Posts Tagged ‘ICC Blitz’

The Fabulous 10s: Learning Tactics via ICC Blitz

June 19, 2011

Here are three very interesting 5 minute games I contested recently on ICC.

Use them as tactical training devices.

Game 1.

Impitoyable (Unforgiven) vs Aries2  Game/5  Keres Attack

Here’s more information about the Frenchman Impitoyable from his ICC finger notes:

Information about Impitoyable (Last disconnected Sun Jun 19 2011 15:10):

              rating [need] win  loss  draw total   best
Wild            2206  [1]   645   143    31   819   2301 (03-Jan-2011)
Loser’s         2037  [4]  1360   529    55  1944   2232 (10-Jul-2008)
Bughouse        1915  [6]    23    15     0    38   2011 (30-Nov-2006)
Crazyhouse      2244  [6]   863   307     0  1170   2307 (16-Feb-2008)
Bullet          2516  [8]  1229   543    83  1855   2706 (27-May-2008)
Blitz           3091  [8]   750   459   133  1342   3175 (29-Sep-2009)
Standard        2657  [6]   184    29    12   225   2682 (19-Nov-2010)
5-minute        2614       1237   445   181  1863   2726 (14-Oct-2009)
1-minute        2570  [8]  1493   945   121  2559   2570 (27-Jun-2010)
15-minute       2475         89     5     2    96   2475 (19-Jun-2011)
3-minute        2356        433   183    56   672   2519 (17-Apr-2011)
45-minute       1692  [4]     1     0     0     1                      
Chess960        2093        457   130    31   618   2213 (14-Jul-2010)

 1: “Impitoyable” : french title for the film “Unforgiven”, by and with C.
  Eastwood (and G. Hackman, R. Harris, M. Freeman …) ; but “impitoyable”
  means rather “pityless” or “mercyless” ; I will nevertheless accept takebacks
  for obvious mouseslips and ask for them … only in that case of course.
 2: International Master since 1996 ; maths teacher since 2001.
 3: Can you queen your f-pawn as early as move 18 playing black ? See my
  liblist, game Index 4 !
 4: You may improve your play in knights endings by analysing my defeat versus
  Vidocq, game numbre 16.
 5: You don’t get a chance each day to play as Morphy did at the Sevilla Opera.
  Egor Geroev-2 had this chance, see my  lybrary game number 18 (after 15 …
  Qxb5 16 Nc7+! ; Rxc7 17 Rd8 it’s exactly the same mate !)

He has a very good score against me overall.  I was looking to improve my statistics by following an obscure recommendation of Kasparov and Nikitin versus the popular Keres Attack.

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 6. g4 Nc6 7. g5 Nd7 8. Be3 Be7 9. h4 O-O 10. Qd2

Often times white likes to put his queen out on the aggressive h5 square.  Then, black can follow the same plan as in the game!

10…Nxd4  Part of a sequence that gives black freedom of movement.

11. Qxd4 e5 12. Qd1 Nb6!?

The interesting proposal of Kasparov and Nikitin from an ancient book on the Scheveningen.   White can opt to eat this horse with Be3xb6 to gain control of d5 but that move is definitely not on most attacking players’ radar screens.  They just want to give mate.

13. g6?!  This has to be too soon.

13…hxg6 14. h5 g5 15. Qf3 g4 16. Qg3 Be6 17. O-O-O Rc8 18. Be2 Rxc3! 19. bxc3

Black to play. Who's winning?

19…d5 20. Bxg4 Ba3+ 21. Kd2 Nc4+ 22. Ke2 Nxe3 23. fxe3 Qc8 24. Rhg1 Qxc3 25. Bxe6 Qxc2+ 26. Rd2 Qc4+ 27. Kd1 Qa4+ 28. Rc2 {Black resigns} 1-0

Why do I award black’s 18th move an exclamation point and then go on to lose in short order?  That’s the puzzle for you – identify the beautiful missed black win!  Immediately after the game I had the feeling I had blown a promising position but I didn’t know how promising until I checked with Rybka 4.  Embarrassing, black was totally winning!

Game 2

Let’s follow this embarrassing blown win with another embarrassing blown win, shall we?  This time we are dominating and crushing Logofet.

Some more information about Logofet:

Information about Logofet (Last disconnected Sun Jun 19 2011 12:08):

              rating [need] win  loss  draw total   best
Crazyhouse      1798  [6]     0     2     0     2                      
Bullet          2252  [8]   155   203    30   388   2433 (30-Jan-2006)
Blitz           2749       1404  1703   342  3449   3022 (21-Mar-2008)
Standard        2637  [6]     4     2     0     6                      
5-minute        2588       2563  1459   410  4432   2624 (30-Mar-2009)
1-minute        2250       4538  3640   525  8703   2508 (21-Aug-2009)
15-minute       1953  [4]     3     0     0     3                      
3-minute        1873  [8]     1     0     0     1         

I seem to remember that Logofet is GM Alex Lenderman.  Let’s see the game.

1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 b6 3. Nc3 Bb7 4. e4 d6 5. d4 cxd4 6. Nxd4 Nf6 7. Bd3 e6 8.
O-O Be7 9. Qe2 Nbd7 10. b3 O-O 11. Bb2

I love this attacking set up vs. the Hedgehog.  GM Nunn extolled its virtues way back in the early 1980s in a Philips & Drew tournament book.

I always show campers a forced win I missed vs GM Yudasin as well as a one-sided win over Teddy Coleman in the exact same line.  White’s pieces are all supremely active and pointed at black’s king.

Nc5 12. Bc2 Rc8 13. Rad1 Qc7 14. f4 a6 15. Rf3! g6 16. Rh3 Rfe8

It’s time to act and roll up Logofet.

17. e5! dxe5 18. fxe5 Nfd7 19. b4! Qxe5

19...Qxe5 Black's last gasp, or is it?

A forced sacrifice.  Dismal, but true.   Now I go nuts and hand my hand on a silver platter.

20. bxc5 Bxc5 21. Qxe5 Nxe5 22. Ne4 Nxc4 23. Nf6+ Kf8 24. Ba1 Red8 25. Rf1 Rxd4 26.
Bxd4 Bxd4+ 27. Kh1 Bxf6 28. Rxf6 Kg7 29. Rf2 Bd5 {White forfeits on time}

Challenge for the readers – point out the several wins I missed.  As a bonus, point out the easiest and most crushing of all the missed wins.

Game 3

Lest we get the impression I am always blowing winning positions, here is one where a nice tactic emerged and I also got the point.

FM Drunkenight – IM Aries2   Benoni

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 d6 3. Nc3 g6 4. d4 Bg7 5. e4 O-O 6. Be2 c5 7. O-O Bg4 8. d5 a6 9. Be3 Nbd7 10. Nd2 Bxe2 11. Qxe2 Qc7 12. Kh1 Rae8 13. f4 e6

This basic setup with a-rook on e8 I got from some obscure Spassky games dating back to the 1960s.

14. Rae1 exd5 15. exd5 Qb6 16. b3 Qb4 17. Ncb1 Ne4 18. Qd3 Ndf6 19. f5 Nxd2 20. Bxd2 Qb6 21. Nc3 Ng4 22. Ne4 Qd8 23. Bg5

Time to Strike

23…Rxe4!  A comprehensive refutation of white’s pin operation.

24. Bxd8 Rxe1 25. Bh4 Ne5!

Coup de Grace

This was a very pleasing move to play at the end of the combination!  A very unusual overloading where white’s queen cannot stay in touch with the rook.  Of course, White can resign now.  He played on, since it is blitz.

26. Rxe1 Nxd3 27. Re7 gxf5 28. Rxb7 Nc1 29. Rb6 Nxa2 30. Rxd6 Nb4 31. Rd7 Be5 32. Be7 Rc8 33. d6 Nc6 34. Rb7 Nxe7 35. dxe7 Re8 36. Ra7 Kg7 37. Rxa6 Rxe7 38. Rc6 Bd4 39. g3 Rb7 40. Kg2 Rxb3 41. Kh3 Rc3 42. Rc7 Rxc4 43. Rd7 Bf6 44. Rd6 Rd4
45. Rc6 c4 46. Rc7 Re4 47. Rc8 c3 48. Rc6 Re2 49. Rc5 c2 50. Rc4 Bb2
{White resigns}

Good times!  Well in Game 3.  Not in Games 1 or 2.

Shindig Chess

On June 14, an online tournament was held.  These GM players won in a five-round game/15 event:

Robert Hess 4.5
Giorgi Kacheishvili 4.5
Alex Lenderman4.5
Baadur Jobava 4.5
Bartosz Socko  4.5
There were 15 players in all.  I don’t know how the pairings were done, but guess how many of the winners I played?  1?  2?   No  3?  4?  No.
I played all the winner!  Every round, I was playing one of the above-mentioned guys!  A world record?  Never before seen in tournament play?  I think so!  Instead of dwelling on my bad result, here’s a great blitz game I played:
IM Aries2 – GM Baadur Jobava (GEO)
Mark Baadur
1 ♘f3 ♞f6
2 ♙c4 ♟g6
3 ♘c3 ♝g7
4 ♙e4 ♟d6
5 ♙d4 ♚0-0
6 ♗e2 ♞a6
7 ♔0-0 ♟e5
8 ♖e1 ♟c6
9 ♖b1 ♞c7
10 ♙d5 ♟cxd5
11 ♙cxd5 ♞h5
12 ♙g3 ♟f5
13 ♘d2 ♞f6
14 ♙f3 ♟h5
15 ♙a4 ♟h4
16 ♘c4 ♟hxg3
17 ♙hxg3 ♞h5
18 ♔g2 ♞e8
19 ♖h1 ♟f4
20 ♙g4 ♞g3
21 ♖h3 ♞f6
22 ♖xg3 ♟fxg3
23 ♔xg3 ♞e8
24 ♗e3 ♜f7
25 ♕g1 ♝f6
26 ♗xa7 ♜xa7
27 ♕xa7 ♟b5
28 ♕xf7+ ♚xf7
29 ♘xb5 ♝g5
30 ♖h1 ♚g7
31 ♙b4 ♝a6
32 ♘ba3 ♝xc4
33 ♘xc4 ♞f6
34 ♙b5 ♞d7
35 ♙a5 ♞c5
36 ♙a6 ♛b8
37 ♖a1 ♞b3
38 ♙a7 ♛h8
39 ♙a8Q ♝f4+
40 ♔f2 ♛h4+
41 ♔f1 ♛h1+
42 ♔f2 ♞xa1
43 ♘xd6 ♛h2+
44 ♔f1 ♛h3+
45 ♔f2 ♛h2+
46 ♔f1 ♛h1+
47 ♔f2 ♛h2+
48 ♔f1 ♛h3+
49 ♔f2 ♛g3+
50 ♔f1 ♛h3+
51 ♔f2 ♛g3+
52 ♔f1 ♛h3+
Time Remaining: 00:46 Time Remaining: 00:04

Draw  (this is the way Shindig outputted the game and emailed it to me).

Chess U News

Chess U on iTunes

Recent developments:
  • Frank Johnson will author Chess-Coach 101, 102, and 103 for his chess schools and beyond.
  • Kamran Shirazi’s paper bag of recent scoresheets has been located and Jones Murphy and Kamran will select 10 good recent Shirazis for packaging into Shirazi 201.
  • I am working on Tal 301, a labyrinth of complications as one might expect.
  • Mountaindog is working on Classics 101, the ten most famous games of all time.
  • Marcel Martinez is working on Middlegame 201, 10 of his interesting efforts vs. luminaries such as Conquest, Hess, etc.

The Fabulous 10s: Mesa Showdown

February 4, 2010

Mesa Showdown

IM Danny Rensch and his American Chess Events hosted an interesting “Experience vs Youth” event in Mesa, Arizona in January 2010.

GM Yermolinsky, Danny and I represented the “A” squad in a Scheveningen-style pairing system.  “Youth” (in some cases adults younger than I) took on the “A” team and some interesting games were played.   There were even a few upsets.  A young player Chakraborty downed Danny in a Sicilian endgame.  Yermo was held to a draw by the very same Chakraborty although I was able to defeat this upstart by confusing him as black in a Sozin Sicilian.  I drew in round one after messing up a good position vs. young NM David Adelberg.  It turns out Adelberg was trying out a suggestion from GM Fedorowicz that he had gleaned at the World Youth.  Yermo and Danny were able to dispatch Adelberg. And so the vicious circle goes.

[Event “mesa showdown”]
[Site “mesa az”]
[Date “2010.01.30”]
[Round “4”]

Pedram Atoufi  2331 – M. Ginsburg  2427  Sicilian Scheveningen   Game in 1 hour

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Be2 Nf6 7. O-O Be7 8. Be3 O-O 9. f4 Bd7 10. Nb3!

I think this is white’s best chance.  In Milman-MG, North American Open 2009, white allowed the exchange of knights on d4 and black’s position was fairly easy to handle.

10…Qc7 11. Bf3 Rfd8 12. Nb5?! Nothing is gained by this knight expedition.

12…Qb8 13. c4 a6 14. N5d4 Nxd4 15. Nxd4 b5 15…e5!? is interesting and possibly a little stronger.

16. cxb5 axb5 17. Qb3 b4 18. e5 At the time I thought this was a blunder.  But, it’s actually all right!

18…dxe5 19. fxe5 Qxe5 20. Bxa8 Ng4! White after the game admitted he had totally overlooked this nasty zwischenzug.  Black doesn’t have to recapture any pieces yet.  And indeed, I thought I was winning now.  But white after some cogitation finds a resource!

White to play and not lose!

21. Rf4! Forced but adequate!

21…Qxe3+ The rather annoying fact is the ‘brilliant followup’ 21…Ba4 trying to deflect the white queen off e3 is met by the calm 22. Nc6! and white is fine.  There is luck in chess; white missed black’s 20th move, is being led downstream by force, and has amazing defensive shots to hold the game in the aftermath.  Readers – have you experienced this?  Your opponent totally does not see a strong tactic, then down the road has shot after shot to keep afloat.  I would call that luck in chess, although some might disagree and say it’s just happenstance.

22. Qxe3 Nxe3 23. Nc6! The eternal point!  White keeps the balance.

23…Bxc6 24. Bxc6 Bc5 25. Kh1 e5 26. Rf2 f5 27. h3

This position is about equal with black’s very active minor pieces keeping white at bay.  But,eventually


The game result was only decided when white went wrong in time-trouble. I will locate and post the other moves.

In Other News: Must-See Videos

There are certain videos chess players must watch to become stronger.

Techno Viking (pay attention to the altercation starting at 0:38)

Arbeit Nervt by Deichking

Did you think I would only assign you two videos?

Dancing Bear

Test Your Tactical Skills

Aries2-Valet 2253  ICC 5-minute blitz

1. d4 c5 2. d5 e5 3. Nc3 d6 4. e4 a6 5. a4 Be7 6. Nf3 Bg4 7. Be2 Bxf3 8.
Bxf3 Bg5 9. O-O Bxc1 10. Qxc1 Ne7 11. a5 Nd7 12. Na4 b5 13. axb6 Nxb6 14.
Be2 O-O 15. Nxb6 Qxb6 16. Ra3 f5 17. Qa1 a5 18. exf5 Nxf5 19. c3 a4 20. b3
Rab8 21. bxa4 Qa5 22. Bb5 Ne7 23. Qa2 g6 24. c4 Nf5 25. Rd1 Nd4 26. Qd2 Qc7
27. Rh3 Rf4 28. Ra3 Rbf8 29. Rf1 Qe7 30. a5 e4 31. a6 Qg5 32. a7?  Nf3+ 33.
Rxf3 exf3 34. g3 Qh5?

In the battle of chess ideas, there are no sharper scenarios than “advanced passed pawn versus mating threats.”  Here is one such scenario.

Quiz Time!

White to play and win

Do you see the winning move?  It’s a little hidden.  Needless to say, white botched it and played a bad move, but cravenly wound up winning on time:

35. Kh1? R4f7 (Black is now just winning) 36. Qa5 Ra8 37. Qb6 Rfxa7 38. Qxd6 Ra1 39. Qe6+ Kg7 40. Qe7+ Kh6 41. Qe3+ Qg5 42. Qxf3 Rxf1+ 43. Kg2 Raa1 44. h4 Rg1+
45. Kh2 Rh1+ 46. Qxh1 Rxh1+ 47. Kxh1 Qd2 48. Kg2 Kh5 49. Bd7 g5 50. hxg5 {Black forfeits on time}

Whither Chess Sportsmanship?

ICC 5-minute game.  I don’t need to give you the moves.

— Game 364: Patovsk vs aries2 —
Disconnection will count as a forfeit.

The game starts, about 40 moves go by.

Your opponent offers you a draw.
Use “draw” to accept.  The offer is valid until you make a move.

At this point it’s R&B and R&N with some pawns each, approximately level, but my knight might make a fork and he has slightly weakened pawns.  So I play on, threatening a knight fork. He insta-moves, permitting my knight fork that wins his rook.  Then…

Your opponent has lost contact or quit.
{Game 364 (Patovsk vs. aries2) Patovsk disconnected and forfeits} 0-1
White disconnected and forfeits


The Fabulous 00s: Drunken Madness at NH Rising Stars Tournament

August 27, 2009

Madness, I tell you, Madness (or Sickness)

In Nakamura-Ljuobjevic  NH Rising Stars Tournament (in progress, Amsterdam, Holland), white fell into a move order trap that I have committed while drunk in ICC blitz.

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 g6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Bg7 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Bc4 Qa5 8. Nb3? Excitable GM Ljubojevic must have fallen off his chair as white falls into a dusty, old, move-order trap.  Note that Ljubojevic was my personal chess hero in the 1970s for his crazy openings and extreme tactics.  Play over, for example, two Ljubo demolitions of GM Lev Alburt.   Alekhine’s Defense Demolition #1 (Malta Olympiad, 1980) and  Alekhine’s Defense Demolition #2, even nicer, NY Open 1985.

Correct is 8. O-O and if 8…Ng4?! (8… d6 9. h3 O-O 10. Bb3 Bd7  is normal with such players as Tal drawing the black side)  9. Qxg4 Nxd4 10. Nd5! guarantees white an edge, and white went on to win, in Ciric,D-Ilievski,D/Novi Sad 1965.  And 8. O-O has the added benefit of being able to keep a complicated game!

8… Qb4! I have had the same sinking feeling as white in ICC blitz.

No Way Out

No Way Out

9. Bd3 Note here there is the interesting gambit which I did not spot at all, 9. Nd2!? Qxb2 10. Nb5 which in no way is worse than the game move.   For example, GM Zapata drew A. Hoffman at Santos 2001. Objectively, the gambit isn’t good but it offers more complexity.

9… Nxe4 10. Bxe4 Bxc3+ 11. bxc3 Qxe4 Now white is just down a center pawn and the position is simplified.  In the radio blog interview, Nakamura tried to pass this off as prep.  I would do the same, white’s 8th move is a nice cupcake for black. Admittedly, Ljubo does make some mistakes coming up, but this position is just not good for white (and not too many chances to complicate, either).

12. O-O d6 After 12… O-O black is comfortably better.  For example, 13. Re1 Qh4 (13… Qc4! 14. Nd4 d6 and yes, White is worse:  aries2-totalfish, icc 5 0 blitz, 7/8/08.  White duly lost.  One of my drunken blitz disasters.

13. Re1 Qg4?! In these lines, 13… Qc4 is always the strongest keeping maximum eye on the important center light squares.

14. f3 Qh5?! Again, the queen should like to nest on c4!

15. Qd2 Be6 16. Nd4 Nxd4 17. Bxd4 Rg8?! Much simpler and stronger was 17… O-O with an instructive sample line 18. a4 a6! 19. Rab1 b5! 20. axb5 axb5 21. Qd3 Bc4 22. Qe4 e5 and black is developing a big initiative.

18. a4! Naka finds his chance and the game is equal!

18…g5 19. Rab1 b6 20. h3 Qg6 21. a5 h5 22. axb6 axb6 23. Rxb6 g4 24. fxg4 hxg4 25. h4 Qh5 25…g3! is a good move after which it’s equal but easy to play for black.

26. Qe2 Rc8 The nice trap here was 26… Qxh4?? 27. Qb5+ Kf8 28. Rb8+ Bc8 29. Rxa8 Qxe1+ 30. Qf1 Qe6 31. Qe2! Qf5 32. Qa6! and white wins.  Very geometric.

27. Reb1 Qxh4 28. Rb8 g3 29. Qb5+? The key moment.  29. Rxc8+ leads to a drawn game.

29… Kf8 30. Qc6 Qg4 31. Rxc8+ Bxc8 32. Rf1 Rg6 33. Rf4 Qd7 34. Qe4 Kg8 Here, black misses the incisive 34… f5 !35. Qd5 e6 36. Qc4 e5 37. Rh4 Kg7 38. Bb6 f4!

35. Be3 e5 36. Rf1 f5 37. Qc4+ Qe6 38. Qc7 f4 39. Qd8+ Kg7? More accurate was 39… Kh7! 40. Bb6 Bb7! 41. c4 f3 42. Qh4+ Rh6 43. Qxg3 fxg2 and black wins.

40. Ra1 Rf6 41. Bb6 Bb7 42. Ra7 Qd5 43. Qd7+ Kh6 44. Qh3+ Kg5 45. Ra1 Rf8 46. Be3 Kg6?! This will win eventually, but a real bone-crushing blow here was 46… Qxg2+! 47. Qxg2 Bxg2 48. Kxg2 fxe3 49. Kxg3 e4 50. Re1 Rf3+ 51. Kg2 Kf4 52. Re2 Rg3+ 53. Kf1 Kf3 and white must resign!

Black could also greedily grab, 46… fxe3 47. Qxg3+ Kh6 48. Qh3+ Kg7 49. Qg4+ Kf6 50. Rf1+ Ke7 51. Qg5+ Ke8 52. Qg6+ Rf7 53.
Qg8+ Ke7 54. Rxf7+ Qxf7 55. Qg5+ Kd7 56. Qxe3 Qd5 57. Qf2 Qxg2+ 58. Qxg2 Bxg2 and he will win.  But 46…Qxg2+! was by far the most aesthetic and convincing win.

47. c4 (47. Qg4+ Kf7 48. Qh5+ Ke7 49. Qh7+ Rf7 50. Qh4+ Ke8 51. Qh8+ Kd7) 47… Qe4 48. Bb6 Kg5 0-1

The Never Ending Tactical Amusement of ICC Blitz

Now let’s see some blitz tactics.

vcs (2343) – aries2  King’s Indian Defense

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 O-O 5. h3 d6 6. Bg5 Nc6 7. d5 Ne5 8. f4?! A little too soon.
Ned7 9. Nf3 c6 10. Bd3 Qb6 11. Qd2 Nc5 12. Bc2
Black to play and amazingly enough from this normal-looking position, win!

Black to play and Win

Black to play and Win

12…cxd5? Wrong!   The harsh computer points out 12….Nxd5!! winning!

13. cxd5 Qxb2 14. O-O Qb4? (14…Qb6) 15. Rab1 Qa5 16. e5 dxe5 17. fxe5 Nfd7 18. Rb5 and now white is just better.  Oh well.

18…Qa3 19. Bxe7 Re8 20. Bd6 a6 21. Nb1 Qxa2 22. Rxc5 Nxc5 23. Bxc5 Bxe5 24. Nxe5 Rxe5 25. Bxg6 Qxd2 26.
Bxf7+ Kg7 27. Nxd2 Rf5 28. Rxf5 Bxf5 29. Bh5 a5 30. Nc4 a4 31. Nb6 Ra6 32. Be2 Ra5 33. Bd4+ Kf7 34. d6 a3 35. Bc4+ Ke8 36. Ba2 Rb5 37. g4 Bd7 38. Kf2
Rb4 39. Ke3 h5 40. gxh5 Bxh3 41. h6 Rb5 42. h7 Rh5 43. h8=Q+ Rxh8 44. Bxh8 Kd8 45. Bf7 {Black resigns} 1-0

And yet another fantastic blitz tactical set of puzzles:

IM Aries2 – IM Porkchopstamer  ICC Blitz 5/0    Modern Defense

1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 a6 4. h4 d5!? Very frisky!

5. exd5 Nf6 6. Bg5 Nxd5 7. h5 Well, I’m happy.  Black now eggs me on to a piece sac, and we clearly have different ideas about it.

7…h6 Precipitating the crisis.

Sacking against the Pork

Sacking against the Pork

8 . hxg6! hxg5 9. gxf7+ Kf8 10. Rxh8+ Bxh8 11. Qh5 Bg7 12. Nf3 g4 So here we are.  White to play, what’s the best move?  What’s the correct result?

White's gotta be precise here

White's gotta be precise here

13. Ng5? This natural move is wrong!  I am so focused on the possibility of Nh7+ later, I miss the right move.

The crushing move as Rybka rudely mentions is 13. Ne5!! and it never entered my sphere of attention!   Take a look:  13…Nxc3 (13… Bxe5 14. dxe5 Nxc3 (14… Nc6 15. Qg6 e6 16. Qg8+ Ke7 17. Nxd5+ exd5 18. Qg7 Qf8 19. Qf6+ Kd7 20. O-O-O Ne7 21. Be2 wins beautifully by complete paralysis) 15. Qh7 and wins prosaically) 14. Qh7 e6 15. Qg8+ Ke7 16. Qxg7 and wins)

13… Nf6 14. Qg6 Nc6 15. Bc4? Again, I miss a nice shot. 15. Nce4!! Nxd4 16. Nxf6 exf6 17. Nh7+ Ke7 18. O-O-O Bf8 19. Qxf6+ Kd7 20. Nxf8+ Qxf8 21. Rxd4+ Qd6 22.
f8=Q and wins)

15… e6 16. Bxe6 Ne7 17. Qd3 Bh6 18. Nh7+ (18. Nce4 Kg7 (18… Nxe4? 19. Nh7+ Kg7 20. f8=Q+ Qxf8 21. Nxf8 wins) 19. Bxc8 Bxg5 20. Bxb7 Nxe4 21. Qxe4 Rb8
22. Qxg4 Ng6 23. Bxa6 Rxb2 24. Bd3 Nf4 25. Be4)

18… Nxh7 19. Qxh7 Bxe6? And now it’s black’s turn to miss an absolutely beautiful shot.  19…Bd2+!!  would have won the day for him! Continuing, 20. Kxd2 Qxd4+ 21. Ke1 Bxe6 22. Rd1 Qe5+ 23. Kf1 Bxf7 and it’s all over – an incredible defense!

20. Qxh6+ Kxf7 21. Ne4 Bf5 22. Ng5+ Kg8 23. O-O-O?! (23. Ne6! Bxe6 24. Qxe6+ Kg7 25. Qe5+ Kf7 26. Qf4+ Kg7 27. Qe5+ Kf7 28. Qf4+ and I salvage a draw.

23… Qd6! Black finds the right moves, but don’t pay attention to the rest, it’s just a crazy blitz scramble now.

24. Qh4 Qg6 25. Rh1 Kf8 26. Qh8+ Ng8 27. f4 Re8 28. Nh7+ Ke7 29. Qe5+ Kd8 30. Qc5 Kc8 31. Ng5 Nf6 32. Rd1 Ne4 33. Nxe4 Bxe4 34. Qg5 Qe6 35. d5 Kb8 36. dxe6 Bxg2 37. Qg6 Bd5 38. Qxe8+ Ka7 39. Qe7 Bc6 40. f5 Be8 41. f6 Bh5 42. Qf8 g3 43. f7 g2 44. Qg7 g1=Q 45. Qxg1+ 1-0

Award for the Wealthiest Strongest Player I’ve Never Heard Of

A bizarre CNN money article on Chris Flowers.

In high school Flowers was a math whiz and a chess champion.”

“Sure, he enjoys outdoor activities: He likes to sail near his vacation home in North Haven, Maine, and he recently returned from a sailing trip off the coast of Croatia. But it seems no accident that he prefers chess — a contemplative, intense mind teaser of a pastime — to the social staples of banking, golf and tennis.”   Yes, the social staple of “banking” is quite the social hobby (huh, who is writing this stuff??).

Maybe it’s this guy (from rating list):

14051263 (FL) 2009-11-30   975P  1077P  FLOWERS, CHRISTOPHER M 

The Fabulous 00s: Amour

July 19, 2009

Romance is in the air courtesy of


How are you? I saw your profile today at( and feel like contacting you.I feel we may become matches.(

)  is my contact. Kindly make a contact if you are that I can give you my picture for you to know who i am.

My name is Celine. I will appreciate it if you give a good responds.

Thanks and remain blessed.

(Remeber the distance,colour or age does not matter but love matters alot in life)

Enough Fluff, Some Chess

An amusing finish in an error-filled (making it more amusing) ICC 5 minute game:

aries2 – sekere  ICC 5 minute July 09

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 c5 3. c4 e6 4. g3 cxd4 5. Nxd4 d5 6. Bg2 Nc6 7. O-O Bc5 8. Nxc6 bxc6 9. Qc2 Bb6 10. b3 O-O 11. Bb2 Bb7 12. Rd1 Re8 13. Nc3 Ng4 14. e3

Bxe3?! Instead of this violence, 14…Qg5! was a good move.  If white reacts correctly, he has an edge now.

15. fxe3 Nxe3 16. Qf2 Nxd1 17. Rxd1 f6 18. Na4 Qc7 19. Nc5?! On both the 18th and 19th move, white misses the strong 19. Qc5! This is an unusual counter-example to the chess precept that knights are better blockaders.  In this case, the knight maneuver to c5 is definitely second-best.

19…Rad8 20. Re1 e5 21. Nxb7 Qxb7 22. cxd5 cxd5 23. Qc5 Kh8 24. Rd1 Qa6 25. Rxd5? Weak.  25. Bxd5 is correct with balanced play.

25…Rxd5 26. Bxd5 Qxa2? 26…Qe2! was much stronger with a big edge.

27. Bc3? A comedy of errors.  27. Qc6 is equal.

27…Qb1+ 28. Kg2 Qc2+ 29. Kg1? Qd1+? 29…Rd8 would have been decisive.

30. Kg2 e4 31. Bd4?? What’s going on?  31. Bf7 is correct.

31…Qd2+?? 31…Qe2+! followed by e3 wins easily.  We now get to the fantasy tactic I had been trying to set up the whole time.

32. Kh3  e3 33. Qc6 Rd8 34. Qxf6!

A Cruncher

A Cruncher

After some thought, black gave up after this blow. 1-0

But to show how incoherent my play was, I thought 34…Rg8 was a defense here.  The point being 35. Bxg8?? gxf6! and it’s no longer mate!  However, after 34…Rg8, white has the obvious 35. Qf7 or even 35. Qe6 winning.  The latter leads to 35…Rb8 36. Bxg7+! Kxg7 37. Qf7+ Kh6 38. Qf6+ Kh5 39. Bf3 mate.

So in fact my 34th does win immediately (mate in 4 at most, actually).

When A Grandmaster is a Vehicle

Information about THETRUCK(GM) (Last disconnected Sat Jul 25 2009 04:32):

rating [need] win  loss  draw total   best

Bullet          2238  [8]    10     4     0    14

Blitz           2660  [8]    48    20     4    72   2677 (02-Aug-2008)

5-minute        2551         28     7     2    37   2567 (25-Jul-2009)

1-minute        2388  [8]    13     3     0    16


2: I’m getting old…

3: WIM strength at best

Pretty imposing!  OK I do battle with THETRUCK in a 5 minute game.

THETRUCK(GM) – Aries2(IM)   Sicilian Keres Attack ICC 5 Minute

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 6. g4 Nc6 7. g5 Nd7 8.  Bg2 I don’t like this move and would prefer not moving that bishop yet.

8…Be7 9. h4 O-O This quick castling setup, an old recommendation of Kasparov and Nikitin, is great in 5 minute as a time-saver!

10. Be3 Nxd4 11. Qxd4 e5 12. Qd2 Nb6 13. Bxb6 axb6 Black “pre-moved” this capture anticipating white’s 13th.  I have a big edge on time now and a decent position.

14. Nd5 Be6

Getting out the opening in good shape vs The Truck

Getting out the opening in good shape vs The Truck

15. Ne3?! Since the computer likes 15. a3 here, black must be all right.

15…Ra4!? An original activation.

16. b3 Rd4 Now the game revolves around this – can the rook be trapped for free or can black get an attack?

17. Qc1 f5!? Note on 17. Qe2 black had 17…Qc8! 18. c4 b5! with a good game.   My 17th move is not bad.  But the computer is fast to point out 17…Qc8! 18. c3 Rd3 hitting c3 and forcing c4:  19. c4 Qc5! and black has a small edge.

18. gxf6? A very bad miscue.  White had to take on f5 with the pawn after which he is all right; the game is even.

18…Bxf6 19. c3 Bxh4! A typical zwischenzug. At the time, I wasn’t sure what was going on since white had clearly steered for this.  But the computer says this is a decisive edge for me!  What could go wrong?

20. Rxh4 Qxh4 21. Qc2 Rd3? Even now, looking at it, it’s hard to see why the computer is so excited by black’s prospects after white’s 21st.  Its recommendation is something I never considered:  21…Rc8.  How bizarre that white cannot unravel effectively after that quiet move! This needs elaboration.  What’s the nature of black’s edge after 21…Rc8 (note the computer considers it a HUGE edge)?   Rybka 3 really outdoes itself here pointing out black’s crushing LONG-TERM advantage. A sample line:

21…Rc8!!  22. Ke2 b5! 23. Rc1 b4! (really aesthetic!) 24. c4 b5! 25. Qb1 Rf8! (black works with all the pieces) 26. Rf1 bxc4 27. bxc4 Bxc4 28. Nxc4 Qg4+!! 29. Ke1 Qxg2 30. Nd2 d5! 31. exd5 Rxd2 32. Kxd2 Rxf2 and white must resign – the truck hitting the proverbial rain of hail, shattering its windshield, it capsizes, and so on.    It’s amazing that white cannot unravel after this quiet 21…Rc8!! and the computer is rating black more than 3 points ahead.  Humans have much to learn from these humble programs! At first glance, it just looks like white has an extra piece and black has random chances, maybe.

22. Qxd3! Of course!  Black only has a tiny edge now.

21…Qxf2+ 23. Kd1 Qb2?! Not the best.  Correct was 23…Rg1+! 24. Bf1 Rf2! and if 25. Qxd6 Bxh3!, or if 25. Ke1 h5! in both cases black retains the initiative.

24. Rc1 Qxa2 25. c4 Bg4+? Another lame move.  25…Rf2! is correct with equal chances.  26. Rc2?? Qb1+! would be embarrassing for white!

26. Nxg4 Qxg2 27. Ne3 Qh2?! The continuation of a spiral down.  Black is oblivious to white’s idea.  Best was 27…Qf3+ or even 27…Qg3 and the issue is still open. However, the text has the benefit of setting up a devilish trap – see the note to my next move.

28. Nf5 g6?? The last straw!  I had mentally given up. After 28…Ra8!! once again black puts up quite unexpected resistance.  Believe it or not, white’s best is now 29. Qg3! trading the queens and keeping some ending edge – since he’s down on time in a 5 minute game the issue would be totally up in the air.  Attempts to attack the black king with 28…Ra8!! 29. Qxd6? are met with 29….h6! and the computer sees no advantage whatsoever for white, an amazing line!  The moral is that even really bad positions sometimes offer unusually strong defensive resources.

29. Qd5+ Kh8 30. Qxd6 Qh1+ 31. Kd2 Qg2+ 32. Kc3 Qf3+ 33. Kb2 {Black resigns} 1-0

Wow.  I had the feeling that I had missed chances, but only later did it turn out I had more than I thought!

The Danish Newspaper Columnist

Information about DrainYou(GM) (Last disconnected Mon Jul 27 2009 14:08):

rating [need] win  loss  draw total   best
Wild            1800  [6]    10    10     2    22   1800 (27-May-2001)
Bughouse        2422  [6]     2     0     0     2
Crazyhouse      2306  [6]   325   319     1   645   2306 (30-Sep-2001)
Bullet          2400  [8]  1119  1139   149  2407   2749 (04-May-2001)
Blitz           3097  [8]  2219  2010   394  4623   3173 (07-Jul-2003)
Standard        2388  [6]     1     1     1     3
5-minute        2625  [4]  7417  2809  1356 11582   2667 (14-Jul-2009)
1-minute        2231  [8]  5607  3498   560  9665   2504 (29-Aug-2002)

1: Not really in zen.
2: Don’t give lessons or takebacks (and don’t ask for ’em either)
3: Danish Champion 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007 n 2009
4: I write a daily chesscolumn in Politiken.
5: Elo 2542
6: Very interested in playing (chess) outside Europe. Mess me a good offer or
7: Rabudja(GM) tells you: jeg ville hellere sælge stoffer end at spille skak
8: Poker is taking over – nothing to do about it.
9: Now with blog:

Name   : Sune Berg Hansen
Groups : Denmark GMs IBCO

Let’s see what happened when I tangled with DrainYou in blitz.

DrainYou (GM) – Aries2 (IM)  King’s Indian Attack

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d3 Nc6 4. g3 d5 5. Nbd2 Nf6 6. Bg2 Be7 7. O-O O-O 8. Re1
b5 9. e5 Ne8 10. Nf1
Bobby Fischer’s old favorite.  I’m also defending in the old school style, emulating GM Uhlmann and others.  Black’s defensive line (using Ne8 to c7 gto b5) is surprisingly hard to break.

10…b4 11. h4 Nc7 12. N1h2 Nb5

When the Two Sides Ignore Each Other

When the Two Sides Ignore Each Other

It’s always fun when the two sides carry on with their own plans, oblivious to the other.  We see here it and we see it in sharper situations too, e.g. the Sicilian Dragon.  White now decides upon h4-h5-h6 and it’s unclear if that’s the best plan.  It certainly leads to lively play though.

13. h5 Nbd4 14. h6 g6 15. Bf4 Probably more accurate is 15. Ng4 f5 (probably more solid is 15… Nxf3+ 16. Qxf3 Nd4 17. Qd1 a5 18. Bf4 Bd7 19. c3 Nf5 20. Qc2
a4 with a tough struggle in prospect) 16. exf6 Bxf6 17. Nxf6+ Qxf6 18. Bf4 Nxf3+ 19. Qxf3 Bd7 20. Rab1 Rae8 21. Qe3 d4 22. Qd2 e5 23. Bg5 Qd6 24. a3 a5 25. c3 and white is happy.

15… a5 16. Qd2 Here, again, it’s probably more accurate to hurry the N to g4: 16. Nxd4 Nxd4 17. Ng4 although black has pesky defenses, e.g. 17…Ba6 18. a3 b3! 19. cxb3 Rb8! with counterplay.

16… a4 17. Bg5 Nxf3+ The thematic expansion 17… a3!? has a cute tactical idea:  18. b3 Bxg5 19. Nxg5 Nxe5! 20. Rxe5 f6 results in unclear play.

18. Nxf3 f6 Once again black has the good alternative 18… a3!? 19. b3 Nd4 20. Bxe7 Nxf3+ 21. Bxf3 Qxe7 22. c3!? with a full struggle ahead.  The text is OK.

19. exf6 Bxf6 20. c3?! Significantly better is 20. Bxf6! Qxf6 21. c4! and white has reasons to be optimistic.

20… a3! Maybe white missed or underestimated this.  Black strikes at the base of the pawn chain and white is very uncomfortable.

So far, so good

So far, so good

21. Bxf6 Qxf6 22. cxb4 axb2 23. Rab1 Rxa2?! Not very impressive. 23… Nxb4! 24. Ne5 Ra3 keeps pressure.

24. bxc5 Nd4 A crazy tactical line is 24… Ba6 25. d4 Rb8 26. Ne5 Nxe5 27. Rxe5 Qxe5 28. dxe5 Ra1  (apparently decisive) 29. Be4!! (saving the game!) dxe4 30. Qd7 Rxb1+ 31. Kg2 Rg1+ 32. Kh2 Rh1+ 33. Kg2 Rxh6 (a winning try, black can also give perpetual) 34. Qxe6+ Kg7 35. Qf6+ with a perpetual check this time by white!

25. Nxd4 Qxd4 26. c6 Ba6?? Fundamentally wrong. 26… Ra1 and nothing better for white than 27. Rf1 or 27. Qc2 Rf7! with equal chances.

27. Bh3! I completely missed that one.  But to show how back my last move was, white can also take 27. Rxe6 with a winning game!

27…Qxd3 28. Bxe6+ Kh8 29. Qb4 Qf3 30. Rxb2 Here I resigned since my game is dead lost and also I was disgusted going from “happy” to this in a few moves.  But white had a nicer shot, 30. Bf5!! mating!  For example, 30…Qxf5 31. Qd4+ Qf6 32. Qxf6+ Rxf6 33. Re8+ Rf8 34. Rxf8 mate.  A nice multiple interference tactic and a suitable punishment for black who left his king and back rank totally alone.

Some More Chess

Reylear (IM) – Aries2 (IM)  ICC 5 minute blitz; theoretical QGD 5. Bf4 line

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. c4 Be7 4. Nc3 d5 5. Bf4 c6 I like this solid way more than the loosening ….c5.  I achieved a good game with it OTB vs Georgian GM Guganishvili.

6. e3 Nbd7 7. c5(?!)  b6! 8. b4 I am not a fan of white’s early c5 and b4 as played. But black has to be accurate.  I am not; but then white is not in turn.. and we get an exciting blitz game!

8…a5 9. a3 A key moment.  This is the moment of truth for 7. c5.

Simplify on the queenside or not?

Simplify on the queenside or not?

9…axb4? My friend Rybka informs me that is wrong.  Correct is simply 9…O-O and 10…Ba6 with equality.  My move is an instructive mistake.

10. axb4 Rxa1 11. Qxa1 bxc5 12. bxc5 Ne4 13. Nxe4 dxe4 14. Nd2? A very bad mistake.  After 14. Ne5! black is intensely suffering. Such is blitz; white lets black right back into it… and more!

14…e5! 15. Bg3 exd4 16. exd4 Nf6?! 16…O-O is more accurate.  After 17. Nxe4 f5 18. Bc4+ Kh8 19. Nd6 f4, black is very happy.

17. Nc4 O-O 18. Nd6?! 18. Ne5 is correct with a small edge.

18…Nh5! The small edge is now on black’s side.

19. Be5 e3!? Interesting, but simply 19…Be6 20. Nxe4 f6 21. Bd6 Bd5 leaves white with a bad game.

20. fxe3 Bg5? A terrible followup.  Black had the obvious 20…Bxd6! 21. Bxd6 Re8 or 21…Qg5 with a good game in either case. I am playing like I have the Lights of Zetar occupying me (see next photograph).

21. Be2 Nf6 22. Qa3 Nd5 23. e4 Ne3 24. Kf2 f5?? This really was the last straw.  After 24…Be6 black keeps counter-chances.

25. Qa2+ Kh8 26. Nf7+ Now it’s quite over.  Boo.

26…Rxf7 27. Qxf7 Bh6 28. Bh5 fxe4 29. Qe8+ Qxe8 30. Bxe8 Ng4+ 31. Kg3 Bd2 32. Bxc6 e3

33. Bf3 Nxe5 34. dxe5 Bc3 35. Kf4 g5+ 36. Kxe3 Bxe5 37. c6 Kg7 38. h3 Kf6

39. Rd1 Ke7 40. Bg4 Ba6 41. Rd7+ Ke8 42. c7 Bf6 43. Rxh7 {Black resigns} 1-0

Playing a Romper

I had never heard of my opponent, Oliver Barbosa, before this ICC blitz game.  I later Googled and learned he is a Filipino IM and he is romping in the US. Sometimes it helps not to know a player; I am unfettered by prior knowledge and can play freely.  Everything was going well up to a point…

IM Aries2 – IM Spark ICC 5 minute blitz  French Defense, Gambit Variation

1. e4 e6 2. Nf3 d5 3. e5 c5 4. b4!? An interesting line, especially in blitz.

4…cxb4 5. a3 Qa5 This is certainly legal, but it would never cross my mind playing black.  A matter of “cultural differences” across many oceans?

6. Bb2 Nh6 7. axb4 Qxb4 8. Ba3 Qb6 9. Bxf8 Kxf8



10. d4 The computer says 10. Nc3 here is the best.   Weirdly, I get positional compensation after 10…Nc6 11. Bb5 and I gain dark square control.  For some reason, I reflexively went with 10. d4.

10…Bd7 11. Nc3 Nf5 Black was playing all these moves, which don’t look that great taken together, at lightning speed and I actually suspected he was a total patzer at this point.

12. g4 Ne7 13. Bd3 h5 Strangely, 14. g5! is the right move now.  14. g5 Nbc6 15. Rb1 with compensation.

14. Rg1?! hxg4 15. Rxg4 Nbc6 16. Nb5 Nf5 Here black had 16…Nb4! — a nice shot.  17. Nd6 Nc8! – a very computer-like line and black is well on top.

17. c3 Nce7 18. Nd6 Feeling frisky, I give up another pawn without much thought to gain e5 for the other horse.

18…Nxd6 19. exd6 Qxd6 20. Ne5 Be8?! 20…Nc6! is right, challenging the central horse.

21. Qf3 f6 A quiz position that is not hard to solve.

Unsound rook sac or not?

Unsound rook sac or not?

22. Rxg7?? My position (before this crude lemon) looked really juicy and full of promise.  The kind Tal in his heyday or Shirov now would love. Even though I spent some time here, I must have been in “beat the passive French player” mode.  Obvious is to bring up the reserves with 22. Kd2 and prepare to bring the other rook over to g1.   The chance that he will find the right defense in blitz (22…Rh6 23. Rag1 Qa3!!) is very small!  Black also has 22. Kd2 Nf5!? (another tough move in blitz) to reach approximate equality. The text is an unsound sacrifice of the worst kind (the unforced kind).

22…Kxg7 23. Qg3+ Bg6 24. Bxg6 fxe5 25. Bh5+ Kf8 26. Qg5 Rxh5 27. Qxh5 exd4 28. Qh8+ Ng8 29. Ke2 d3+ 30. Kxd3 Qf4

{White forfeits on time} Well, I guess I contributed to his “romping”.


Star Trek – The Lights of Zetar Episode (1969)

A cool special effect when Lt. Romaine is taken over by aliens.



Ladies’ (Women’s) Uproar (Brouhaha?) in Merrie Olde England…

I kid you not, this controversy is really happening. Seems more suitable for 1809 or 1909 rather than 2009 but here you go…

“As many of our readers presumably know, the 2009 British Chess Championships start in Torquay on Sunday. As many may not know, an apparent change to the status of women in these championships has caused some English chessplayers to emit shrieks of protest. The change has been described as “kowtowing”, as being “pushed around by politicians”: a poster on the English Chess Forum added that “I had hoped that English chess might escape unscathed”. Another, possibly with a problem rather wider than the one being immediately addressed, found himself invoking Patricia Hewitt, Margaret Hodge and somebody he called “Mad Hatter Harman” in a series of responses attacking “outdated” feminism and comparing the change to proposals to change the rape laws.

What, you may wonder, is this clearly controversial change that has caused these gentlemen such anguish? What injustice, what act of positive discrimination has caused them to react so angrily? What horror of political correctness could bring them to the point where they respond in such an outraged and aggressive tone? As English chess has not, apparently, “escaped unscathed” – to what degree has it actually been scathed? Have men been barred from the Championships? Have women been awarded bonus points for turning up? Have protesting men been threatened? Been beaten up by the police? Been dragged off to prison?

None of these. Not quite. What has actually happened, as I understand it, is that the name of the title for which women players are contending will no longer be that of Ladies’ Champion. We will now have a Women’s Champion instead.

Quelle horreur.

Now to my mind the only genuinely noteworthy thing about this change is that nobody thought to make it thirty years ago. Ladies is old-fashioned and outmoded, and for a reason: it’s the equivalent, not of Men but of Gentlemen, a term which nobody would think of using, in contemporary sport, in its capitalised form. These terms no longer describe the people for whom they were devised. That is what language does. It changes, over time, as the subjects of a language also change.

It’s not so important in itself. It’s just a small, overdue correction that somebody has finally thought to make. Had they not made the change now, nobody would very much have minded: they would surely, however, have made it in the end. As one sane voice on the Forum says:

While the change itself is rather inconsequential, this is no reason in itself not to do it if it’s appropriate

It could not be better put. It is a small thing but an appropriate one. A reasonable one.

Except in the minds of some chessplayers – to whom, apparently, it is neither appropriate or reasonable. It is an outrage, an imposition, a piece of grotesquery, an oppressive act to be compared with relaxing the laws on rape or murder, or even with taking people off to Nazi concentration camps. These are the terms in which people have, themselves, chosen to respond. These are comparisons which they have seen fit to make.

This is hysterical. But not in a good way.

Of course, the men who have responded in this way are keen, at the same time, to stress that they have nothing against women, indeed not, and nor in fact does any other male chessplayer that they are aware of. Writes one of the loudest protestors:

chess is open and welcomes people of all sorts

and that they are

utterly unaware of any male resentment to women playing chess

Utterly unaware is a good term, here, since they are also utterly unaware of the impression they are giving of themselves.

It is not really, if truth be told, a discussion about whether we should say ladies or women. That would be the issue if the responses were temperate, and thoughtful, and proportionate to the importance of the act. Proportionate is what the responses are not. Nor temperate, nor thoughtful. They range to the embarrassing to the wild and foaming. Some are extraordinary in tone. They are not just unreasonable but unreasoned. They are not the tones of a discussion or a disagreement. They are the tones of resentment and fear.

It’s true, the men who respond like this, with their resentment and their fear, are not bad men. Nor are they thoughtless, nor stupid. Except, that is, for the idiot who thought it would be an appropriate response to quote Pastor Niemöller. Really. Somebody actually did that. Some cretinous individual actually did that. Some cretinous individual actually thought it was appropriate to compare a change in wording of a sporting title to people being sent in their millions to Nazi death camps.

You know, I’ve long since abandoned the idea that chessplayers are necessarily intelligent, but even I was surprised. One sees the most extraordinary stupidity on the internet and I have seen my share in full, but even I was forced to ask myself – just how ignorant and stupid is it possible for somebody to be?

Still, with the exception of the idiot Alex Holowczak, they are not ignorant men (though given that one of them is a Sun journalist, not all have an aversion to ignorance as such.) I’ve seen most of them comment thoughtfully and usefully on other aspects of chess.

But though they are not ignorant men, they are men nevertheless. And it seems, as it has always seemed, that at the first hint of feminism, many men lose their heads. Or, at least, that portion of their heads which contains the qualities of thought and reason. In the face of feminism the thoughtful become fools. Foolish men, full of needless, ludicrous resentment at an enemy who is present only in their fearful imagination. Men who have no idea that their own reactions demonstrate that they, themselves, are the problem – the problem that they insist does not exist.

They think of “feminism” as “outdated”. Of course they do. And they show exactly why it is not.

Is it more ludicrous than it is extraordinary, or more extraordinary than it is ludicrous? Change the word ladies to women and some men respond as if they were being dragged off to the guillotine by a horde of wild-eyed feminists with Harriet Harman playing Madame Defarge. Or to an appointment with Valerie Solanas.

Hey ho. I really ought to be old enough not to be surprised by this sort of thing, but in truth I find it depressing, and troubling, especially if I think (as I do) that it reflects attitudes that are common within chess. I’m forty-four years old (old enough, it occurs to me, to have read Marilyn French’s novel almost when it came out) and I can remember what a struggle it was, years ago but lasting years, to allow women to refer to themselves as Ms, if they so wished, not Miss or Mrs according to whether or not they had a husband.

Long and loud was the shrieking whenever this small change was proposed. Great were the insults heaped upon the feminists who proposed it. Dire were the predictions of calamity for humanity if the feminists got their way. Frequent were the accusations of tokenism laid at the door of the feminists for apparently believing that all you had to do to change something for real was to change its name. (You might think that people could either be accused of tokenism or of threatening calamity, but not both at the same time. You might receive the answer: “Quite”.)

Of course, the usage Ms is now taken for granted, forms and forms of address have long since changed and nobody gives a damn if anybody prefers Ms, still less expects to heavens to fall when it does. If you’re much younger than I am, you probably can’t imagine what the fuss was about. Good. You’ve grown up in a world which is more grown-up – in that respect at least – than it was before. And similarly, in a few years somebody will understand what all this fuss was about. And the people who have written embarrassing things will be embarrassed that they wrote them.

So I hope. In the meantime, I hope these people do no damage. I hope, for instance, that the sheer stupidity of using phrases like “being pushed around by politicians”, when the namechange is suggested by one of the few political figures who cares about chess and has been supportive of it, does not have the effect of losing chess those few political supporters.

I also hope that I am mistaken that these clowns represent a serious current of thinking (or indeed “thinking”) within chess. It is never, of course, hard to find, on any subject, a small number of people speaking high-pitched paranoid nonsense on the internet, and it is tempting to believe that they represent no-one but themselves. I do not want to think, and I do not want other people to think, that chess – male-dominated though it is – is dominated by the sort of man who behaves like this. I do not want chess to be like that. I do not want chess to be thought of like that.

But I don’t know. If they react like this over something so unimportant – what are they going to be like about that really matters? If it takes something as small as this to bring fear and resentment so very quickly to the surface – what is really going on in the minds of some male chessplayers?

There was a question asked on the Forum.

What does substituting one word, “lady,” with another word, “woman,” actually achieve by way of improving the participation and profile of women in chess?

It’s not much of a question: as a rhetorical point it is a specious one, since nobody will be put off either. But what might well put women off – and Lord knows there are few enough of them in chess – is the reaction they get from men who play chess and the impression they get about what those men are like. They know that chess is overwhelmingly played by men – but what if they decide that it is not just overwhelmingly men, but whining, bitter and resentful men at that?

What will happen is that we have fewer of the women and no fewer of the whining, bitter and resentful men. What a depressing prospect that would be.

It doesn’t have to be that way. If English chess does what it needs to do. English chess needs to grow up.”

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The Fabulous 00s: Championing Dubious Systems

May 20, 2009

Say What?

A lot of authors champion some pretty bad things.  A duo of Dutch  amateurs champion a passive Philidor-type system starting with 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 Nbd7 and call it the “Black Lion” for reasons that are not clear on the surface.  It looks more like zebra meat a lion might enjoy as a snack.   A review by Arne Moll points out some of the authors’ analysis biases. In a worse vein,  German amateur Stefan Buecker used to champion the hideous Vulture (1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 Ne4?) and subjectively bias the lines so that black was on top more often that not.  And I won’t even talk about what American blogger “Dana M.” is espousing in terms of opening systems.

Moving up the ranks of respectability in terms of both author and subject matter, GM Victor Moskalenko champions the Budapest (1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e5) in a recent book. What’s there to say?  Black relies on piece play without pawns in front, in violation of Kasparov’s famous attacking edicts.  I guess black is hoping white messes up, because it certainly looks like a safe += in the mainlines. Just to prove its tricky nature, though,I tried it as black versus an IM and was rewarded with a lucky win in ICC Blitz.   In passing, the Albin (1. d4 d5 2. c4 e5) is fairly tough to break too, as GM Morozevich has proven in many games.   The Budapest and Albin are both apparently better than their long-standing reputations.

Event “ICC 5 0”]
[Site “Internet Chess Club”]
[Date “2009.05.20”]
[Round “-“]
[White “IM Dali”]
[Black “aries2”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ICCResult “White resigns”]
[WhiteElo “2291”]
[BlackElo “2421”]
[Opening “Budapest: Adler variation”]
[ECO “A52”]
[NIC “QG.01”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e5 Moskalenko’s Fabulous Move.

3. dxe5 Ng4 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. e3 White opts for the common, slow treatment, but since he hasn’t done anything wrong and black’s just floating out there in the center, I would be happy as white.   Slow pawn expansion should punish the dancing knights.

5…Ngxe5 6. Nc3 Bb4 7. Bd2 O-O 8. a3?! This cannot promise much. Quite interesting is 8. Nxe5 Nxe5 9. f4!? Nc6 10. Nd5! and white can claim a small edge.  Is this line a novelty?

8…Bxc3 9. Bxc3 d6 10. Be2 Be6 10…Nxf3+ is quite a reasonable alternative and black might be able to reaches full equality.  For example, 11. Bxf3 Ne5 12. Be2 Be6 13. b3 Qf6! 14. Rc1 Qg6 15. O-O Bh3 16. Bf3 Rfe8 and it’s balanced.

11. b3 a5 11…Qf6!? is interesting here.  12. Rc1 Qg6! and with this typical transfer, it’s equal.

12. a4 I wouldn’t be in a rush to do this as white but it doesn’t seem bad.

12…b6?! Once again black misses the Qf6! motif.

13. Nd4 Just 13. O-O first and wait and see.

13…Bd7?! Black misses the more active 13…Qg5! =.

14. O-O After numerous imprecisions, white now has a stable edge.

14…Qe7 15. Nb5 Rac8 16. Qd2 Rfe8 17. Rae1 What can black do?  17. Rad1 is also unpleasant.

17…Ng6 17…Ng4 18. Qb2! is not fun.

18. Bd3 Nce5 19. Bc2 White is gearing up for the central pawn blitz so I have to do something.


19…Nf3+?! OK.  Here we go.  I’m attacking without any pawns.  Chess principles say this cannot work.

20.  gxf3 Nh4 21. Kh1 Forced but good.



22. Qd5 This is fine.  To give us the satisfied feeling that chess principles are not broken in this game, those with sharp tactical vision see 22. Qd1! and now both 22…Bc6 23. e4! interference theme! and 22…Bg4 23. Rg1! are terrible for black. White should win after 22. Qd1!.  The presence of two good moves for white at this juncture mean black’s 19th was hopelessly unsound.

22…Bg4 23. Rg1 Qh4 Of no use is 23…c6 24. Qd3! Qh4 25. Qxh7+!  winning.

24. Rg2 Nxe1? Slightly better is 24…Re5 25. Bxe5 Nxg1 26. Bxg7! and white should win.

25. Qd4! Crushing!

25…Re5 26. Rxg4? A bad gaffe in blitz and where the game starts to turn 180 degrees.  After 26. Bxe1 black can resign.

26…Qxf2 27. Be4? A typical blitz collapse. White had to play 27. Bxe1 but black can play on there and doesn’t need to take a draw.

27…Nf3 28. Bxf3 Qf1+ 29. Rg1 Qxf3+ 30. Rg2 Rg5!


A nice finale.  The double threat on g2 and Qf1+ decides.

31. Qd2 Qf1+ {White resigns}

And the Next Stop on this Train is….


Now That’s a Dome!


Happy Marriage of Princeton and Yale: Sotomayor!

Referring to the recent Obama Supreme Court nominee, traditional conservative CNN windbag columnist Ruben Navarette writes, “How about on sheer qualifications? Sotomayor sure has them. Raised by her mother after her father died, Sotomayor graduated from Princeton University summa cum laude and from Yale Law School.”  He goes on to note, “radio talk show host [pill-popper] Rush Limbaugh called her “an affirmative action case extraordinaire,” although affirmative action doesn’t help you graduate summa cum laude from an Ivy League university.”   This is a good point, I hope “Rush” (what a name!) takes notice. I was not an affirmative action case and had a miserable GPA because the student union building also doubled as pizza and beer; New Jersey was a “18” state for drinking at the time.  I also noticed that critics routinely omitted the honors; I presume on purpose. An example of the omission: dogmatic conservative columnist Jeffrey Rosen rushes to omit by saying “She was raised by her mother, a nurse, and went to Princeton and then Yale Law School.”   Nice foxy omission, Jeff but it’s not going to work; she will get confirmed in a landslide.  At the very least, critics should get the bio right before falling over themselves to attack the candidate on the grounds of ethnic favoritism.  Postscript:  Newt Gingrich ‘tweeted’ (sorry, Newt is a cretin racist name) “White man racist nominee would be forced to withdraw. Latina woman racist should also withdraw.”   Newt?  Does this withered prune fellow have any credibility?   Did some young fascist Republican show him how to Tweet?  I can’t fathom the guy even logging on.  “Newt” and “Rush” are amusing cretin hillbilly names – quite predictable they would spew vitriol more often than not.   We could switch them around, two new hate-filled personas “Nush” and “Rewt”.   VIVA this happy union of Princeton and Yale.   It reaffirms an earlier post regarding Yale’s excellent graduate programs and Princeton’s tigerhold in the undergraduate arena.

Postscript 5/28/09:  Ed Rollins, Chairman of the RNC, agrees!:

“There can be no debate over her qualifications. Her lifetime achievements in the academic world, in the legal world and the judicial world are unchallengeable. If that was the only measure, she would be confirmed unanimously.

That isn’t going to happen! We are into full-bore political battle within the Republican Party, with conservatives and pragmatists arguing over what are the best tactics to stop the direction that this young president and his congressional allies are taking us.

But I just offer a word of caution. The confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor is not the battle to be waged and it won’t be won.”

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The Fabulous 00s: Chess.FM Sicilian Theory

August 10, 2008

First of All

First of all, can you guess where I was on August 14th, 2008?  No Googling, Froogling, or any other freakin’ cheating.  Just take your best shot and let fly with a guess.  Hint:  it’s a major city and it’s not in Europe.


To Our Glorious Dead:  My Mystery Location

Chess.FM Goodies

I am producing a series on ICC Chess.FM on Sicilian Theory from black’s perspective when white avoids the main lines with 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 (d6, e6, Nc6) 3. d4.  The series is being sound edited and should be released soon.  So far, I’ve covered the always entertaining Smith-Morra Gambit, the quiet Alapin (2. c3) and also….

The Moscow Variation

One of the segments is on the Moscow Variation, 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+.

Position after 3. Bb5+: The Moscow Variation

I will devote some entries on the website to discussing the segments and presenting example games so that readers can contribute their own ideas and sample blitz and OTB Games for review.

In the broadcast, I went over the possible interpositions 3…Nc6, 3…Nd7, and the most popular 3…Bd7.  I stated that if black wants to try to win, 3…Bd7 isn’t such a good choice because white can easily achieve safe Marcozy-bind formations.   This implies that the first two tries merit closer study because they are rarer and lead to unusual positions.

Here’s an example game featuring 3..Nd7 and indeed it gives us a sharp battle.

Mark Ginsburg – Mark Paragua  San Francisco Dake Int’l 1999

Historically amusing:  when this game was played Paragua was a little kid rated 2300 something.  But so often little kids are “danger kids.”

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Nd7!? 4. d4 Ngf6 5. Nc3 a6 As mentioned in the broadcast, black goes for the bishop pair at the cost of losing some time.

6. Bxd7+ Nxd7

Position after 6…Nxd7

7. Bg5 Playable here and perhaps more logical is 7. O-O!? cxd4 8. Qxd4 and white has hopes of a small edge.

7… h6 8. Bh4 Entirely different is 8 . Be3 cxd4 9. Qxd4.  Maybe white is a little better after 9…e5 10. Qa4!?

8… g5 9. Bg3 Bg7 10. dxc5 Nxc5 11. Nd4?! Very sharp but dubious.   White could have tried 11. e5 g4 12. Nh4!? with compensation.

11… Qb6! Very strong! 12. Nd5 Qxb2 13. e5!? Maximum confusion but objectively this is just not working.

13…O-O White simply doesn’t have enough after the cold-blooded 13…Bxe5! 14. Bxe5 dxe5 15. Nc7+ Kf8 16. O-O Rb8.

14. Nxe7+ Kh7 15. O-O Bxe5?! The simple 15… dxe5 16. Ndf5 Bxf5! 17. Nxf5 Rad8 is somewhat better for black.

16. Bxe5 dxe5 17. Ndf5? The inaccuracies continue. 17. Nf3! is stronger.

17…Bxf5 18. Nxf5 Qb6 19. Qf3 Qf6 20. Rab1 Rac8 20…Rad8 is strong.

21. Rfd1 Rcd8 22. c4 e4 23. Qg4 Rd3! Black is still in command.

24. Ne3 Qf4 24…Rfd8! leaves white with very little chance of survival.

25. Qh5

Position after 25. Qh5.

25…Rxe3? Black had 25…Qd6! with a big edge or 25… Rxd1+ 26. Rxd1 Nd3 27. Qe2 f5 also with a strong initiative.  The text gives white a way out.

26. Rb6! 26. fxe3? Qxe3+ 27. Kh1?? Nd3 wins; but 27. Kf1 Nd3 28. Qe2 fights on (but black is still better).  The text is much better.  Black must have overlooked this zwischenzug.

26…Nd3? The final miscue.  26…Ne6! 27. Rxe6 Re1+ 28. Rxe1 fxe6 leaves black a small bit better.

27. Qxh6+ Kg8 28. Rg6+ And it ends in a perpetual.


Here’s a funny game in the more common 3…Bd7 line. I had to look on for this one, because didn’t have it.

Drake Wang – Mark Ginsburg US Open 2005, Phoenix AZ

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Bd7 4. Bxd7+ Qxd7 5. c3 Nf6 6. Qe2? A well-known opening inaccuracy.  Black is not slow with his reply.

6…Qg4! Hitting g2 and e4.  White has no good answer.  Curiously, this has been seen a few times previously OTB such as Letelier-Spassky, Buenos Aires 1960 and Emma-Reshevsky, 1966.  Naturally, the strong players playing black won those games having received such an opening ‘handicap’.

7. e5 dxe5 8. Qb5+ Nbd7 9. O-O e4 10. Ne5 Qe6 11. Nxd7 Relatively speaking, 11. d4 is best. The text awards black a huge bind.

11…Qxd7 12. Qxc5 e6 13. Qe3 Qd5 Of course.  White’s pieces are paralyzed. His next is already desperation.

14. d4 exd3 15. Rd1 Rd8 16. Qxa7 Bc5 All of black’s pieces work very well.

17. Qa4+ Rd7 17…Ke7 was also very good.

18. Qa8+ Naturally white hopes for a repetition, but by sacrificing his h8-rook black develops a winning attack.

Position after 18. Qa8+.  Black to play and win.

18…Ke7! 19. Qxh8 Bxf2+! The black queen and knight duo are too strong.  There is no defense.

20. Kh1 The problem is that 20. Kxf2 is annihilated by 20…Qc5+ 21. Kg3 Ne4+ or 21. Be3 Ng4+.

20…Qh5 21. Rf1 Ne4 22. Bf4 Bg3! A very pleasing geometrical motif. It is this move that had to be seen on move 19, otherwise white might get a chance to develop the queenside.

23. h3 Nf2+ 24. Kg1 Bxf4 And it’s all over. 25. Rxf2 Qd1+ 26. Rf1 Be3+ wins.

25. Qxg7 Rd5! White’s slumbering pieces cannot match up to black’s active ones.

26. g4 Nxh3+ 27. Kg2 Rg5 28. Qxg5+ Qxg5 29. Kxh3 Qh6+ 0-1

I will say something in favor of 3…Bd7.  It’s easier to play when one is seeking clarity and simplicity of plans for black.  Here’s an ICC blitz game in which I, somewhat inebriated, came close to beating an IM without doing anything special.

ICC Blitz Test of 3…Bd7

RolMar(IM) – Aries2(IM)  5/0   8/11/08   3…Bd7 Line

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Bd7 4. Bxd7+ Qxd7 5. c4 Nc6 6. O-O g6 7. d4 cxd4 8. Nxd4 Bg7 9. Be3 Ah-ha!  Remember white needs f2-f3 to support Be3 because the queen on d7 guards g4!  This I mentioned in the broadcast and even a little tipsy could recall it during the blitz.

9…Nf6 10. Nc3 Ng4! See prior comment.  White has gone off the rails already.

11. Nc2 Nxe3 12. Nxe3 O-O 13. Rc1 Rac8 14. b3 Rfd8 In most OTB games, black’s rooks are shown to be most effective here (in conjunction with e7-e6).  It’s a mistake in these formations to aim for a quick b7-b5.  Correct is to be patient and try to enact pawn breaks (d5, b5, or some combination) later when they are justified by circumstances.

15. Ncd5? Black always needs e7-e6 to guard against knight hops to d5, so this premature move hands black several tempi.

15…e6 16. Nf4 Qe7 17. Qf3 a6 18. Rfd1 b5 Black gets a pawn break under favorable conditions!

19. Rd2 Qf6 20. Ng4 White flails around with the knights aimlessly. The “dragon” bishop on g7 is controlling events!

20…Qg5 21. Rcd1 bxc4 22. bxc4 Ne5 23. Nxe5 Bxe5 24. Nd3 Rxc4 25. Nxe5 Qxe5 26. Qe2 Qxe4 27. Qxe4 Rxe4 28. f3 Ra4 and in this winning ending… black only drew.  🙂    1/2,  103 moves!

Serious students will examine some of Kasparov’s efforts battling against the Maroczy in OTB play.  It’s about equal if black is attentive.