Posts Tagged ‘Ivanchuk’

The Fabulous 10’s: King’s Gambit Mystery

November 7, 2010

King’s Gambit Mystery

In the finals of Cap d’Agde Rapid, 2010, we had Vassily Ivanchuk playing white against Hikaru Nakamura.  Actually, in the other rapid game with colors reversed, it was also a King’s Gambit! But let’s focus on this one.

The game featured a King’s Gambit mystery:

1. e4 e5 2. f4 Nc6 3. Nf3 f5?!


Pablo Zarnicki experimented with this in the past a few times, but I remember Khalifman writing white is better.  Doesn’t it look like black is trying for too much, too soon?  At any rate, Ivanchuk in this game quite surprisingly produced 4. d3 (?) to “avoid preparation”, I guess.  Although the game after 4. d3 (?) is dead equal.  The mystery is what does black do after the simple 4. exf5! – I don’t see an equalizer.

Sample lines:

4. exf5! exf4 5. d4 d5 6. Bd3! guarding f5 6…Bd6 7. Nc3! (idea Nb5) Nf6 8. Qe2+! Qe7 9. Nb5! and white has the desired edge.


4…e4 5. Ne5 Nxe5 6. fxe5 Qe7 7. d4! (previously the weak 7. Qh5+? Kd8 was seen, giving black a free tempo on white’s queen after a later Ng8-f6; GM Hammer as black defeated GM Fier in a 2009 ICC rapid encounter.)  7…exd3 8. Bxd3 Qxe5+ 9. Qe2 Qxe2+ 10. Kxe2 d5 11. Re1 c6 12. Bf4 Nf6 (the computer likes the strange looking 12…h5 here) 13. Nd2 and white is happy.

Also, crazy lines occur after 4….e4 5. Ne5 Nf6 6. Nc3 Bd6 7. Ng4! Bxf4 8. Nxf6+ Qxf6 9. Qh5+ Kd8 10. Nd5! but white always retains some edge.

All in all, 4. exf5 must promise more than 4. d3 so I am wondering about that.  Will we see 4. exf5 when the line is tested again at a high level?


The Fabulous 00s: USCL Week 6 SF vs Arizona

September 30, 2008


The Alarm Causes the Scorpions to Scatter in Panic

D. Pruess – M. Ginsburg  USCL Week 6    Khachiyan Attack

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Bg5 As played against me by GM Khachiyan in infinite ICC blitz games.

4…c6!? I like this unusual attempt to counterattack with Qa5 and a later Bb4 rather than the usual 3…Nbd7.   It often leads to crazy positions. 3…Bf5 is another main line.

4. Qd2 New England senior master Bill Kelleher once was quite unsuccessful versus me with 4. Bxf6 gxf6 5. e3?! e5 and black had the bishop pair and a huge center.

4…Qa5 5. f3 e6 6. e4 Bb4 7. Nge2 dxe4 7…Nbd7? 8. e5 Ng8 9. a3 is not good for black, e.g. 9…Nb6 10. Ra2! and white is clearly better.  The text is correct but black immediately goes wrong with his next move.

8. Bxf6

The first important juncture.

Position after 8. Bxf6

8…e3?! Black does not pass the first test.  A symptom of a fuzzy brain?  Correct and not incredibly difficult to find is the fearless 8… exf3! 9. Bxg7 Rg8 10. gxf3 Rxg7 11. O-O-O Nd7 12. Bh3 (12 .a3 Bd6) 12…Nb6 13. Qd3 Nd5 14. Nxd5 (or 14. Kb1 Bd7 15. Ne4 f5! and black is similarly fine) 14…cxd5 and black has a quite playable middlegame.   I was only considering 8…e3 and 8….gxf6 and 8…exf3 was not on my radar.  So at least 8…exf3! validates black’s unusual treatment of this variation.  Lastly, 8…exf3! 9. gxf3 gxf6 10. O-O-O Nd7 is fine for black.  If 11. a3 Bd6 12. Qd3 f5! (always this move to gain central control) black is even starting to get a small edge.

9. Qxe3 gxf6 10.O-O-O Nd7 11. d5! The right idea to gain perspective for the knights.  At this point a shrieking alarm went off in the Scorpions playing site (a computer center).  And we were all ‘on the move’!  A spectator who had gone off ostensibly to the bathroom had stumbled into a forbidden region!   Nobody could seem to be able to turn the noise off.  We frantically typed tells to the Commish but no response (in retrospect, it might have been an exclam move here to pull the network cable out of the computer and storm out of the room posthaste). After several (what seemed like eternity) minutes of ear-piercing security alarm, I decided to move, not knowing how long the noise would last.  Mistake!  At this critical juncture, I should have waited.  It’s obviously the key moment and things are not so simple.  The right move, for example, is one I wouldn’t even consider without serious time spent.

Position after 11. d5!

11…Bc5? Needless to say, after this dreadful lemon, the alarm stopped.  But black is on his way to ruining his structure; this is irreparable.

The other move I was analyzing in alarm-mode was the over-ambitious 11… Ne5? 12. d6! Nc4 13. Qf4! with a white edge.  The right move, a nice resource and also quite necessary, is 11… Qc5! 12. Rd4 (the trade of queens 12. Qxc5 Bxc5 13. dxc6 Be3+ 14. Kb1 bxc6 15. Ne4 Ke7 16. Rd3 Bb6 offers pretty much nothing) 12… e5 13. dxc6 bxc6 14. Na4 Qe7 15. Rh4 (15. Rd1 Nb6 is equal) 15…f5 16. g3 f4 and the game is double-edged. This move did not enter my ‘mental sphere’ at all.

12. Nd4 e5 13. Qe1! Qb6? Another terrible move.  Black has to get rid of the knight — 13…Bxd4 14. Rxd4 Nb6 15. dxc6 bxc6 16. Rd6 but it’s no fun either.  No position with the king open can stand so many bad moves.

14. Nf5 Black is totally lost.

14…Bf2 14… Qb4 15. Kb1 Nb6 16.a3 Qf4 17. Ng7+ Kf8 18. Nh5 Qh6 19. g4 and white should win.

15. Qe2 Now I notice Nd6+ and Nc4 is threatened.  Back I go.  Not one of my better games.  But did I mention the alarm had been turned off?  So I can resign in beautiful silence.

15…Bc5 16. f4 Rg8 17. Qh5 Nf8 18.Bc4 Qb4 19. Ne4 Bxf5 20. Qxf5 Rxg2 21. Nxf6+ Kd8 22. dxc6+ Bd4 23. c7+ 1-0

Board 3 Unpleasantness

Somehow our Scorpions guy misses a winning move only to play the same move a few turns later when it’s a blunder!

Rensch – Shankland Sicilian Rauzer

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bg5 e6 7.Qd2 Be7 8.0-0-0 Nxd4 9.Qxd4 0-0 10.f4 Qa5 11.Kb1 (“!” for safety) The bizarre 11. Bb5 fizzled in Ivanchuk-Kramnik Linares 1997 after 11…Rd8 12. e5 dxe5 13. Qxe5 h6 14. Bh4 Ng4!.   Historically, 11. Bc4!? has scored the best as in the oldie but the goodie white win Kavalek-Benko, Netanya 1969 which saw the standard follow-up 11…Bd7 12. e5 dxe5 13. fxe5 Bc6. After 14. Bd2 Nd7 15. Nd5 Qd8 16. Nxe7+ Qxe7 we reach a highly debated tabiya and at present it’s thought black is OK.  The text is “safety first.”

11…Rd8 12.Qd2 h6 13.Bxf6 Bxf6 14.Nd5 A completely unimpressive treatment — but in a team situation to make a draw isn’t so horrible.

14…Qxd2 15.Nxf6+ gxf6 16.Rxd2 b6??  ?  (Sam Shankland objected to the multiple question marks and he’s right, b6? is just weak not a hideous blunder).  16…Kf8 is necessary planning Ke7 with equality.  This has been played in at least 8 games previously.  White has zero.  16…b6 is a classic TL (theoretical lemon).  White’s opening choice should have been harmless… but now it’s not!

Position after 16…b6??  White’s golden moment.

17.Be2?? OH NO.  Another cringe-worthy entry in the 2008 Scorpions trials and tribulations. 17. e5! would have won very easily.  17…fxe5 18. fxe5 d5 is horrible (losing) for black. Black’s bishop is dead and white’s bishop and 2 rooks overrun the kingside occupying holes and using the holes and split pawns to win material. For example, the simple and methodical 19. Be2! Bb7 (19…d4 20. Bf3 and Rhd1 wins) 20. Rd4! (blockading) 20…Rd7 21. Rf1! with the crushing idea of Rf6 and black will not survive.  Notice how all white’s pieces work perfectly whereas black is ‘still in the felt box’ on the queenside. Another defense, 19. Be2! Kh8, is dealt with similarly: 20. Rf1 Rg8 21. Bd3 Rg7 22. Rf6! and white will be up a clear pawn.

The “gambit” 17…Bb7 18. exd6 won’t save it either; white rushes the c- and b-pawns   Finally, the panic break-out with 17…d5 18. Be2! f6? fails to 20. exf6 e5 21. Rf1 Kf8 22. Bf3 Be6 23. Rfd1! winning.

Parenthetical note:  Sam Shankland in Elizabeth Vicary’s blog indicated he would play this way 17…Bb7 18. exd6 Rac8 but after 19. Bb5 it’s bad for black.  Black can fight on but white is clearly better. 

Danny thought for 5 minutes on the lemon 17. Be2?? and never really looked at e5!

This position is really instructive.  Usually in an ending an isolated pawn on e5 is suicide for white.  Here, though, it generates a winning  bind and cuts the board in two.  Black doesn’t have any pieces (such as a knight) to attack the P/e5.  Black’s rook on d8 would much rather be on f8 and the other pieces aren’t participating, so white easily focuses on the kingside to win material.  The only defender is black’s lone king which is not enough.  This logical “exception” to normal Sicilian endings may explain why Danny didn’t really analyze 17. e5!

17…Bb7 18.Bf3 Kf8 19.Rhd1 Ke7 Now White goes for… you guessed it….

20.e5?? Anything else (20. c4).  White cannot lose on any non-commital move.

20…Bxf3 21.exd6+ Rxd6! White overlooked this!

22 Rxd6 Bxd1 23.Rxd1 e5 And white goes on to lose this inferior ending.

24.fxe5 fxe5 25.c4 Ke6 26.Kc2 f5 27.b4 Rc8 28.Kc3 f4 29.a4 h5 30.a5 h4 31.axb6 axb6 32.Ra1 h3 33.gxh3 Kf5 34.Ra7 Rh8 35.Rf7+ Ke4 36.b5 f3 37.Rf6 Rxh3 38.Kb4 Ke3 39.c5 bxc5+ 40.Kxc5 Rxh2 41.b6 Rb2 42.Re6 e4 43.Kd5 Rd2+ 44.Kc6 f2 45.Rf6 Rb2 46.b7 Ke2 47.Kc7 f1Q White resigns 0-1 Depressing.

In the interests of decency, I won’t even mention what happened in the draws on boards 1 and 4.

And For Something Different

I have made a new friend on the Internet, Simpson Cole, apparently a very wealthy man.  I’m trying to steer him into donating millions of dollars (or is it Pounds?) into chess.  I offer you this e-mail exchange which is still active and ongoing.  I encourage others to do the same, maybe we can “promulgate” a chess windfall. In the transcript, my responses to the clearly very wealthy man are in blue. Note the strategic “moves” and “counter-moves” of the two parties as they negotiate complex exchange rate issues and work toward the multi-million dollar cash transfer.  Viva Caissa!

Transcript with the Entrepreneur

From:  “Rudolph”  October 3, 2008

To: Simpson Cole


Hold the consignment in transit while the Caissic intermediaries calculate the difference.  The occupation data you requested is Official Interspector.

Inform the 3rd parties of the same.


From:  Simpson Cole       October 2, 2008

Attention: Mark Ginsburg,
Good day,I got your mail.
Before i can inform the director of the security frim to release the consignment of funds to you, i will have to fill up the release form, to enable them contact you and infrom you when you can receive the total sum for Investment in your country.
I will like you to send the belwo informations,
(1) Your full name
(2) Your address
(3) Tel / Cell Number
(4) Occupation
I will have to calculate how much is 7,500,000.00 pounds to dollars,
Get back to me with details,
Simpson Cole.

— On Thu, 10/2/08, Mark Ginsburg <> wrote:

From: Mark Ginsburg
Subject: Re: URGENT Attention: Mark Ginsburg

From: mark ginsburg Have the Dublin men forward the necessary to the States Chess Authority for procurement.  But we need to calculate in Pounds Sterling. Advise the exchequer of the same.

Simpson Cole wrote:

Attention: Mark Ginsburg

Good day to you, I got your mail.

I will like you to send to me the below infromations to enable me prepare all documents in your name and favour as the only receiver of the total sum 7,500,000.00 pounds with the Security firm in Dublin for onward investment in your country.

(1) Your full name
(2) Your address
(3) Tel / Cell Number
(4) Occupation

As soon as i receive the above infromations i will forward to the security Firm for onward arrangment to release the total sum to your for investment in your country.

Please my dear i hasve put all my trust in you for a life term investment in your country with your help, Please do not fail me for the sake of my family.

Await your urgent reply soon,


Simpson Cole.

— On *Mon, 9/29/08, mark ginsburg * wrote:

From: mark ginsburg
Subject: Re: Caissic Investment Fund
Date: Monday, September 29, 2008, 6:44 PM

Proceed with the trust  transfer forthwith to the Exchequery of the 64 Square battalion. The conversion to Pounds Sterling must be promulgated via the necessary and so forth.

…  Mark Ginsburg
…  From mobile

—–Original Message—–

From:  Simpson Cole <>
Subj:  Attention: Mark Ginsburg
Date:  Mon Sep 29, 2008 12:24 pm
Size:  2K
To:  mark ginsburg

Attention: Mark Ginsburg

Good day to you, Thanks for your mail.
I wish to inform you that i want your full assistances in this transaction,
Send me your private number so i can call you for more discussion on my
Investment plans.
I want to Invest 7.500,000 Pounds in your country, let me know what kind of
Investment i can put in the total sum, a life term investment.
For your assistances i will offer you 20% of the toatl sum for your
You can reach me on +44-704-571-4235.
Await your call and reply,
Simpson Cole.

— On Sat, 9/27/08, mark ginsburg

From: mark ginsburg
Date: Saturday, September 27, 2008, 2:13 AM

Place the sterling with the intermediate Caissic concerns.   …. ….  Mark Ginsburg
…..  From mobile ….

—–Original Message—–  From:  Simpson Cole
Sep 26, 2008 8:00 pm Size:  1K To:  undisclosed recipients:     Dear Sir/madam,     Sorry at this perceived confusion or stress may you have receiving this letter
from me, Since we have not known ourselves or met previously.  By way of self
introduction, I am Mr.Simpson Cole,base in the united kingdom. I am interested
in investing in your country on any viable and profitable venture that you will
recommend.I was formally in the diamond/precious stone industry,before
international ban was placed on diamonds and precious from war torn
countries.Hence i had decided to diversify my investment portfolio by investing
abroad in different sector of businesses on partnership basis, hence i am
scouting for a trusted and reliable overseas partner/shadow.  Please be rest
assured t
hat this is from genuine source and 100% risk are very welcome to send
me a mail ,should you want to know more.  Kindly give this proposal an urgent
attention.  Regard,  Simpson Cole.

Postcript 10/3/08:  More Caissic Assistance on the Horizon

Boy, these are good times to be an ambassador for Chess.  Fresh off the keyboard with Simpson Cole (we have probably not heard the last from him), I received another incredible offer that I will donate to Caissa!

From:  Mark Ginsburg

To: Global Links

Good news.

Simply convert the dollars to Pounds Sterling to complete the transaction; advise Mr. Asare of the same.   The Exchequer of the 64 Squares, i.e. the Caissic Development Fund, is also aware.
Wire debit details to be held in situ.

Global Links wrote:
I here by notifying you about this money $480.000 deposited in your name from LINKS POWER DEVELOPMENT PLC, in African development bank you have to contact this bank before seven days from now.
Here are the banks information.
MOBIL: +233-248-236-890
PHONE; +233-214-09817
FAX;   +233-21-512-142
E-MAIL: <>
You advice to contact them before seven days from now.
Best Regards
Sarah. O .Onyeka