Posts Tagged ‘The Kenilworthian’

The Fabulous 00s: Death of the Main-Line Ulvestad

December 31, 2009

Ulvestad – What is This?!

Some analysis of recent Friedel games caused me to double-check analysis of what looks to me to be a highly dubious opening: the Ulvestad!

In particular, Michael Goeller’s notes to MacKinnon – Friedel Edmonton 2009.

Here is what I consider the bust of the “Main Line” Ulvestad.  Goeller pointed me to some analysis from a book by “Pinski” but I think white can overcome it, as follows:

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 3…Bc5 according to Karpov. There is something to be said for posting the bishop on the c5-f2 diagonal!

4. Ng5 d5 5. exd5 b5 Putting a dangling pawn out on b5 is cute, 1800’s Romanticism and all that, but doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

6. Bf1 Nd4 The cold-shower computer hates, and I think quite rightly, the move 6…h6?! as in Zierk-Friedel, Las Vegas 2009, but we’ll consider that bust separately. There now follows a series of moves that results in black’s king going to d8.  Technicians are laughing.

7. c3 Nxd5 8. cxd4 Qxg5 9. Bxb5+ Kd8

K on d8, what the heck is this??

I am not a big “two knights guy” but the king on d8 makes for a very unhealthy impression.  If white can castle (and he can), then it should be lights out.  If I was guaranteed before the game black would wheel out this [insert perjorative], I would become a huge fan of 3. Bc4 – but there is the answer 3…Bc5!

10. Qf3 Bb7 11. O-O Rb8

The best try but black is hanging together by the proverbial thread. In a fast time limit USCL game, black (who didn’t have doughnuts, coffee, and/or both) played the immediately losing 11… e4? and white was most happy to reply 12. Qh3! winning.  That nasty reply threatens mate on d7. 12…Bc8  (this forced undevelopment is taking the already ridiculous Ulvestad to new lows) 13. d3! Qf6 (13… Nf4 14. Bxf4 Qxf4 15. Qe3 wins) 14. Qh5 Qxd4 15. dxe4 and white won quickly, Charbonneau – Schneider, USCL 2009.  To illustrate what a complete short-circuit 11…e4? was, the simple 12. Qxe4 also wins (and is the materialistic computer’s preferred choice) as black has no follow-up.

12. dxe5! Friedel escaped this crummy situation and even won after 12. d3? Qg6! in the MacKinnon game referenced at the start of this article. As Goeller points out, 12. d3? is “a known error since at least Leonhardt – Englund, Stockholm 1908.”

12…Ne3 The plausible 12…Nb4 13. d4! wins for white. The nasty point is 13…Qxc1 14. Qxf7! blammo.

13. Qh3! Threatening mate on d7 and forcing black’s reply. Already I think white is completely winning.  Take that, Ulvestad fans.

White wins. Oh, the Soviet boredom.

The matter is now up to plain old Soviet-style technique.  And it’s not difficult.  Black is now in the iron grip of a Smyslov or a Botvinnik or a Petrosian.

13…Qxg2+ 14. Qxg2 Nxg2

An elementary blunder is 14..Bxg2? 15. fxe3 and wins since B/b5 guards f1.

15. d4 Nh4 Alternatives are no better.  For example, 15… Be7 16. Be2 Nh4 17. Rd1 Nf3+ 18. Bxf3 Bxf3 19. Rd3 Be4 20. Rg3 and white should gather the point.

Note: I draw readers’ attention to a comment I just received:

“A possible improvement for Black could be 15…f6 as played in Chemeris(2265)-Petkov(2484) in 2008, where Black obtained some nice play after 16.Nc3, Nh4: 17.Be2, Nf3+; 18.Bxf3, Bxf3: 19.Re1, Rb4: 20. Re3, Bb7: 21. Ne2, fxe5: 22.dxe5, Bc5 with clear compensation.”

However,  15…f6 16. Be2! followed by f2-f4 wins easily for white.  Once f3 is under control, black’s compensation disappears and it’s smooth sailing for white.

16. Bg5+ Be7 17. Bxh4 Bxh4 18. Nc3 Bf3 19. Rab1! Goeller told me that Pinski gives 19. b3 here, following up for black with a similar …Rg6+ sac idea.  In any event, it looks like this position is a simple win for white – the Rg6+ idea does not work. Here is why:

19…Rb6 20. Bd3 Rg6+(?) Not good at all, but what else? – I consider this move only to bust Pinski; other moves that don’t lose material are stronger but white is left with a big plus and should convert.

21. Bxg6 hxg6 22. Rfe1! A simple defense, preparing Ne4.  I think black is totally lost.

White wins

22…Bg5 22… Rh5 23. Ne4! just wins.  23… Rf5 24. Ng3 Rf4 25. Re3 and wins.

23. Rbd1!! The star defensive concept which any technician would find immediately.  The timely return of some material is always the receipe to break a premature “attack”.  Worse still for black, the Pinski  …Rg6 “adventure” just resulted in mass simplification making white’s ending task easier.

23…Bf4 Depressing for black is 23… Bxd1 24. Rxd1 Bf4 25. Ne2! and wins.

24. Rd3!  Bxh2+ 25. Kf1 Bb7 26. Ne2 and wins!  Note how Nc3-e2 is so strong defensively in these lines.

Conclusion: the main line Ulvestad is hopelessly unsound.

Readers, any improvements?   I think we should go back to Karpov’s 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5! 🙂


GM Yozhik – IM Aries2   Ruy Lopez Cozio Madness

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nge7 4. Nc3 Ng6 5. h4 Nf4 6. d4 exd4 7. Nd5 Ne6


8. Ng5 h6 9. Qh5 Wow! This surprising move actually forces a draw in a bizarre way.

9…g6 10. Qf3 hxg5 11. Nf6+ Ke7 12. Nd5+ Ke8 13. Nf6+ Ke7 14. Nd5+ Ke8 15. Nf6+ Ke7 {Game drawn by repetition} 1/2-1/2

After the game I was in for another shocker: white told me he planned to continue with b2-b3!

Absolutely classic! When have you seen Ng8-e7-g6-f4-e6 before in the opening? 

An Indecent Proposal from China

I think the term “supper league” was the first signal all was not well in this email I received recently.

The CHONGQING LIFAN FOOTBALL CLUB intends to invite experienced coaches/players/expatriate capable of rendering expertise services the chinese national team and there clubs in the chinese supper league divison.their enthusiasm fed by huge media coverage.

To coach and provide leadership instruction to the chinese national team.
*Development of team strategies; analyze performance of football team and adjust strategies as needed.
*Coordinate team travel arrangements.
*Scouting and recruiting more players into the national team.
*Coordinate coaches clinic; supervise dress code for staff and team members.

Education and Experience:
Bachelor’s degree in relevant field,
SALARY: US$29,000.00, Monthly, can be transferred to any Bank or Country of your choice and all transfers must be made in conformity with the existing tax situation in China.
CONTRACT DURATION: 48 months (Liable for upward review depending on your commitment and expertise)
The Management hereby inform that you are to INCUR all expenses associated with the processing of your relevant papers for commencement of work.
The chinese football association will disburse Six (6) months Upfront salaries and relocation expenses on confirmation of your required documentation (including immigration papers) from the relevant authorities here in China

We hereby inform that if this Offer is acceptable to you, you are requested to send us an acceptance letter with your passport photograph via email, and your C.V/RESUME to enable us proceed with relevant processing.
We await your response in this regard.
Mr Cho Ti

Captain Christopher Pike before he was Pike


And in News from Denmark

Le roi est mort. Vive le roi.

11th North American FIDE Invitational

May 22, 2008

Selected Games from the 11th North American FIDE Invitational

Here are some games from the 11th North American FIDE Invitational, held at IM Angelo Young’s Touch Move Chess Center on Ashland Avenue in Andersonville, Chicago.

Round 1

M. Ginsburg – NM Stamnov Semi-Slav

1.c4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Nc3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.Be2 O-O 8.O-O dxc4 9.Rd1 Qe7 10.a4!? e5! 11.Nd2 exd4 12.Nxc4 Bc7 Black doesn’t want to grab a pawn and surrender the two bishops just yet.

13.Rxd4 Ne5 14.b3 Nxc4 15.Rxc4 Rd8 16.Nb5 Bxh2+!? But now he goes for it. The situation is murky.

17.Kxh2 cxb5 18.Rf4 Nd5 19.Rd4 bxa4 20.Raxa4 Be6 21.Qd2 Qc7 22.g3 Nb6? Moving this horse to c3 would cause white problems!

23.Rxa7! Did black miss this simple move?

23…Rxd4 24.Rxa8 Nxa8 25.Qxd4 Bxb3 26.Bb2 f6 27.Bd3 Bf7 28.Qe4 Bg6 29.Bc4 Kh8 30.Qe6 Qd8 31.Bd4 I’m doing all sorts of good things but am low on time. The game toddles on.

31…h5 32.f4 Nc7 33.Qb6 Be4 34.Be2 Bc6 35.Qc5 g6 Black’s pawns are rickety but when I go after them, the queens come off and my winning chances disappear.

36.Qg5 Kh7 37.Qxf6 Qxf6 38.Bxf6 Be4! Black has achieved safety.

39.Kg1 Kg8 40.Kf2 Kf7 41.Be5 Ne6 42.Bc4 1/2-1/2

Stamnov played pretty solidly in this first round encounter. Two rounds later, he went a little nuts, though:

Loncarevic, Robert (2100) – NM Stamnov Two Knights Defense Round 3.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Nc6 4.Ng5 Bc5? The famous uhhh unsound line. What do they call it, the Traxler? The Wilkes-Barre? It’s not good. The simple and time-tested 4….d5 5. exd5 Na5! gives black ample compensation. Even Fischer had to admit this in his white experimentations.

5.d4?! “As every Russian schoolboy knows”, after the correct 5. Bxf7+! Ke7 6. Bd5! black has insufficient compensation and the lines aren’t that complicated – I refer the readers to a comprehensive deconstruction of this variation in a New In Chess treatise. It pays to study the refutations of the more common bad lines, because they do crop up now and again.

5…Bxd4 6.c3 Bb6 7.Nxf7 Bxf2+ For some reason, black was playing all his moves instantly as if he were a Kasparovian “monster with a thousand eyes.”

8.Kxf2 Nxe4+ 9.Kg1 Qh4 10.g3 Nxg3 11.Nxh8 Nxh1 12.Qd5! Ne7? This lu-lu was also played immediately. White took his sweet time over the sobering response.

13.Qf7+ And mate next move on f8.


In my 2nd round, I was able to use a system I had used previously to score a solid draw vs. the dangerous Danny Rensch in an Arizona event a year or so back.

Round 2

Dennis Monokroussos – M. Ginsburg Sicilian Taimonov

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Qd2 Bb4! Versus the English Attack set-up, it makes a lot of sense to speed things up and omit a7-a6. In a later round, versus Pasalic (see Round 6 below), for some reason I went for 5…d6 and avoided a possible repeat of this line. My tentative conclusion is that if white is really gunning all-out for an English Attack, this setup (without a6) is a very effective antidote – not possible, of course, from a Najdorf because there, a7-a6 has occurred on the 5th move!

8.f3 Nxd4 9.Bxd4 It is probably better to take with the queen here. People like GM Yannick Pelletier have shown that black has good play, though.

9…e5 10.Be3 Bxc3 11.Qxc3 11. bxc3 is possible with level chances.

11…Qxc3+ 12.bxc3 d6 13.c4 And here it might be more circumspect to leave this pawn where it is. White is drifting into an uncomfortable ending situation.

13… Be6 14.Rb1 b6 15.a4 Ke7 The king is great in this ending-type of middlegame in the middle of the board.

16.a5 Nd7 17.Kd2 Rhc8 18.Bd3 bxa5 19.Ra1 Bxc4 20.Rxa5 Bxd3 21.Kxd3 a6 22.Rb1 Rc6 23.Rb7 Kd8 24.h4 Kc8 25.Rb2 Kc7 26.Rba2 Nf8 27.h5 Ne6 28.R5a4 g6 29.h6 f5 30.Rb4 fxe4+ 31.fxe4 White is getting low on time which simplifies the technical task.

31…a5 32.Rb1 Nc5 I can’t make progress without trading knight for bishop, so I get that over with.

33.Bxc5 Rxc5 34.Rab2 Kd7 35.Rf1 Rc7 36.c4 a4 37.Kc3 Ke6 38.Rbf2 a3 39.Ra1 Ra4 This finishes it.

40.Kb3 Rcxc4 41.Raf1 Rcb4 42.Kc3 Rxe4 43.Rf6 Kd5 44.Rf7 Rf4 45.Rd1 Rad4 46.Rxf4 Rxd1 47.Ra4 Rh1 48.Rxa3 Rxh6 0-1

Round 5

IM Mark Ginsburg – IM Angelo Young Sicilian Kan

1.d4 e6 2.Nf3 c5 3.e4! Trying to recreate my win over Dzindzi that occurred in a Kan 29 years ago (!!!) in Chicago December 1979.

3…cxd4 4.Nxd4 Qb6!? Not knowing this line, I wondered about 5. Nb5 with the idea of 5…Bc5 6. Be3. However, 5…a6 6. Be3 Qa5+ seems to be a significant objection. After my response, it is most likely to transpose to a conventional Kan aka Modern Paulsen.

5.Nb3 Qc7 6.Bd3 Bb4+? Terrible. This move loses a full tempo.

7.Nc3! Since black cannot seriously contemplate eating on c3, the bishop move proves futile.

7…Nf6 8.O-O a6 9.Bd2 Be7 10.f4 d6 11.Qf3 Nc6 12.Kh1 Bd7 13.Rae1 h5 Black cannot move his king to the kingside so makes a semi-aggressive waiting move. But this allows white to break in the middle and get a big edge.

14.e5! Ng4 Clearly 14…dxe5?? 15. fxe5 Nxe5 16. Rxe5! Qxe5 17. Bf4! traps the black queen and wins instantly. So the text is forced.

15.exd6 Qxd6 16.Ne4! Qc7 17.Bc3! All these moves are logical and strong. Black must now “gambit” and hope for the best.

17…O-O-O Forced.

18.Nec5? White misses the very strong capture 18. Bxg7! Rhg8 19. Bc3 Nb4 (what I had feared, gaining the 2 bishops) 20. h3! and white is much better. The point is that the N/g4, the key to black’s game, must retreat and that spells disaster. It’s OK to give up the Bishop on d3, opening the c-file and keeping the all-important Bishop on c3. For some reason, I had only looked at 20. Bxb4? (horrible) donating black permanent compensation on the dark squares and so dismissed this entire line. I start making one bad move after another and lose all my advantage.

18…Bxc5 19.Nxc5 Nce5 20.fxe5? 20. Qxb7! is correct and white keeps an extra pawn in a rather drawish ending after a lengthy set of mutual captures.

20…Qxc5 21.Be4? An outright blunder.

21…Bb5! Oops. 22. Qxf7? Rd7! wins for black so I must go back.

22.Bd3 1/2-1/2 Black can even play on with the simple Bxd3 but decided to call it a day; as owner/operator of the club Angelo has definite socialization duties with visitors.

Round 6

FM Mehmed Pasalic – IM M. Ginsburg, Sicilian Scheveningen

1.e4 c5 2.Ne2 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Be2 Be7 8.Qd2!? O-O 9.O-O-O a6 10.f4 Nxd4 11.Qxd4 Nd7! Angling for …e5 to equalize in certain positions.

12.Kb1 b5 13.h4!? Rb8! It’s correct to drive the N/c3 off then hit in the center with ….e5 if possible.

14.h5!? b4 15.Na4 h6 I thought it made most sense to halt white’s h-pawn advance.

16.Qd3 Qa5 17.b3 Bb7 18.e5! White avoids danger with this move.

18…Nc5! 18…d5? closing the B/b7 off is too risky.

19.Nxc5 dxc5 20.Bf3 Rfd8 21.Qe2 Qc7 22.g4 Bxf3 23.Qxf3 c4 24.Qe4 cxb3 24…c3? would be bad; black cannot attack and white simply carries on with a kingside advance.

25.axb3 Rxd1 26.Rxd1 Rd8 Although white has space here it’s very hard for him to attempt anything. Likewise black also has nothing particular to do.

27.Rd4 Rxd4 28.Bxd4 Qc8 White declined a draw around here but a few moves later he offers one.

29.f5 Bf8 30.Bb2 Qc5 31.Bd4 Qc8 32.Bb2 1/2-1/2 This felt like a very logical game.

Round 8

IM M. Ginsburg – IM Emory Tate Round 8. Budapest Gambit. G/90 + 30 sec increment. Budapest Gambit.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 Emory was rather late and then blitzed off this Budapest.

3.dxe5 Ng4 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Bf4 Bb4 6.Nc3 Qe7 7.Qd5 O-O? But what’s this? 7….f6 is necessary.

8.h3 Nh6 9.e3 Nf5 10.Bd3 Bxc3 11.bxc3 Nh4 12.Nxh4 Qxh4 13.O-O Re8 14.Bg3 Qh6 15.Rad1 a5 16.c5 a4 17.Bc4 Qe6 18.Qxe6 fxe6 19.Rb1 Ne7 20.e4 g5 21.h4 c6! Emory ingeniously makes some counterplay on the queenside.

22.hxg5 Ra5 23.f4 Rxc5 24.Bd3 Rxc3 25.Rbd1 c5 26.Rf3 Nc6 27.Bb5 Rxf3 28.gxf3 Nd4 29.Bxa4 Ne2+ 30.Kg2 Nc3 31.Bxd7 Forced but strong.

31…Nxd1 If 31…Rf8, 32. Bxc8! Nxd1 33. Bxe6+ wins quickly. And of course if 31…Rd8? 32. Bxe6+ wins.

32.Bxe8 Fortunately for white, the king side pawn majority is too strong.

32...Kf8 33.g6! hxg6 34.Bxg6 Kg7 35.Be8 Kf8 36.Ba4 Nc3 37.Bc2 Nxa2 38.Be1 b5 39.Bd2 b4 40.Bb3 Nc3 41.Bxc3 Also 41. Be3 of course but this simplification is decisive.

41…bxc3 42.Kf2 Ke7 43.Ke3 Bd7 44.Bc2 Bb5 45.f5 Bf1 46.f4 The pawn box!

46…Kd7 47.Bb3 exf5 48.exf5 Bh3 49.Be6 Kc6 50.Kd3 c4 51.Kxc3 Kc5 52.Bc8 Bg2 53.f6 Bd5 54.f5 Bg8 1-0

After this game, Mehmed Pasalic, hanging around outside, was congratulated by Emory and me as he made his final IM norm in this event with a clinching draw. Bravo. He had beaten Stamnov in a “double-header” (Stamnov game played immediately after a long draw with Loncarevic).

Round 9

Loncarevic, Robert – Ginsburg, Mark Modern Defense

1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.Be2 a6 5.h4?! I don’t like this move. It causes problems for white in the game; it hangs in certain lines, and it doesn’t help get the king to safety.

5…h5! One time I made the mistake of allowing h4-h5 versus Sherzer and lost an agonizing middlegame.

6.Be3 b5 7.a4?! b4 8.Na2 a5 9.c3 bxc3 10.Nxc3 So the horse winds up on c3 again but black has gained open lines on the queenside.

10…Nf6 11.f3 Nc6 12.Bc4 O-O 13.Nge2 Nb4 14.Nf4 This all looks very artificial.

14...c6(!) Less interesting but OK was 14…Ba6.

15.d5? White could have tried to confuse here with 15. e5. But of course not 15. Nxg6?? d5 and wins material and the game (the knight gets trapped on f8).  Even so, 15. e5 Nfd5! (the best) 16. Ncxd5 cxd5 17. Nxd5 Nxd5 18. Bxd5 Rb8 19. e6 Bxe6! 20. Bxe6 fxe6 21. Qd3 Rf5! with advantage to black.

15…cxd5 16.Nfxd5? Last chance but of course bad for white was 16. exd5 Bf5. Now black’s initiative grows unopposed and it’s all over.

16…Nfxd5 17.Nxd5 Nxd5 18.Bxd5 Rb8 19.Bd4 Bxd4 20.Qxd4 Rb4 21.Qc3 Qb6 22.b3 Ba6 0-1

White cannot finish developing and the upcoming e6 and Rfc8 will be decisive (in either order). A rout.

Postscript: My Loss Pops Up in the Blogosphere

I was pleased to see my only loss in the event (to FM Tom Bartell) well annotated by Michael Goeller in ‘The Kenilworthian’.  These annotations taught me information I really should have known before the game, but the last time I had tried it out was quite a while ago!