champ Antonia Stefanova’s crushing defeat over veteran GM Mikhail Gurevich in this line at Gibraltar 2008. I played over this amazingly one-sided game in NIC magazine with great interest – an off-day for Gurevich who has scored many wins in this system. Antonia did without c3 and just went right for the caveman h2-h4-h5. Gurevich at one point had a fully acceptable game but succumbed quickly to the onslaught.
4… Bg7 5. O-O d6 6. c4 O-O 7. Nc3 Qe8 8. Qb3 More than twenty years ago I greatly surprised IM (!) Evgeny Bareev in Naestved, Denmark with 8. Nd5 Nxd5 9. cxd5 Qb5 10. e4! TN (my TN; other moves are totally harmless) and after 10…fxe4 11. Ng5! wild complications ensued. For example, 11…Qxd5?! (he did not play this) 12. Bxe4 Qb5 13. a4 Qb4 14. a5 and white has dangerous threats. Students should look at this line some more as it has many resources for both sides. Of course, it’s an amazing blitz weapon! There’s no way black can navigate this position easily. One of white’s ideas is the crude Bg2xe4, followed by Ng5xh7 and Qh5+ tearing black’s king apart.
This was the first and only time I played a 2560 FIDE-rated IM. The game with Bareev is presented in detail here.
By the way, I picked up Bareev and Levitov’s book “From London to Elista” at the NAO Bookstore and it’s amazingly good.
8…Na6! White is hoping for black to execute his plan and … get a lost game with 8… e5?? 9. c5+ Kh8 10. cxd6 cxd6 11. Nb5! Qe7 12. Nxd6! and wins.
Position after 8…Na6 – an important moment.
9. Qa3?! The try 9. Ng5!? is very dangerous. The tricky 9…e5 10. dxe5 Nc5?? backfires horribly – 11. exf6!! Nxb3 12. Bd5+! and white is better.
Another very serious move is 9. Rd1! and white is somewhat better. Objectively 9. Rd1! may be the best. The moves Qb3 and Rd1 taken together are very logical to anticipate black’s telegraphed e7-e5 break. The text prepares b2-b4 but leaving the c-pawn alone gives black fairly easy to find counter-chances.
9… c6 9… Qf7 is well met by 10. d5 h6 11. Be3 Ng4 12. Bd2 Nc5 13. h3 Nf6 14. Ne5!! TN (in a tournament game white missed this tactic) 14…Qe8 15. Nb5 Na6 16. Nd3 c6 17. dxc6 bxc6 18. Nc3 and white is much better.
10. b4 Nc7 10… e5 looks to best met by 11. dxe5 dxe5 12. b5! with white initiative. Black is better off with the text move to activate the offside knight.
11. Bb2 Be6 Surprisingly here 11… e5!? is tactically feasible. If 12. dxe5 (12. e3 is not ridiculous) 12… dxe5 13. Qa5 and here the double-attack on c7 and e5 looks dangerous….but, 13…Qe7! is an effective answer. If 14. Qxe5 (14. Nxe5 Ne4 15. Nxe4 fxe4 16. Rab1 Rf5! 17. Bxe4 Rxe5 18. Bxe5 Bxe5 and black is doing well) 14… Qxb4 and again black is fine. In a similar Dutch position Viktor Korchnoi indeed did use the c7 and e5 double attack to quickly defeat Sergey Dolmatov as Viktor explains in his “Best Games” series.
12. d5?! A little crazy. My eyes were burning from the lengthy games I had conducted previously in this tournament and I could not bear another slog. If 12. Nd2 d5 13. c5 Ne4 14. Nf3 Qd8 15. e3 a5 black is fine and the game is locked up and turgid.
12… cxd5 13. Ng5 13. Nd4?? is just a blunder due to 13…Bf7!.
13… dxc4 14. Nxe6 Nxe6 15. Bxb7 Rb8 16. Bg2 I don’t eat with the queen on a7 because nasty pins can occur with the queen and bishop lined up. The plan was long-term compensation with the bishops but it’s not correct.
16…Nd4! 17. Rac1 Ne4! 18. Nxe4? An unsound adventure. Correct is 18. Kh1 and white can fight on although it’s uphill.
18… Nxe2+ Black also had 18… Nb5!?, which I had not forseen in my moribund state. Fortunately white can hold with 19. Qe3 Bxb2
20. Ng5 c3!? (20… Bxc1? 21. Rxc1 e5 22. Bd5+ Kh8 23. Rxc4 Qe7 24. Rh4 h5 25. Ne6 and this variation is nice because white builds up an attack out of nowhere with the funny Rc4-h4 motif) 21. a4 Nc7 22. Qxa7 and the game toddles on.
Position after 19. Kh1. Black has a winning path.
19…Bxb2? A clear and serious misstep. Correct is 19… Nxc1! 20. Bxg7 Kxg7 21. Ng5 and my anemic calculations only went this far anticipating an attack on black’s king, a clear case of hope-chess. The computer quickly shows 21…Nd3! cutting off white’s queen for the moment. If 22. Ne6+ (22. Qc3+ Rf6 23. Qxc4 Nxb4 and black wins) 22… Kh6! and this is the ultimate cold shower; black is winning. Now white is on the b2-h8 diagonal and black’s king is in big trouble.
20. Qxb2 Nxc1 21. Ng5! Nd3 22. Qd4! This position I considered to be completely hopeless for black due to the numerous threats but
the computer still finds moves.
22… h6? Collapse. Another lemon is 22… e5 (black was reaching for this move then retracted his hand) as 23. Qxc4+ Kh8 24. Qc7! kills.
The toughest is the natural 22…Nxb4 23. a3! (23. Ne6?? Rf6) 23… h6 24. Ne6 Rf6 25. axb4 Rxb4 and the machine shows black can fight on although of course white is better. The game ended prosaically.
23. Bd5+ Qf7 24. Bxf7+ 1-0
Study Material – The Gibraltar Upset
[Event "Gibraltar"] [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 Bg7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. h4 Nc6 7. h5 g5 8. h6 Bh8 9. Nd3 Nxd4 10. Bxg5 Ne6 11. Bh4 d5 12. Nd2 c6 Black is actually OK here and only tosses the game away later. 13. c4 Ne4 14. cxd5 cxd5 15. Nf3 Qd6 16. Qb3 Bd7 17. Nf4 Bc6 18. Nxe6 Qxe6 19. Rd1 a5 20. Nd4 Qf7 21. g4 Bxd4?! 22. Rxd4 e5? 23. gxf5 exd4 24. Bxe4 Rae8 25. Qg3+ Kh8 Now it’s very obvious black’s king is too exposed. He probably underestimated his opponent.
26. Bd3 b5 27. Qf4 Qa7 28. Qd6 Qf7 29. Rg1 b4 30. Rg7 Qh5 31. Rg8+! 1-0 A brutal finale.
Elsewhere on the Internet – No Comeback for Bad Bird’s
I noted with horror from Michael Goeller that attempts were being made in some quarters to rehabilitate some pretty bad variations of the Bird Defense to the Ruy Lopez.
Fortunately (for chess logic) it’s easy to see they are no good.
For example, 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nd4?! (a move that doesn’t make much sense) 4. Nxd4 exd4 5. O-O g6? was one such bad line presented as perhaps OK. But it’s not. White has the simple move 6. c3! (not considered in the article, where 6 d3 is called the “main line”). Yet the extremely simple and logical 6. c3! is clearly strong. After 6…dxc3 7. Nxc3 Bg7 8. d4 black has a horrible game. Openings genius Kenny Regan in the 1970s was actually the paragon of Bird enthusiasts but he kept to the straight and narrow with …Bc5 and …c6 lines.
After 6. c3! Bg7 white can swing for the fences with 7. e5 but then with 7…Nh6! black holds on. After 6…Bg7 with the straightforward 7. cxd4! Bxd4 it’s not hard to see the floating black bishop is not going to bode well. The best there is 8. d3! (deferring Nc3 because it’s not certain the N belongs there) and white is well on top, scoring 100% in the database examples I have. Even more amusingly, there is a second way for white. The TN 7. Qa4! c6 8. Bd3 is also very good for white. For example, 8….b5 9. Qb3 Ne7 10. a4! and white is having a lot of fun.
Conclusion: 5….g6? is terrible.