Posts Tagged ‘Denker’

The Fabulous 70s: The Anatoly Lein Chamber of Horrors

April 7, 2010

In the 1970s GM Anatoly Lein was a most feared competitor in US Swisses (along with his compatriot ex-patriot GM Leonid Shamkovich).  This dynamic duo ran rampart tearing up the field in many a major event.  It’s funny that back home, these feared emigres would not be favored to place in the upper half of a Soviet championship; it showed the difference in training very well.

The Man!

Lein had an imposing aura at the chessboard and was a burly, weight-lifting fellow. Here are some Lein games from the 1976 US Open in Fairfax, VA.  I learned, from ChessBase, that Denker’s middle name was Sheldon!  Imagine that.

[Event “US op”]
[Site “Fairfax”]
[Date “1976.??.??”]
[Round “12”]
[White “Lein, Anatoly”]
[Black “Denker, Arnold Sheldon”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “E27”]
[WhiteElo “2515”]
[BlackElo “2325”]
[EventDate “1976.??.??”]
[EventType “swiss”]
[EventRounds “12”]
[EventCountry “USA”]

I am not exactly sure how the lowly rated Denker finagled a GM title eventually but perhaps it was a homage to his lifetime contributions to chess in a general  sense as opposed to specific results.  I recall in the 70s and 80s there were a fair amount of “trade deals” going on between Federations where various players without enough norms (or any norms!) would get reciprocal titles to satisfy both parties.  If I am not mistaken, I think Mednis and Soltis got a title like that (with deficient and/or insufficient norms), but I need to check that.  Mednis was the quintessential journeyman although one cannot forget he managed to beat Bobby Fischer (Fischer often had freak-outs vs the Winawer before he righted his own ship in the Fischer-Larsen candidates match, where his treatments of  Winawers were on a higher plane). Deals were possible because often a USSR title contender simply had no chances to play in norm-creation events yet had an absurdly high ELO rating.  (I once played Bareev before he was a GM and his ELO was 2585!).  Thus the USSR would have their guy and we would have our somewhat deficient guy and a deal was struck. On the other hand, some candidates of ours were rock solid such as Jim Tarjan who proved himself by winning a strong US Championship. The FIDE back-room deals were frequent and hard to follow.  And, in a perverse turn of events, sometimes the USCF leadership (inept and/or corrupt) would neglect to apply for a legitimate title if they had personality problems with the applicant!

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. a3 Bxc3+ 5. bxc3 O-O 6. Bg5 d6 7. f3 c5 8. e4 Qa5 9. Qd2 cxd4
It’s really not good to undouble the white c-pawns like this in a Saemisch, giving white the bishop pair for free.  Too much respect?

10. cxd4 Nc6 11. Ne2 h6 12. Be3 Bd7 13. Nc3 Rfc8 14. Be2 e5 15. d5 Nd4 16. Bxd4 exd4 17. Qxd4 b5 Coffeehouse play… white, as befits a solid USSR player, calmly develops and black runs out of steam.

18. O-O bxc4 19. Rfc1 Qc5 20. Qxc5 Rxc5 21. Rcb1 Kf8 22. Kf2 Rac8 23. Rb7 Ra5 24. a4 Be8 25. f4 Nd7 26. Bg4 Rb8 27. Rxd7 Bxd7 28. Bxd7 Rb2+ 29. Kf3 Ra6 30. a5 Rb3 31. Bb5! Splat!

Ut oh

31…Rxc3+ 32. Ke2 Rc2+ 33. Ke3

Did you enjoy the rather sadistic entombing of black’s rook on a6? I did, Lein did, probably his opponent did not.  This game was a complete walk-over and not a real test for Lein although it did, according to the database, occur in the last (money) round.

Moving right along to 1977, here is how Lein derailed my red-hot start at the World Open.  This game is not in conventional databases (somebody feel free to add it!).

[Event “World Open”]
[Site “Philadelphia, PA”]
[Date “1977.07.03”]
[Round “7”]
[White “Ginsburg, Mark” 2212]
[Black “Lein, Anatoly” 2507]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “A07”]

The ratings are given as a historical curiosity.  Note that in 1977, Lein’s rating of 2507 was absolutely astronomical.

1. g3 d5 2. Bg2 Nf6 3. Nf3 e6 4. O-O Be7 5. d3 O-O 6. Nbd2 a5 7. e4 a4! An exclam for weirdness.  I could not predict any of his moves around here.

8. a3 Nc6 9. e5 Nd7 10. Re1 b5 11. Nf1 Na5 12. Nd4 c6 13. f4 Qb6 14. Be3 c5 15. Nf3 Nb8 16. g4 Nbc6 17. Ng3 f6 18. Qe2 fxe5 19. fxe5 Bd7 20. h4 b4 21. Kh2? Nd4!  Oops! Now white has a very bad game.  Typical of juniors, though, I just battled on and soon I got my chance!

22. Nxd4 cxd4 23. Bg5 Bxg5 24. hxg5 b3 25. Rac1 bxc2?! (25… Qd8! is cleaner) 26. Rxc2 Qd8 27. Nf5 Qxg5 28. Bxd5! (28. Rc7 Rad8 and black wins.  The text move is a very good practical try and at this point I had taken 82 minutes; the time control was the strange 40 moves in 110 minutes.  Black, on the other hand, spent 14 minutes on his reply moving him up to 87 minutes.  He also had a bit of a freak-out, demanding that the TD move us to a board far away from the stage (he said the stage was too noisy).  I didn’t object to this request. So off we moved and the game continued.

28… Qf4+? It’s not totally easy to see, but 28…Rac8! wins.

29. Kh3 exd5 30. e6?? A hallucination.  After the correct intermezzo 30. Rf1! Qg5 31. e6 Bb5 32. e7!  the excelsior e-pawn saves the day.  For example, 32…Rfe8 33. Qe6+ Kh8 34. Nd6 Qxe7 35. Nf7+ Kg8 36. Nh6+ Kh8 37. Nf7+ and a perpetual check.

30… Rxf5 This wins.  To show how bad white’s move was, 30… Rae8! won too.  But one must see 31. Rf1 Qb8! (only!) 32. Nxg7 Re7 33. Rxf8+ Qxf8 and wins.

31. exd7 Rff8 32. Qe8 Rd8 33. Rc8 Look at me, I have a lot of heavies on the 8th rank.  But it’s not enough, and I succumb to zugzwang and a slowly advancing black g-pawn!  Oh no!


33…Nb7! Basically white can give up already.  No more ideas!

34. Re7 g5! Come on, resign!  35. Re5 Qf3+ 36. Kh2 Qf2+ 37. Kh3 Qh4+ 38. Kg2 Qxg4+ 39. Kh2 Qf4+ 40. Kh1 Qf6 41. Re6 Qf1+ 42. Kh2 Qf7 43. Re5 Qf4+ 44. Kh1 g4 45. Qe6+ Kh8 46. Qe8 Qf1+ 47. Kh2 Qf2+ 48. Kh1 g3 49. Qxf8+ It’s rather sad that I didn’t know how to resign at this point.

49…Qxf8 50. Re8 Kg7 51. Rxf8 Kxf8 52. Rc7 Nd6 53. Rc5 Ke7 54. Rxd5 Ke6 55. Rxd4 Rxd7 56. Rxa4 Nf5 57. Re4+ Kf6 58. a4 Rxd3 59. Re1 Rd2 60. b4 Nh4 61. Rf1+ Kg5 62. Kg1 Rg2+ 63. Kh1 Rf2 64. Rg1 Rh2#

Another victim of the Anatoly Lein chamber of horrors!  I dropped off the leader board. As a digression, to show how I got *on* the leaderboard, here is my interesting Round 6 win over Canadian IM Lawrence Day.

[Event “World Open”]
[Site “Philadelphia, PA”]
[Date “1977.07.03”]
[Round “?”]
[White “Day, Lawrence”]
[Black “Ginsburg, Mark”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “A04”]

1. Nf3 c5 2. g3 Nc6 3. Bg2 g6 4. O-O Bg7 5. e4 d6 6. d3 e5 7. c3 Nge7 8. a3 O-O 9. b4 b6 This setup for white isn’t bad, but over the next few moves he starts playing passively.

10. Be3 h6 11. Ne1 Be6 12. Nc2  Rc8 13. bxc5? (An inexplicable choice. 13. b5 Na5 is double-edged and certainly not worse for white)

13… dxc5 This is just very pleasant for black.

14. c4 f5  15. Nc3 f4 16. Bc1 Qd7  17. Nd5 g5?! The computer likes 17…Bh3 best.

18. Rb1 Bh3 19. f3 h5 19… Nxd5 20. exd5 Nd4 21. Nxd4 Bxg2 22. Kxg2 exd4 23. Re1 is pretty much zero for black.

20. Bb2 Rf7 Now it’s about equal again.

21. Rf2 Nxd5 22. cxd5 Ne7 23. Bxh3 24. Qf1 24… Qd7 (24… Qxf1+ 25. Kxf1 is level)

25. gxf4 exf4 26. Bxg7 (26. d4 Ng6 27. dxc5 bxc5 28. Qa6)

26… Rxg7 27. Kh1 (27. d4 is playable but also about equal)

27… Ng6  28. Qe2 g4  29. Rg1 Ne5 30. fxg4 f3  31. Rxf3? White freaks out.  Correct is 31. Qd2 equal.   However it’s a fairly harmless freak-out because black’s advantage in the subsequent position should not be large.

31… Nxf3 32. Qxf3 Rf8 33. Qe2 Rxg4 34. Ne3? This obvious move is in fact inaccurate.  Best is 34. Re1 and black is only a little better.

34… Rxg1+ 35. Kxg1 Qg7+ 36. Kh1 Qe5 37. a4  Kh7? What a terrible move!  Simply 37… Rf7 wins as white’s king is just too uncomfortable.

38. Nc4 Qg5 39. e5?? White spent 3 of his remaining 5 minutes of this losing lemon.  Correct was  39. Ne3 and there is work left to be done.

39…Qc1+ Not the fastest. I must have been playing against his clock, a typical youthful indiscretion. The easiest win was 39…h4 forming a mating net.  39… Rg8 also won. 

40. Kg2 Qg5+ 41. Kh1 Not 41. Kh3?  Rf4 and white has to give up right away.

41… h4! I see it!  Black wins now.

42. Qe4+ 42. h3 Qg3 wins after a few white queen checks.  

42… Kh8 43. Ne3 Rg8 {White Resigns.}


If 44. Ng2 (forced)  h3 45. Qh4+ (forced) 45… Qxh4 46. Nxh4 Rg4 47. Nf3 Rf4 48. Ng1 Rf5 and black cleans up white’s pawns and wins.  A very satisfying win for me.  Only, as you see above, to be rudely brought back to earth by Mr. Lein.

Lawrence Day, these days

When I played Day he had a head full of black, curly hair.  Tempus fugit!

The Fabulous 60s: McKelvie upsets Benko

March 18, 2009

This just in from Dr. Neil McKelvie (Chemistry Professor at CCNY and Chess Master)

Mark…I noticed that (a) there have been no comments on my Denker submission; BUT (b) if you look up “Neil McKelvie” on GOOGLE, which I just did out of curiosity, I note that the first three entries – meaning most often accessed – are for me. (The next ones: I am not the principal of a religious English school in Yorkshire, and I do not play drums in a NZ rock band!) No 3 is for your BLOG. I have received no comments – have you?

MG Note: New Zealand (NZ) is a fantastic place, every chess player should visit it. The most recent NIC magazine has a story about the Queenstown, NZ Open organized by GM Chandler.  As Dr. McKelvie points out, in Auckland, NZ there happens to be MacKelvie Street but it’s listed as McKelvie Street.

McKelvie on Benko

Now: Pal Benko! I played him twice in MCC championships, and once in a US Open in Boston; but several times in Rapids (once coming in second to Bobby Fischer…7-0 I think was HIS score – ahead of Bisguier and Benko) This game is similar to the Denker game in that I played a highly speculative and probably unsound improvised gambit. *I* think that the most interesting Chess often comes from doubtful moves that no decent Computer would ever play! (Benko scored 7-0 the next year, ahead of Bisguier 5 1/2 – 1 1/2 and me 5-2)

McKelvie – GM Pal Benko Manhattan Club Championship – date 1966?

MG Note to readers: The Manhattan CC moved all over Manhattan, including a stint at the world famous Carnegie Hall at 57th and 7th Avenue.  This game was played before that venue.  Notes in the body of the game are by MG with Rybka kibitzing… see next section for McKelvie’s notes.

1. e4   c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3  e6 6. f4 a6 7. Be3 b5

As in many games, for example SM Bill Kelleher – M. Ginsburg, New England, 1980s (possibly early 90s).

Old Theory

Old Theory

8. e5!? Just as Kelleher played!  Theory presumes this to be premature but play gets very sharp.  It’s odd to see super sharp McKelvie openings because when I (MG) played him he reacted very passively in a QGD MCC Ch. 1985.  Maybe decaf that day?

In the 1970s, this type of structure was covered in a Scheveningen textbook.  Let’s see it:

What we had to work with in the 1970s

What we had to work with in the 1970s

However this 8. e5!? lunge was little covered.  I was certainly shocked when Kelleher tried it against me.

8….dxe5 9. fxe5 Nd5 Just for completeness, 9….b4!? TN 10. exf6 bxc3 11. fxg7 Bxg7 12. bxc3 Qc7 is a small edge for white – thus playable.

10. Nd5 Qxd5 11. Be2 Still following the Kelleher game.  I don’t have that game score handy….(I won after insane complications).  The bizarre computer choice 11. Nf3 retains equality.

11…Qxe5 I  believe that I, too, accepted this pawn because it’s hard to see what else black can do.

12.Qd2    Bb7 A very important position for the theory of this line has been reached.  Interesting, Rybka judges white has almost equal chances.  Black has one narrow way (see next note) to get something.  As McK mentions in his notes below, 12…Bc5! is a good alternative here and Rybka agrees.

13.Bf4    Qd5(? – McK) The best, not easy to see at the board, is 13…Qc5! 14. O-O-O Be7 15. Nb3 Qc8! 16. Bd6 Qd8! 17. Nc5 Bd5! and black has a small plus.

14. O-O-O! A wild continuation hanging a2.  However in the end this turns out to be justified. Rybka mentions 14. Bf3 Qd7 15. Rf1!? with compensation.    It also gives an inhuman line 14. Bf3 Qd7 15. Qc3 Bxf3 16. gxf3!?, also with good compensation.

14…Qd7  (? – Rybka) Benko blinks first, makes a move that doesn’t contribute to development, and he lands in a lost game!  But starting here we have a fascinating battle of the chess engines.  It would be interesting to turn even more engines loose on this one.

Naturally Rybka 2.2 doesn’t like this game choice and recommends 14…Qxa2 15. Nb3 Be7 (forced) 16. Bd6 Bf6 17. Be5! O-O (17…Be7?! 18. Bxg7 is good for white after 18…Rg8 19. Qh6)  18. Bxf6 gxf6 19. Qf4 (or 19. Qh6) – thus far McK analysis- and now a truly amazing defense, 19…Nc6!! 20. Qxf6 Na5 and white has nothing better than a perpetual with queen checks on g5 and f6.  Incredible.   But hang on to your hats.  Rybka 3.1 has seen deeper!  19…Nc6 20. Qxf6 Na5 21. Nc5 Rac8 22. Rd4! and wins!  Thus we have to revise our opinion and say black should not grab on a2!

Rybka 3.1 indicates black should not grab on a2 just yet, develop with 14…Be7, but then 15. Bf3 Qxa2 16. Qc3! causes obvious problems.  Is there any defense at all?  Let’s take a look at this position; the resource it finds for black is truly amazing.

Position after 16. Qc3 (Analysis)

Position after 16. Qc3 (Analysis)

Readers:  A) What should black play from the diagram position above?  B) What’s the correct evaluation with best play for both sides?

15. Qc3! Now black has a horrible game in all lines.

15…Bd5? This makes it worse. 15…b4, while very lame, was the best chance.

16. Nf5! A real cruncher.  Black is dead lost.

16…Nc6 17. Rxd5! exd5  18. Bg4!  Kd8 What a depressing move to have to play. In fact, black could have resigned – see the note to white’s next move.

19. Nd4 (“!” – McK, “?”   – Rybka)

Rybka hates this move because of what’s out there.  Indeed, one of Rybka’s juicy moves, 19. Ne7!!, forces resignation after 19…Qxg4 20. Nxc6+.  Even worse, if that is possible, is 19…Qxe7 20. Qxc6 with utter destruction.   For the sadists in the audience, 19. Nh6!! is just as effective.  For example, 19. Nh6!! Nb4 20. Bg5+ Be7 21. Nxf7+ and it’s +13.95 in computer speak!

This just in from McKelvie:  “Just incidentally….I DID intend Ne7, which of course wins easily, but then picked Nd4, which wins a piece and ALSO wins easily. Why? After Ne7 Black can play B:e7 and then K:d7, with R+N for Q and dead lost, but at least developed and able to survive for a while. After Nd4 Black is still with a useless R and unmoved B. The way I played SHOULD have led to immediate resignation after Qe1/e3 instead of Re1…now THAT was careless of me, or perhaps I wanted to enjoy winning against Benko a bit longer!

I suspect Rybka cannot understand failing to win Q for two pieces instead of just winning a piece, unless I have missed some amazing defence after my Nd4.   Cheers – Neil McKelvie”

19…Nb4! Black doesn’t have to be asked twice to do this. He’s now at only -1.2; if white had done 19. Ne7 it would have been -5 in computer-speak.

20. Kb1 Qb7 20. Rc8 21. Qh3 also loses: 21…Qb7 22. Bg5+! Kc7 23. Qc3+ Kb8 24. Bf4+ and wins the rook.

21. a3 h5 22.  Bh3 a5 23. ab Ra6   24. Nxb5 axb5 25. Bc7+ Ke8  26. Re1+ Re6   27.B:e6   fe   28.Qh3    Rh6    29.R:e6+  Kf7  30.R:h6   gh   31.Qf5+   Kg8   32.Qe6+   Kh7   33.Qf7+   Bg7 34.Nd4    Qa7    35.Nf5    Qg1+ 36.Ka2    b3+  37.K:b3   Resigns

I will try to find the “counter-twin” Kelleher game.

Some notes by McKelvie

Some notes: 12….Bc5 looked good for Black, although after 13.O-O-O O-O (?! – Rybka)  (MG: Rybka likes 13….Bb7! first) 14.Bf3 Ra7 15.Bf4!? Qd4 16.Qd4 Bd4 17.Rd4 White has a little compensation with two Bishops…
13….Qc5 was much better than 13…Qd5. If 14…Qa2 15.Nb3  Be7 16.Bd6 Bf6 17.Be5 O-O(?)
18. Bf6 gf 19 Qh6 a5(?) 20. Bd3 f5 21.g4,,,,  (MG:  See game notes for a discussion of a preliminary computer try, 19…Nc6)
26. Qe3+ was quicker.

Cheers….Neil McKelvie

McKelvie Puzzle

One McK creation from MANY years ago…a Mate in Four (but the first move is fairly obvious).
White: Qh1; Kg2; Pg4; Nb4; Ne8 Black: Kd7 Pb7

9/21/09:  Neil sent in a correction, the above puzzle had a typo. Here is the right version.

White: Kg2; Qh1; N’s b5 and e8; P g4;

Black: Kd7; Pb7    White to play and Mate in 4.

Solution: 1.Ne8-c7
If 1….Ke7 2.Qh7+ If then 2…Kf6 3.Nd5+ and then mirror mates from 4.Qh5 or Qf5 Other moves are uninteresting. HOWEVER
If 1…..Kc6; some logic. Black’s possible second moves with the K are 2…Kb6; 2…Kc5 and 2…K back to d7.  For the Q to then mate in two more moves, it has to get to a3, d4, and e5 respectively. There is only one square from where all three can be reached: a1!
SO: 2.Qa1. But now; what if 2…Pb6. NOW, the K has three squares available: 3…c5 or d7 or b7. To mate then, the Q has to get to c3, e8…AND a8. There is only one square from which to reach all three:3.Qh8. Therefore: Z for Zugswang! Q from h1 -> a1; h8; and a8.

McKelvie on Celts, Irish, Scots

“Mc” and even “M’ ” are valid SCOTTISH (and Irish) abbreviations for “Mac”. For my family name, which comes from the whole area of northern Ireland, the islands to the north, and the Scottish land area to the east; south of Glasgow, “McKelvie is the Scottish spelling, and “McKelvey” is the Ulster spelling. We are supposedly all descendants of a chieftain named “Cielbach Mac Cielbach”, where the “C” turned sometimes into “K” and sometimes into “S” (the northern English name “Selby”) over 2000+ years.

Scots from the North ,”highlanders”, are invariably “Mac”. Lowland Scots, who originally came from Northern ireland anyway, are usually “Mc”. The ROMANS named the group from Northern Ireland the “Scotti”. They were in constant war with the O’Neill’s from the south of Ireland, and so pushed into the south of Scotland, then occupied by the Picts. The two groups united against the Roman invaders. Later a character called Kenneth MacAlpine had married a daughter of the Pictish King, and when he died he became the first king of a united Scotland, having had other claimants killed off. To this day the tall fair-haired Highlanders – descendants of the Picts? – look, think, and talk differently from the Lowlanders. The groups do not always get on well together.
So; the Northern Ireland conflict has a 2000+ year history.

MG Note:  Since I was/am a Philistine savage, previously I believed “Mc” was Irish and “Mac” was Scottish and that was that.  Clearly things are much “Highland mistier.”