Posts Tagged ‘Rybka’

The Fabulous 10s: The US Championship Begins!

May 14, 2010

The US Championship is underway in St. Louis!

Rex Sinquefield’s gala event has started at the new USA Chess Mecca, St. Louis!

Let’s first take a look at the Ben Finegold of yesteryear (Belgium, 1989).

Ben Finegold and Marc Geenen, Belgium, 1989

Let’s kick things off with two cagey veterans battling:

[Event “US Champ 2010”]
[Site “St Louis”]
[Date “2010.05.14”]
[Round “1”]
[White “Christiansen, Larry”]
[Black “Gurevich, Dmitry”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “B60”]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 Dmitry remains true to his Classical Sicilian.

6. Bg5 Larry also has lots of experience with the Sozin 6. Bc4.

6…Qb6 7. Nb3 e6 8. Qe2!? Unusual.  I think GM Lanka used to teach people like Shirov to put queens on e2 in Sicilians.


Black misses a very cute potential tactic.  Stronger is 8…Be7! hoping for 9. O-O-O O-O 10. g4 – plausible, right?

This would seem to be the idea of 8. Qe2, since it occurred in the game too. Take a look at this for a second.

Position after 10. g4 - analysis.

Now black has the amazing shot 10…Nd5!! and I don’t think I’ve ever seen that move in this type of position.  It at least equalizes in all lines!  Rybka points out here the ingenious 10…Nd5!!  11. Nxd5 Bxg5+ 12. f4 exd5 13. fxg5 and now guess the right move that leads to a small edge for black!  Hint: it’s not obvious.  Also note the nice positional line 10…Nd5!! 11. Bd2 Nxc3 12. Bxc3 e5! with …Bc8-e6 coming and black is very happy.  Finally, 10…Nd5!! 11. Bxe7? Nxc3 is terrible for white.

9. O-O-O Be7 10. g4 Qc7 11. Be3 b5 12. f4 b4 13. Na4 Rb8 14. Bg2 Na5 15. g5 Nd7 16. Nxa5 Qxa5 17. b3 Bb7 18. Kb1 Bc6?! A little dubious.  18…Qb5 is better.

19. Nb2 Bb5 20. Qf2 Qc7 21. h4 Rc8 22. Rd2 a5 23. h5 a4 24. bxa4 Ba6 25. Bf1 Bxf1 26. Qxf1 Qb7 27. Qg2 Nc5 28. Bxc5 Rxc5 29. Rf1 O-O 30. f5 Re8 31. Qg4?

It was very unLarry-like to miss 31. f6!! Bf8 (31… Bd8 32. Rxd6 wins prosaically) 32. g6!! (Very aesthetic!) and wins.  This position deserves a diagram.

Position after 32. g6!! - analysis. White wins.

That would have been a real cruncher!  The bone crushing conclusion would likely have won white the round’s brilliancy prize (I am saying this not knowing if there is one):  32. g6!! hxg6 33. hxg6 gxf6 (what else) 34. gxf7++ Kxf7 35. Rxf6+! (Of course!) 35…Kxf6 (35…Ke7 36. Rdf2 wins) 36. e5+! and wins the black queen – clearance motif!  I will leave it as an exercise to the readers to work out the win after 32. g6!! Rc7.

31… exf5 32. exf5 Bf8 33. g6 Re4? Now black is lost again. The centralizing 33… Qe4! puts up a good fight and the issue is not yet resolved.  If white trades queens or avoids it he’s only working with a small edge.

34. Qg2 hxg6 35. hxg6 fxg6 36. fxg6 Rf5 37. Qh3 Rxf1+ 38. Rd1 1-0

In Other Round 1 Action

GM Stripunsky uncorked a howler on move 2 vs Nakamura:


1. e4 e6 2. f4?? White crumbles on move 2, losing a tempo. Memo to Nakamura’s future opponents;  see what winning chances he can generate after 2. d4! d5 3. Nd2!.  If the goal in the Championship is to maximize points, the 3. Nd2! variation fits the bill.    Play it for white, it’s not scary!  The goal is not to make an ugly pawn move right out of the gate!  Naturally, Nakamura went on to win this game.  I’ve noticed quite often that players deviate vs. high rated opposition.  But as Yermo teaches us, the main lines are the best lines!    This lesson was also learned the hard way by Joel Benjamin who avoided Closed Ruy main lines for no reason against Onischuk, choosing a deferred exchange sideline which might be good in blitz but is not good to maximize result expectation in a serious game.  Joel got nothing and went on to lose later.  Play into the main Closed Ruys!  They are not scary!

And for Something Different

Twilight: New Moon

I got this photo from ChessBase covering the Corus “C” group in 2010.  It’s Nils Grandelius from Sweden; wouldn’t he fit into the Twilight series?

Room for some Comedy Here?

Philosophy Comedy

Click several times to enlarge until the riotous comedy emerges.   Source article.

Search Engine Terms

Readers used these search terms to reach my site.  Note, as always, the immense popularity of Russian supermodel Anne V.    Some of the more mysterious phrases include “model boxing” and “levon altounian lightning.”

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The Fabulous 00s: Gentlemen, Test your Engines

December 4, 2009

Perplexing Sidelined Knight!

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

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

World Cup  Khantiy-Mansiysk

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

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

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

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

Position after 55. Kg2

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Here is a really nice line from the start position:

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

Black to play. What's the best move?

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

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

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

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

Thinking Your Way To Chess Mastery – 2nd Installment

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

Chess Today

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

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

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

And Readers Deserve to See

Maria Yurenok (photo from John Saunders London Press Release)

London Calling

The Fabulous 00s: Where is the Caro Complaint Department?

November 17, 2009

Kompliant Karo in New In Chess

In the 2009#7 issue of New in Chess, Nigel Short presents a Caro-Kann sideline that I tried as well in USCL action.

Caro-Kann Foxy Two Knights Foxy Deviation Line with 6. Be2!?

1. e4 c6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Nf3 Bg4 4. h3 Bxf3 5. Qxf3

Fischer used to play this just to get away from the tedious main lines.  Can the bishop pair count?  He certainly did not do well versus the likes of Keres (three times) in his early career (such as twice at the mammoth all play all four-times Bled Candidates ’59) when he coupled this idea with g2-g3, fianchettoing.  It was just too easy for black to play.

Fischer-Keres 0-1 Bled ’59 Part One

Fischer-Keres 0-1 Bled ’59 Part Two

Finally Fischer draws, Fischer-Keres 1/2, Bled ’61

5…Nf6 6. Be2!?

No fianchetto!  An interesting try.

Give up the center? Why?

The essence of this particular Caro deviation. White hopes for a miscue and in fact gets it right away!

6…dxe4 (?) 7. Nxe4 Nxe4 8. Qxe4.

In one game,   Short-Gagunashvili (2564) Calcutta Open 2009, there followed 8….e6 9. O-O Nbd7 and now Short found the “move of Frolov” (from 1990): 10. b4! with a significant edge.  In Merida 2001, Short had played 10. d4? versus Vishy Anand and got nothing, but Short and Rybka are both correctly enthused by 10. b4! – a nice move.

In the main game annotated in his article, Erwin L’Ami at the London Staunton Memorial 2009 played 8…Qd5 9. Qg4 Nd7 10. O-O Nf6 11. Qa4 Qe4 12. Qxe4 Nxe4 13. Re1 and black had not equalized.

So far so good, right?  However there is a problem.  Black’s 5h and 6th move combination is rather obviously not very good.  The essence is that there is no reason to rush to give up the center; doing so makes the two bishops count more (especially in the “Frolov Improvement Line” mentioned above).

I run into an Improvement

Try instead the move order from MG (ARZ) – L. Kaufman (BAL), USCL 2009,

1.e4 c6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Nf3 Bg4 4.h3 Bxf3 5.Qxf3 e6! 6.Be2 Nf6!

Ye Olde Bricke Walle

This move sequence for black on moves 5 and 6  is so obvious in hindsight.

Where does it come from?  The games Fischer was tortured (see above links) vs Keres! Simply maintain the center with a rock solid game. White has nothing that I can see! So do I complain to Short, Short’s opponents for gilding this apparently attractive path, the NIC Editor for running the article without the improvement, or Larry Kaufman for being too prepared?  Or am I missing some hidden improvement?  To my mind, Kaufman’s moves look logical and what are my bishops doing?  Larry assists with Rybka programming and development, maybe this improvement is just “oude kuch” (stale cake, as they say in NIC Dutch language) to him and I stepped in some NIC doo doo.


See the USCL website for the rest of my crazy game. I tried an early pawn advance which didn’t work at all. The only thing I’ll say about that one is that black missed a nice knockout with 19…Nc5! with the very nasty idea of Nc5-b3, winning.

Spot the Problem

From the USCL website, a preview of tomorrow’s playoff match:

New Jersey Knockouts (9.0 – 2.0) vs New York Knights (6.0 – 5.0)
New Jersey receives Draw Odds

All Time Series Record:  (New Jersey leads 3 – 2)

Starts at 7:00 PM ET       Time Control – Game in 90 with 30 second increment    

New Jersey Knockouts New York Knights
GM Joel Benjamin: 2641 GM Giorgi Kacheishvili: 2666
IM Dean Ippolito: 2535 GM Pascal Charbonneau: 2560
SM Mackenzie Molner: 2446 NM Matt Herman: 2275
Sean Finn: 2114 NM Yaacov Norowitz: 2354
Avg Rating: 2434 Avg Rating: 2464
New Jersey Total ——- ——- New York Total

Astute readers will notice the problem: “NJ Receives Draw Odds.” Far too great an odds in a 4-person match (this is obvious, right?). Recently I canvassed readers for alternate solutions – how to give a slight edge to the team with the higher seed. The collective braintrust is still working. See the comments section of my prior post.

And in Marketing News of the Weird

My blog received a “comment”:

“[random site]  is currently in the progress of choosing chess blogs/clubs to receive recognition from [random site] as Top Resources. This award is not meant to be anything other than a recognition that your blog/Clubs gives information about tactics that directly or in directly raise Chess awareness. Simply place the award banner code on your site and your resource will be listed as a Top CHESS Resources on [random site] once you place it. [random site] is a Private Global Chess Server which offer FREE Chess Games and Guidelines for learning chess and whose goal is to promote Chess (which game has lost his fan base) through the spread of information globally. Thank you for your dedication to your Club/blogs. Please reply me back with the subject line as your URL to avoid spam and to make sure that you only get the award banner.”

I have a better idea.  Random Site must recognize my blog as the primary chess knowledge source in the known universe and place that accolade in an obnoxious scrolling LED style banner on their home page.  Then I will make a link to my new friends and my deserved accolade.  But the real take away lesson – when you have a bad position, just think to yourself “which game has lost his fan base ” and tell yourself it’s not yours.

Mystery Photo



Test Your Eastern Bloc Humor

Rate this on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being “huh?” and 10 being “Mirthful indeed!”

What do you call one Russian? –A drunk.
What do you call two Russians? –A fight.
What do you call three Russians? — A Party cell

What do you call one Jew? –A financial center.
What do you call two Jews? –The World Chess Championship.
What do you call three Jews? –Native Russian Folk Instrument Ensemble.

What do you call one Ukrainian? –A partisan.
What do you call two Ukrainians? –A partisan cell.
What do you call three Ukrainians? –A partisan cell with a traitor in
their midst.