Chess BLOG

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January 1, 2007

It's been quite a while... a long break owing to a death in the family. As you can see in the picture, I have been busy. A new chess book from Wiley that mirrors the instruction available on this site. I hope that you order a copy and/or recommend it to your friends and acquaintances.

I'm working on a new idea for the web site... interactive instruction for groups. Introductory, intermediate, and thematic lessons for groups using the telephone and Playchess. All you would need to do is to log into playchess as a guest (or use your account if you have one) and call a special telephone number that would let you join the discussion. The lessons would be very much like those I have given for decades, except that this way more than one person could benefit. The real question, of course, is how much to charge. Let me know your thoughts by e-mailing me at

July 15, 2004

I just received the word that the US Correspondence Chess Olympic team on which I play has qualified for the XIII final round! Here's the news release:

USA Correspondence Chess Team Qualifies for Olympiad XIII Final Round

ICCF-US has received notice from Roald Bertelsen, Tournament Director of the Olympiad XIII, that the US Preliminary Team has qualified for the Final Round. J. Daniel Finkelstein, Title Tournament Office Commissioner, has just released the Announcement regarding the start of the Final.

Olympiad XIII started 30 May 1998 by post. After 6 years of extremely hard work and patience, our team has taken second place in its section. The top 2 teams in each section advance to the Final Round. The Olympiad is the premier ICCF team event. 49 countries submitted 6 player teams that were divided into 4 sections. The USA was in Section 4 which had 13 teams. Our players had to play 12 games each whereas teams in the other section played 11 games.

Russia was strong from the start and took first place in Section 4 with 50 points. France completed its games about 2 years ago and earned 48 points. On 30 January 2003, the US team had 44.5 points with 7 games remaining. We knew that we had to score more points than France and the other second place contenders, because we would lose all tie-breaks. Every game was crucial. Games with Russia, Yugoslavia, and Hungary were painfully slow.

Our team's players are GM Joseph M. DeMauro, SIM Jon Edwards, SIM Gary L. Kubach, IM William E. Maillard, GM-elect John C. Timm, and SIM Daniel M. Fleetwood. Alex Dunne is our superb Olympiad Team Captain. John Timm assisted as Acting Team Captain when needed. He also served as best cheerleader and top scorer. He had a very impressive score of 10.5/12 on his board finishing a full point ahead of the second place players. Our heartiest congratulations go to all of our team players for all their efforts.

This is only the third time that the USA has qualified for the Olympiad Final Round. We currently have a team playing in the Final Round of Olympiad XIV. Olympiad XIV is the first Olympiad to be played by email.

The Final Round of Olympiad XIII will start 1 November 2004. The Qualifying Teams are from the Final of the 12th Olympiad: Germany, Lithuania, Latvia; and from the preliminaries of the 13th Olympiad, Section 1: Czech Republic, Brazil, Section 2: Luxembourg, Poland, Section 3: Slovakia, Austria, and Section 4: Russia, USA.

The Final will be played by post with the option of converting to email. Roald Bertelsen will remain as Tournament Director.

Amici Sumus,
Max Zavanelli
ICCF-US Secretary

June 6, 2004

Sorry to say that Koneru Humpy did not prevail in the FIDE Women's championship in Elista. Antoaneta Stefanova won the title beating Ekaterina Kovalevskaya in the four game final 2.5-0.5. Kovalevskaya had defeated Ms. Humpy, who missed an easy win in the first game of their match and could not recover in the short match.

In honor of the new world champion, I call your attention to a new book by historian Marilyn Yalom, Birth of the Chess Queen. An interesting read (I'm well along now), the book focuses upon an interesting historical question: Why did the chess Queen emerge during the late middle ages as the strongest piece on the board. It's always fun when a chess book becomes a real best seller. Highly recommended if you enjoy books about the history of chess.

May 30-31, 2004

About to enter summer mode, here at Chess is Fun. Chess goes on, of course, and so will the BLOG. But, until September, not every day. I hope to cover important events, including Ms. Humpy's run to the Women's championship.

I'll be spending more time preparing the Chess is Fun bonus site... which will include a million game archive, a Hedgehog Reference Center, the games in 100s of chess books, and much more.

Today's big news: Koneru Humpy has qualified for the Women's Semi-final. Here are the two games that got her through round 4.

Finally, a while ago I promised all of the 138 games in Pal Benko's wonderful new book: My Life, Games, and Compositions. In addition to these games, the 600+ page book includes a survey of Benko's opening contributions by John Watson and 300 of Benko's Endgame compositions.

May 28-29, 2004

Long Memorial Day weekend is upon us. I may play in the Amateur Team East... whether I play or not, I will be there on Saturday at least. Drop on by and talk!

Koneru Humpy has qualified for the quarter final by winning in overtime in round three.

Her opening there is very interesting, a cross between the Avant Garde and the Gurganidze. Here are a dozen or so games in this interesting line and here are my annotations to her key triumph.

Kosintseva,T (2451) - Koneru,H (2513) [B15]
FIDE WCh Women KO Elista RUS (3.3), 27.05.2005

1.e4 g6 The Modern Defense 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 c6 The idea is d7-d5 inviting e4-e5 4.f4 d5 5.e5 Because Black now has access to f5 and g4 5...Nh6 ...h5 is often played to prevent g4 6.Be3 Delaying Nf3 to avoid Bg4 6...f6 7.Be2 0-0 8.h4 Qb6 9.Na4 Qa5+ 10.c3 Bf5 11.Nc5 Nd7 12.Nxd7 [ 12.Nxb7 Qb6 13.Qb3 Rfb8 14.Nc5 Nxc5 15.Qxb6 Rxb6 16.dxc5 Rxb2-/+] 12...Bxd7 13.h5 Qb6 14.Qd2 Ng4 15.Bxg4 Bxg4 16.hxg6 hxg6 Black emerges with the two bishops and a good chance of reaching a favorable endgame after the exchange of rooks on the h-file. 17.Rh4 Bf5 18.Ne2 Kf7 19.Ng3 e6 20.0-0-0 Rh8 21.Rdh1 Rxh4 22.Rxh4 Rh8 23.Nxf5 exf5 24.Rxh8 Bxh8 Black's double pawn will disappear, and Ms. Humpy has the better bishop. 25.Qe2 Qd8 26.g4 Qc8 27.gxf5 Qxf5 28.Bd2 Qh3 29.c4 Bg7 Seeking activity for the bishop 30.b3 Qd7 31.Be3 Qe7 32.cxd5 cxd5 33.Qb5 Qc7+ 34.Kd2 Qc6 With the white pawns fixed on dark squares, black has all the chances in the queenless endgame. 35.Qa5 a6 36.Qd8 Bf8 37.Ke2 Be7 38.Qh8 Qc2+ 39.Kf3 Qe4+ 40.Kf2 fxe5 41.fxe5 Bh4+ 42.Ke2 Bg5 43.Qh3 Qc2+ 44.Kf3 Qe4+ 45.Ke2 Ke7 Diagram

46.Qg3!? [ 46.Qh7+=] 46...Qc2+ 47.Kf3?? [ 47.Kf1 Qb1+ 48.Kg2 Qxa2+ 49.Kh3 Bxe3 50.Qxe3 Qc2 51.Kg3-/+] 47...Bxe3 48.Qh4+ [ 48.Kxe3 Qe4+ 49.Kd2 Qxd4+-+] 48...g5 0-1

May 27, 2004

In Sarajevo, Shirov clinched first place with a nice win in round eight. He is scheduled to play against Short in round nine, but I'm sure that the fans will forgive a quick draw after his impressive fighting performance.

At the FIDE Women's Championship in Elista, Koneru Humpy has advanced to round three and, with a quick win with black, looks to advance to the quarter final.

Here are two games, Shirov's eight round win and one from Ms. Humpy.

Shirov,A (2713) - Predojevic,B (2490) [B31]
Bosnia GM Sarajevo BIH (8), 26.05.2004

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.d3 Bg7 6.h3 Nf6 7.Nc3 Nd7 8.Be3 e5 9.Qd2 Qe7 10.Bh6 Bxh6 11.Qxh6 f6 12.Nh4 Nf8 13.0-0 Be6 14.f4 exf4 15.Rae1 0-0-0 [15...g5 16.Nf5 Qd7 (16...Qf7 17.Nd6+) 17.Qxf6 Rg8 18.Nd5 cxd5 19.exd5 Rg6 (19...Qxd5 20.Qe7#) 20.dxe6 Rxf6 21.exd7+ Kxd7 22.Re7+ Kc6 23.g4+/-] 16.Qxf4 c4 [16...g5 17.Nf5] 17.d4 g5 [17...Rxd4 18.Qxf6 Qxf6 19.Rxf6+/=] 18.Nf5 Qd7 19.Qe3 Bxf5 20.Rxf5 Qxd4 21.Qxd4 Rxd4 22.Rxf6 White emerges with a central passed-pawn 22...Nd7 23.Rf5 Re8 24.e5 idea e6 [24.Rxg5 Rd2] 24...g4 25.e6 Nf8 26.Ne4 gxh3 [26...Nxe6 27.Nf6 Re7 28.Rfe5 Rd6 29.Ne4 Rd8 30.Nc5+-] 27.c3 Rd3 Diagram

28.Rxf8 Rxf8 29.e7 Rg8 [29...Re8 30.Nf6+-] 30.g4 Rf3 [30...Rxg4+ 31.Kh1 Rg8 32.Nf6+-] 31.Nd6+ Kd7 32.e8Q+ Rxe8 33.Nxe8 Rf8 34.Ng7 Rg8 35.Rd1+ Kc8 [35...Ke7 36.Nf5+ Ke6 37.Rd4+-] 36.Ne6 Rxg4+ 37.Kh2 b6 [37...Rg2+ 38.Kxh3 Rxb2 39.Rd8#] 38.Kxh3 Re4 39.Rd8+ Kb7 40.Rd7+ Ka6 41.Nd4 Re3+ 42.Kg4 h5+ 43.Kf4 Rd3 44.Nxc6 [44.Nxc6 Rxd7 45.Nb8+] 1-0

Koneru,H (2513) - Peng Zhaoqin (2396) [D94]
FIDE WCh Women KO Elista RUS (2.1), 24.05.2004

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 g6 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.Be2 0-0 7.0-0 Bg4 Often, in Queen Pawn openings, Black has to suffer with a bad Bc8. Here, Black tries to develop it. 8.cxd5 cxd5 9.Qb3 Taking immediate advantage of the fact that the b7 pawn is now undefended. 9...b6 10.Bd2 Nc6 11.Rfc1 Na5 12.Qd1 Bxf3 13.Bxf3 e6 Black has solidified the center, traded off the bad light-squared bishop. Looks fine, right? 14.b3 Preventing Na5-c4 14...Qd6 15.Be2 Re-posting the bishop to the more active diagonal 15...a6 Diagram

The losing move16.Qf1 Two attacks on a6 16...b5 Leaving the Na5 exposed. 17.Nxd5 Nxd5 18.Bxa5 With an extra pawn, the two bishops, and an open board, an easy win for Ms. Humpy. 18...e5 19.e4 Nf6 20.dxe5 Qxe5 21.Bc3 Qe7 [21...Qxe4 22.Bf3] 22.f3 Rac8 23.Qe1 Ng4 24.fxg4 Qc5+ 25.Qf2 Bxc3 26.Qxc5 Rxc5 Black hopes for a drawish bishop of opposite color endgame. 27.Rab1 Re8 28.Bd3 Kg7 29.Kf2 Rec8 30.Ke2 Be5 31.Rxc5 Rxc5 32.h3 a5 33.b4 Rc3 34.bxa5 Ra3 35.Rxb5 Rxa2+ But with a pair of rooks on the board, white will have excellent winning chances. 36.Kf3 Bc7 37.Rb7 Bxa5 38.Bc4 Ra3+ 39.Kf4 Bd2+ 40.Ke5 Bc3+ 41.Kd6 Ra5 42.Rxf7+ Kh6 43.h4 g5 44.h5 Be5+ 45.Ke6 Bd4 46.Rd7 Re5+ 47.Kf7 Bc5 48.Rc7 Bd6 49.Rc6 Re7+ 50.Kf6 Bb4 51.Kf5+ Kg7 52.h6+ Kf8 53.Rc8+ Re8 54.Rxe8+ Kxe8 55.Bg8 Bc3 56.Kxg5 1-0

May 26, 2004

Having defeated her opponent in Round 1 of the FIDE Knockout format, Koneru Humpy has continued her winning ways with a win a round two. I hope to present it here tomorrow. But the big story this week may be in Sarajevo.

The 34th "Bosna 2004 tournament features the field of Alexei Shirov, Nigel Short, Ivan Sokolov, Viktor Bologan, Sergei Movsesian, Zdenko Kozul, Suat Atalik, Bojan Kurajica, Emir Dizdarevic and Borki Predojevic

Through seven round, Alexei Shirov at 6-1 has a commanding 1 point lead with 5 wins and 2 draws.

Here are all of his games so far in the tournament and here's his impressive victory in round 5.

Shirov,A (2713) - Atalik,S (2554) [C96]
Bosnia GM Sarajevo BIH (5), 22.05.2004

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 The Ruy Lopez 3...a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 0-0 and ...d5 is the Marshall Gambit 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 Preventing Bg4 and preparing d2-d4 9...Na5 10.Bc2 Preserving the "Spanish bishop" 10...c5 11.d4 cxd4 12.cxd4 White will usually develop with Nb1-d2-f3-g3 or e3 with good long-term play against the Black kingside 12...Bb7 13.d5 Rc8 14.Nbd2 Nh5 Idea f5 and Nf4 15.Nf1 Preventing Nf4 and now with the idea of Nxe5 and Qxh5 15...Nc4 16.a4 b4 17.b3 Na3 18.Bd3 Again, with the threat of Nxe5 18...a5 19.Nxe5 Bf6 20.Qxh5 Bxe5 21.Ra2 Rc3 Looking for compensation for the pawn, attacking b3 and the Bd3 22.Qd1 Qf6 23.Re3 Beating black Black's initiative 23...Rfc8 24.Bd2 There are now other entry squares for the Black rooks 24...R3c5 25.Rf3 back, back, back 25...Qd8 26.Ne3 idea Ng4 26...R8c7 27.Ng4 Qc8 Idea Rc1 28.Bf1 Rc1 29.Bxc1 Rxc1 30.Qd2 Ba6 31.Nxe5 Rxf1+ 32.Kh2 dxe5 White has a rook and pawn for the two minor pieces, but the Na3 is well out of play. 33.d6 and white has a powerful passed pawn 33...Bb7 34.d7 Qd8 35.Rd3 f6 [35...Bxe4 36.Rd6+-] 36.Rd6 Kf7 37.Qe2 Rc1 [37...Ke7 38.Rad2 Rc1 39.Qh5] 38.Qh5+ Ke7 Diagram

39.Re6+! Kxd7 [39...Kxe6 40.Qe8+] 40.Rd2+ [40.Rd2+ Kxe6 41.Rxd8] 1-0

May 25, 2004

Regular readers of the BLOG may recall coverage of Ms. Koneru Humpy's win streak in the Indian Women's championship. I was impressed not only by the result, but by the fact that Ms. Humpy has an opening repretoire with black that is nearly identical to my own.

Ms. Humpy is now taking part in the The FIDE Women's World Championships now taking place in Elista. Indeed, she is the highest rated player at the tournament and dispatched her first opponent in fine style.

Here's the game and here's another classic encounter in the same line.

Van der Merwe,C (2062) - Koneru,H (2513) [B43]
FIDE WCh Women KO Elista RUS (1.1), 22.05.2004

1.e4 c5 The Sicilian Defense 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 The Kan 5.Nc3 Qc7 Many transposition are possible here. The Qc7 is immune from attack from a knight because the black a- and e-pawns control b5 and d5 6.Bd3 Nf6 Another natural move pair. The Qc7 prevents the e4-e5 advance 7.0-0 Be7 8.Qe2 idea e4-e5 8...d6 9.Bg5 Nbd7 Playable because with the white king on the kingside, white is less likely to aim for f3 and g4-g5 10.Kh1 idea f4 10...b5 Justified because white has not played a4 or c4, and after 11.a4, black can push through safely with b5-b4 11.a4 b4 12.Na2 How to defend b4? 12...Bb7 [12...a5? opening up the b5-square] 13.Bd2 [13.Nxb4 Qc5! With three white pieces hanging] 13...Nc5 Three attacks on e4, one on a4 14.f3 0-0 15.a5 [15.Nxb4 a5 16.Na2 Nxa4] 15...Nxd3 16.cxd3 Qxa5 17.Bxb4 Qb6 18.Qf2 idea Nf5 18...a5 19.Ba3 Nd7 Anchoring the Qb6 20.Nc3 Ba6 targeting the backward d3-pawn 21.Na4 Qb7 22.Qe3 Rfd8 Preparing Nc5 23.Rac1 Nc5 24.Nxc5 dxc5 25.Bxc5 Bxc5 26.Rxc5 Qxb2 27.Nc6 Rxd3 28.Qc1 Qb6 29.Nxa5 h6 30.Nc6 Black is active here, but the pawn structure offers few winning chances 30...Rb3 31.Rd1 Be2 32.Re1 Bd3 33.Ne5 Rb1?! [33...Rd8=] 34.Rc8+ Kh7 35.Rxa8 Rxc1 36.Rxc1 Ba6 37.Nxf7 And white may be winning here 37...Qb2 38.Rd1 Be2 39.Rda1 Qf6 idea Bxf3= 40.Nd6 Qf4 41.R8a2 Bxf3 42.gxf3 Qxd6 43.Rg1 Qd3 44.Rf2 Qe3 45.Kg2 g5 46.h3 Kg6 47.Rd1 Qf4 48.Rd3 Diagram

48...h5! aiming for h4 and Qg3+ 49.Rc3 [49.Rd1 h4 50.Rh1~~] 49...h4 50.Kg1 Qg3+ 51.Kf1 Qxh3+ 52.Ke2 g4 Nicely played, idea g4 53.Rc1 g3 54.Rg1 Kf6 55.Rfg2 Kg5 56.Ke3 e5 idea Qd6 or Qc8 57.Rd2 Qe6 threat Qb6+ winning the Rg1 [57...Qc8 also wins easily] 58.Rd5 [58.Rb1 h3-+] 58...Qb6+ 0-1

May 24, 2004

Many players excel at positional or tactical chess, but it is the rare player indeed who can combine a talent both with a flair for the creative.

Israeli GM Amatzia Avni 1991 book Creative Chess offers an introduction with ten key principles but, more important, provides 150 especially creative games that will help to develop your chess.

A revised 1997 edition offers even more examples. Here are all of the games in the book and one example, a nice mating attack from Roman Dzindzichashvilli.

Dzindzichashvili - Browne
New York, 1984


Two attacks on the Bd61.Bb8 Beginning by sealing in the Ra8 and threatening 2.Rxe4 Qxe4 3.Qh8 1...Qe8 [1...f5 2.f3] 2.Rxe4 Qxb8 Maintaining material equality and pinning the Qg3. 3.Re5! Unpinning the Qg3, threat Qg6+ 3...fxe5 4.Qg6+ Kh8 5.Qh6+ [5.Qh6+ Rh7 6.Qf6+ Rg7 7.Qxg7#] 1-0

May 22-23, 2004

To help you all improve, I have included many games here on this site and in this BLOG. The idea is simple enough. Play over enough games and you will recognize positional and tactical opportunities and you will learn learn quite a bit about how to launch successful attacks.

That's basically the idea behind Correspondence Chess World Champion Gennady Nesis's books in the tactics series. Today, I include all of the games in his 1993 book Tactics in the Sicilian. Here are some of the most spectacular sacrifices in an opening known for its aggression.

More than just a manual on opening varaitions, here are games that will illustrate how to storm your opponent's king on both sides of the board, as well as a variety of tactical themes including enticement and deflection.

Here is one of the games in the book featuring, of course, a queensac!

Zakic - Cvetkovic [B81]
Aosta, 1989

1.e4 c5 The Sicilian 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.g4 The Keres Attack, one of the reasons that many players play 2...d6 and 5...a6 first 6...Nc6 7.g5 Nd7 8.Be3 In this line, white gets a quick kingside initiative 8...Be7 9.h4 0-0 Courage required. 10.Qh5 Trying to entice ...g6 10...Re8 11.0-0-0 a6 12.f4 Bf8 13.f5 exf5 Diagram

14.Qxf7+! Kxf7 15.Bc4+ Re6 [15...Ke7 16.Nxf5#; 15...Kg6 16.h5#] 16.Nxe6 [16.Bxe6+ Ke8] 16...Qa5 17.Nc7+ Ke7 [17...Kg6 18.h5#] 18.N3d5+ Kd8 19.Ne6+ Ke8 20.Bd2 Qa4 21.Bb3 Qxe4 22.Rhe1 Rb8 [22...Qxh4 23.Nec7+ Kf7 24.Nf4+ d5 25.Bxd5#] 23.Rxe4 fxe4 24.Rf1 White emerges with an enormous positional advantage 24...Nce5 25.Bb4 Nf3 26.Ndc7+ Ke7 27.Rd1 Nc5 28.Nxc5 a5 [28...dxc5 29.Bxc5#] 29.N5a6 axb4 30.Nxb8 Nxh4 31.Nb5 Bg4 32.Rxd6 e3 33.Rb6 e2 34.Rxb7+ [34.Rxb7+ Ke8 (34...Kd8 35.Nc6+ Kc8 (35...Ke8 36.Bf7#) 36.Rc7#) 35.Bf7+ Kd8 36.Nc6+ Kc8 37.Rc7#] 1-0

May 21, 2004

In the interests of full-disclosure, I should note that I am an e4 player (I open with 1.e4) and that I usually defend against 1.d4 with 1...Nf6.

So I'm not the greatest authority on the Queen's Gambit (1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6), but I am a firm beliver in playing over games that involve opening lines that I do not normally play. There's much to learn and enjoy and, who knows, I'm not too old to change.

In 1990, GM D. Marovic authored Play the Queen's Gambit, a collection of 150 instructive games in this line thematically organized with introductions to each main line.

Play through these games and observe the common themes, black's bad Bc8, white's central control, the symmetryand basic soundness of black's pawn structure, but white's spatial advantage with a wider range of attacking possibilities.

Here are all of the games in the book as well as a classic encounter with my notes.

Alekhine,A - Colle,E [D51]
Bled Bled, 1931

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 d5 The Queen's Gambit Declined 4.Bg5 Nbd7 5.Nf3 c6 Here in the Cambridge Springs, Black plays Nbd7 but refrains from playing Be7 6.e4 e3 is the main line 6...dxe4 Making sure that the e-pawn does not reach e5 7.Nxe4 Qb6 Increasiong the tention. Bb4+ invites Nc3 and Bd2 8.Bd3 Offering the b2-pawn for rapid development 8...Qxb2 [8...Nxe4 9.Bxe4 Qb4+ 10.Nd2 Qxb2 Spielmann-Euwe, 1932] 9.0-0 Nxe4 10.Bxe4 Nf6 Typical after an exchange on e4 11.Bd3 Qb6 Back to the safety of b6-c7-d8 12.Re1 Be7 13.Qc2 Idea Bxf6 and Bxh7 13...h6 14.Bd2 c5 striking while d4-d5 is impossible 15.Bc3 cxd4 16.Nxd4 Black is up a pawn and white has the isolated c-pawn, but white also has a large lead in the development and black remains uncastled and saddled with a bad Bc8 16...0-0 17.Nf5 Qd8 [17...exf5 18.Rxe7] 18.Nxe7+ Qxe7 White emerges with the two bishops in an open board 19.Rab1 Rd8 20.Re3 Idea rook swing to g3 or h3 20...b6 21.Qe2 Bb7 22.Rg3 Ne8 Defending g7 23.Re1 White's lead in development is pronounced 23...Kf8 Diagram

24.Qb2 three attacks on g7 24...f6 weaknesses now emerge on e6 and g6 25.Bb4 Nd6 26.Rge3 Two attacks on the weakened e6-pawn 26...Kf7 27.f4 fixing the e6-weakness 27...Qd7 28.Qe2 three attacks on e6 28...Re8 29.Qh5+ Exploiting the g6-weakness 29...Kg8 30.Qg6 Into the entry square; threat Qh7 and Bg6 30...f5 White can now capture on e6 or 31.Bxd6 Qxd6 32.Bxf5 Qxf4 33.Qh7+ Kf8 34.Bg6 Threat Qh8 and Qxg7 34...Qd4 35.Bxe8 Rxe8 36.Kh1 Qf6 1-0

May 20, 2004

I received a wonderful e-mail from one of our regular Message Board regulars. He's attempting a serious look at how to think about the game, the interaction between time, material, space, pawn structure, key squares, initiative, and development. Here was my response:

I hope he doesn't mind that I'm sharing my reply, but I think that it help many of you:

I think that you are in the process of developing and all-encompassing "gestalt"... a way of thinking... about chess.

Mine occurs quite sub-consciously, but it takes in all that you have suggested.

My leap occurred when, for some reason, I decided that I really wanted to understand EVERYTHING about a position that I had in a correspondence game. And I mean EVERYTHING. It took a very long time to do that and, of course, I made the right move and won the game too.

But I learned so much that carried on to other games. I'm a bit slower than most at this, so I really need hours to reach my conclusions... that's why I excel at correspondence chess and not over-the-board.

Carry on... I'm impressed! Try using your method on a set of positions and see how you do. Don't be afraid to write down your analysis and thoughts. That really helps too!"

I promised yesterday to provide the games in Bellin's Test Your Positional Chess. Here are all of the games in the book and here is one with a sense of what it's all about.

Dueckstein - Petrosian [B18]
Varna ol, 1962

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.Nf3 Nd7 7.Bd3 e6 8.0-0 Qc7 9.c4 0-0-0 10.Bxg6 hxg6 11.Qa4 Kb8 12.b4 Nh6 13.Qb3 Nf5 14.a4 e5 15.dxe5 Nxe5 16.Nxe5 Qxe5 17.Bb2 Qc7 18.c5 Diagram

Here's the position in the quiz. Bellin provides three possible plans: 1) Counter-attacking down the h-file with Qf4-h4; 2) Relying on the pin of the Ng3 to play Nd4 with the aim of simplifying to the endgame; and 3) Attacking the b4-c5 pawn duo in order to activate the Bf818...a5 19.Rad1 [19.bxa5 Bxc5 20.a6 b6 With the better pawns structure and very active pieces.] 19...Rxd1 20.Rxd1 Rh4 21.bxa5 Bxc5 Black has succeeded in developing the bishop. The Ng3 cannot take othe Nf5 owing to the threat of Qxh2 22.a6 [22.Nxf5 Qxh2+] 22...b6 23.Re1 Ka7 24.Be5 Qd7 25.Ne4 [25.a5 b5] 25...Bd4 26.g3 Bxe5 27.gxh4 Nd4 28.Qd1 Qd5 [28...Qf5] 29.Re3 Nf5 30.Re1 Nd4 31.Qd3 f5 32.Ng5 c5 33.Re3 c4 34.Qd1 Kxa6 35.Ra3 Bf6 36.h3 f4 37.Qg4 Ka5 38.Nf3 Kb4 39.Nxd4 Kxa3 40.Nc2+ Kxa4 0-1

May 19, 2004

A long township committee meeting last night has interfered with the BLOG. Sorry about that folks. I got back in just in time to see the Yankees lose in the 11th inning.

Next up and nearly done by 6:30 last night are all the games in Bellin's Test Your Positional Chess. I begin my teaching by stressing candidate moves. Don't pick one move and play... pick three moves and try to determine which one is best. After all, there's Coach's Second law: one move is always better than the others.

Well, the fact is that chess really isn't about candidate MOVES... it's really about candidate plans! And sure, even a bad plan is better than no plan, but among a choice, one plan is always better than the others.

That's the heart of great positional chess, and this book from Bellin really helps to get you thinking correctly about how to plan and how to choose one over another.

I hope to finish this up tomorrow... please forgive the delays!

May 18, 2004

The European Individual Championships taking place in Turkey brings together chess stars like Vassily Ivanchuk, Teimour Radjabov, Mikhail Gurevich, and Predrag Nikolic.

During our Sunday morning lessons, my students and I turned out attention to one of these games, a lovely achievement in an interesting line. White begins by trying the English Attack against the Pirc Defense, but gets greedy by winning a pawn that opens up lines on the queenside against his own king.

If you play over just one chess game this week, try this one. The attack is memorable and the tactics a work of modern art. Enjoy.

Parligras,M (2549) - Jobava,B (2616) [B07]
5th IECC Antalya TUR (2), 16.05.2004

1.e4 d6 The Pirc Defense 2.d4 Establishing a pawn center 2...Nf6 which Black will try to counter-attack 3.Nc3 g6 The fianchettoed Bg7 is often a strong force through the center of the board 4.Be3 antipating Bg7 with Qd2 and 0-0-0, often readying the English attack with f3 and g4 4...Bg7 5.Qd2 0-0 6.0-0-0 c6 7.Kb1 b5 In many Sicilian lines, Black will prepare b56 with a6. Here, the c-pawn never advanced to c5 and can support b5 directly 8.f3 Nbd7 Eyeing the key e5 square 9.e5 Perhaps h4-g5 and h4-h5. 9...b4 The counter aims to open the lomg diagonal for the Bg7 10.exf6 bxc3 11.Qxc3 Nxf6 Offering the c6-pawn. 12.Qxc6 Be6 But now Black gets a huge attack wit the active bishops and the open b- and c-files 13.Bc1 Defending the key b2 square, but notice thatr the Rh1, Ng1, and Bf1 are all "in the box." 13...Rb8 We expected Qa5 threatening mate and watching the d5-square. Rb8 is even stronger, threatening rather than playing Qa5 14.Nh3 Diagram

Trying to develop as quickly as possible, but the knight remains on the awkward h3-square for 14 more moves.14...Bxa2+! Beating down the defense rather than face Qa5 b3 15.Kxa2 Qa5+ 16.Kb1 Forced 16...Nd5 Threat Nc3+ 17.Rd3 Defending the threat but inviting the fork with Nb4 17...Rfc8 First, putting the question to the misplaced Qc6 18.Bd2 Diagram

[18.Qd7 Nc3+ (18...Nb4 19.Ra3) 19.Rxc3 Qxc3 20.Bd3 Bxd4-+] 18...Rxb2+!! [18...Nb4 19.Ra3] 19.Kxb2 [19.Kc1 Qa1#] 19...Rb8+ 20.Rb3 Bxd4+ 21.c3 [21.Kb1 Qa1#] 21...Nb4 22.Qa6 [22.cxd4 Qa2+ 23.Kc1 (23.Kc3 Qc2#) 23...Nxc6 24.Rxb8+ Nxb8 25.Bc3 Nc6-/+] 22...Nxa6 23.Bxa6 Rxb3+ 24.Kxb3 Qxa6 25.cxd4 Qe2 Completely tying up white's pieces 26.Be1 [26.Bc3 Qxg2] 26...Qxg2 27.Nf2 Qxf3+ 28.Kc4 a5 A flier... white has to disentangle his pieces and capture the a-pawn 29.Rg1 a4 30.Nd3 a3 31.Bd2 e5 32.dxe5 Qc6+ [32...Qc6+ 33.Kb3 (33.Kd4 Qb6+) 33...Qb6+ winning the Rg1] 0-1

May 17, 2004

In my 1998 book, the Chess Analyst, I wrote a chapter (Cures for Irregularity) that provided a refutation for 1.g4, Grob's Attack or "The Spike."

I had investigated the best response to that move when a postal opponent tried it against me. I discovered, to my chagrin, that my library had next to nothing on the move. In those days, we had to respond within three days. I spent a lot of time on it and came to understand that there was considerable difference between 1...d5 and 1...e5.

In 1988, prolific chess author Bill Wall wrote Grob's Attack. I have used the opening myself from time to time as a surprise weapon in informal encounters. For those interested in taking a look, here are the 50 games that appear at the end of Wall's book. And here is a small piece of analysis from my own book. My database suggests that there have been no meaningful tests of my findings.

Grob analysis [A00]

1.g4 Grob's Attack or, "The Spike" 1...e5 In my opinion, the best reply because it stops Bg2 [1...d5!? 2.Bg2 Bxg4 A significant error; white drums up an immediate attack 3.c4 c6 (3...dxc4 4.Bxb7) 4.Qb3] 2.Bg2!? Grob suggested 2.d3 as an improvement [2.f4?? Qh4#; 2.d3] 2...h5 Here's the key move, immediately challenging the g4-pawn. It cannot push through (g5 Qxg5) and Defending it with h3 also lose 3.gxh5 [3.h3 hxg4 4.hxg4 Rxh1 5.Bxh1 Qh4 6.Bf3 e4 7.Bxe4 Qxg4; 3.g5? Qxg5] 3...Qg5 Diagram

Grob felt that Rxh5 was strong enough that 2.d3 was needed, but Qg5 seems even stronger4.Bf3 [4.Kf1 Perhaps Kf1 is white's best hope, but it is, of course, quite a concession this early in the game.] 4...Qh4 Idea e5-e4 5.e4 [5.d3] 5...Bc5 *

May 15-6, 2004

In yesterday's BLOG, I thought that I was providing all of Pal Benko's Benko Gambit games. But of course, just a bit of research showed up a few more.

In 1973, Benko wrote the first book on the gambit. It's well out print but still available used, albeit at more than the original $5.95 price. Here are all 20 of the annotated games in the book, including seven of Benko's that were not in my database.

GM John Fedorowicz became the heir to the Benko legacy by taking up the gambit and publishing The Complete Benko Gambit in 1990 with a significantly reworked second edition in 1994.

Here are all of the games in his second edition as well as a nice win of Fedowowicz's in 1989.

Andruet,G - Fedorowicz,J [A58]
Wijk aan Zee (5), 1989

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5 The Benko Gambit 4.cxb5 a6 5.bxa6 g6 The modern move order, avoiding lines with an early b3 and Bb2 6.Nc3 Bxa6 7.f4 Another modern try, with the idea of setting up a broad center with e4 7...Bg7 8.Nf3 Qa5 Pinning the Nc3 to prevent e4 9.Bd2 0-0 10.e4 Idea Bxf1 Rxf1 and castling by hand with Kf2-g1 10...d6 To inhibit e5 and develop the Nb8-d7 11.Bxa6 Qxa6 Preventing 0-0 12.Qe2 Nbd7 13.Qxa6 Rxa6 14.Kd1 With the queens off the board, idea Kc2 to defend the b-pawn 14...Ng4 15.Kc2 Avoiding Nf2+ 15...c4 Idea Nf2-d3 or Nc5-d3 and Rb8 16.Rhe1 Nc5 17.Re2 Nd3 18.h3 Diagram

18...Nf6 [18...Ngf2!] 19.Ne1 Challenging the advanced Nd3 19...Nc5 20.e5 Nfd7 21.Be3 Rb8 22.Bxc5 Nxc5 23.Rd1 Na4 24.Nxa4 Rxa4 25.Ra1 [25.a3! c3 26.Kxc3 Rxf4] 25...Ra5 26.Kc3 Rxd5 27.Kxc4 e6 Holding the Rd5, preparing Rc8 with a mating net! 28.Nf3 Rc8+ 29.Kb3 Rb5+ Walking the king to the a-file 30.Ka4 Rcb8 threat R5b7-a7 mate 31.exd6 R5b7 0-1

May 14, 2004

Benko's Benkos.

In 1967, Pal Benko invented the Benko Gambit. Bored with the idea of memorizing opening systems, Benko sought rather to assemble a set of interrelated ideas and strategies. Although the system has been studied exhaustively for nearly four decades, it remains a vibrant response to 1.d4 and a part of the arsenals of many strong players.

Benko has just published Pal Benko: My Life, Games, and Compositions, a collection of a lifetime in chess, his best games, his endgame compositions, a celebration of a great player's creative legacy.

One chapter, my favorite, discusses the emergence of the Benko Gambit and several of Benko's games in his pet opening system. It will be a long while before I can share all the games and compositions in this 688 page book. For starters, I offer all of Benko's games in which he actually played the Benko Gambit (some on the white side!).

And here, with my annotations, is his first game in this line.

Vukic,M - Benko,P [A58]
Sarajevo, 1967

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 The only way to test Black's set-up [3.dxc5? e6 4.b4 a5 5.bxa5 Na6!; 3.Nf3 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e6] 3...b5 The Benko Gambit, challenging white's central pawn structure by attacking the rear pawn in the chain. 4.cxb5 "winning" a pawn but lessening white's contro l over the key d5-pawn. 4...a6 Offering a trade to activate the Bc8 5.bxa6 [5.e3!?; 5.Nc3!?] 5...Bxa6 A key part of the gambit. Moving the e-pawn will result in Bxf1 and white will have spend time disentangling the kingside 6.Nc3 Natural development, often with the idea of supporting e2-e4 6...d6 7.Nf3 Preferring a kingside fianchetto to the exchange of bishops on f1 7...g6 8.g3 Bg7 Black is down a pawn but his bishops are very strong and the rooks will control the key a- and b-files. 9.Bg2 The bishop is not well placed on g2, placed behind the fixed d5-pawn. 9...0-0 Today, Benko would probably play Nbd7-b6 first to place additional pressure on the d5-pawn priot to castling. 10.0-0 Nbd7 11.Qc2 Possible because black did not keep the queen home with Nb6 11...Qb6 Many options for the queen, including a5, c7, and even a8 (after Ra7) 12.Rd1 Black's inaccurate move order gives white a good game, but imagine having to beat back this new idea. 12...Rfb8 Reaching the ideal opening set-up 13.Rb1 Ne8 Activating the Bg7. The knight will head to c7 where it can support e7-e6 14.Bg5 A common idea tday, an annoying attack on the e7-pawn 14...Qd8 [14...Kf8!?] 15.Bf1 Idea e4 to exchange Black's more active light-squared bishop 15...h6 To drive back the Bg5 and activate the Qd8 16.Bd2 Nc7 17.b3 Nb6 Two attacks on the d5-pawn 18.e4 The bishops will now come off the board. Often, after e4, black will aim a knight towards the key d3-square. 18...Bxf1 19.Rxf1 Qd7 Preparing e6 20.Rfe1 Kh7 21.Kg2 e6 22.dxe6 Nxe6 23.Ne2 To prevent Nd4 23...d5 Counting on his activity to compensate for the gambit pawn 24.Nf4 dxe4 25.Rxe4 Nd4 26.Nxd4 cxd4 27.a4? Diagram

[27.Rbe1] 27...Qb7 With two threats, f5 and Nxa4 28.f3 Nxa4 The key to the gambit, winning back the pawn without giving up the initiative 29.Rbe1 [29.b4] 29...Qxb3 30.Qxb3 Rxb3 An easy win now for Black, though the technique is careful and instructive 31.Re7 Rb2 Coach's third law: "Sometimes the best way to counter a threeat (Rxf7) is with a bigger threat (Rxd2+)" 32.R1e2 Nc3 33.Bxc3 dxc3 34.Rxf7 Raa2 35.Kf1 [35.Rfe7 g5-+] 35...g5-+ 36.Rxg7+ Kxg7 37.Ne6+ Kf6 38.Nd4 Rxe2 39.Nxe2 Ra1+ 0-1

May 13, 2004

The third chapter of my book, the Chess Analyst, focused on a piece sacrifice in the Najdorf Sicilian that became popular during the 1980s. "When Push Comes to Shove" was the title I selected for the article. White plays a very sharp pawn push on move 6 that leads quickly to a piece sac and then another.

I mention all this because one of the proponents of this modern system, GM Alexei Shirov, continues to use this system with great success.

Today, I offer all of the games in Sergei Soloviov's Shirov's One Hundred Wins, exciting, complex games all, as well as one of the two games in the book that involve the Perenyi Variation.

Shirov,A (2718) - Topalov,V (2718) [B81]
It Wijk aan Zee (1), 13.01.2001

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 The Sicilian Najdorf 6.Be3 The fashionable English Attack, idea f3, Qd2, 0-0-0, and g4 6...e6 7.g4 The Perenyi Attack. Like the Keres Attack, with the idea of a quick g4-g5 7...e5 This appears to win the g-pawn straight away 8.Nf5 Blocking Bxg4 8...g6 If the Nf5 moves, Black will win the g-pawn. 9.g5 Here's the point. White sacs the Bf5 for quick development. 9...gxf5 10.exf5 d5 idea d4. If instead Ng8 11.f6 traps the white kingside. 11.Qf3 Or Qe2 [11.gxf6 d4 12.Bc4 Qc7] 11...d4 12.0-0-0 Delaying the loss of a second piece, but black can block or sidestep the pin on the Qd8 12...Nbd7 13.Bd2 Offering a second piece. 13...Qc7 OUt of the line of fire, and defending e5 14.gxf6 dxc3 15.Bxc3 Qc6 The f-pawns will remain weak. Up a piece, Topalov seeks an exchange of queens. [15...Nxf6 Giving white hope for an attack on e5] 16.Qg3 Bh6+ [16...Qxh1 17.Bg2 Bh6+ 18.Bd2 Bxd2+ 19.Kxd2 Qxd1+ 20.Kxd1~~] 17.Kb1 Bf4 [17...Qxh1 Black trails too much in development to go after the Rh1 18.Bxe5 Qe4 19.Bc7] 18.Qd3 Rg8 [18...Nxf6 19.Qd8#] 19.Bh3 Diagram

19...Kd8 idea Kc7-b8 [19...Qxf6!?] 20.Bb4! idea Kc7 Bd6+ 20...Qxf6 21.Qc4 Keeping the king on the center, and idea Rd6 21...Rg5 Preparing Qg7 [21...b5 22.Ba5+ Ke8 23.Qc7] 22.Rd6 Qg7 23.f6 [23.Ba5+ Ke8 24.f6 Rg1+ 25.Bf1] 23...Rg1+ 24.Bf1! [24.Bf1 Qg2 (24...Rxf1+ 25.Rxf1 Qg2 26.Ba5+ Ke8 27.Re6+ fxe6 28.Qxe6+ Kf8 29.Bb4+) 25.Ba5+ Ke8 26.Re6+ fxe6 (26...Kf8 27.Qb4+ Kg8 28.Re8+ Nf8 29.Rxf8#) 27.Qxe6+ Kf8 28.Bb4+] 1-0

May 12, 2004

Many of you may never have heard the name Victor Kupreichik, perhaps the fiercest fighter amoung all Russian GMs. That says a lot when you consider names like Keres and Tal, but Kupreichik's games stand apart. A relentless desire to win, in every game, and enormous creative talent, finding original ideas in positions that others have dismissed.

In 1986, Gene McCormick authored Uncompromising Chess: The Games of Victor Kupreichik, a collection of 82 of his most extraordinary games. Here are all of the games in the book and here is one example, a theoretical duel that explodes in multiple piece sacrifices and an exciting finish.

Kupreichik,V - Bohm,H [C04]
Polanica Zdroj, 1981

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 The Tarrasch variation of the French Defense. No pressure on the d5-pawn, but holding open the option of c3 3...Nc6 [ 3...c5; 3...Nf6] 4.Ngf3 Nf6 5.e5 The usual pawn chain in the French, sealing in the Black Bc8 5...Nd7 6.Nb3 Over-protecting d4 and frustrating c7-c5 6...a5 7.a4 Securing the Nb3 7...b6 To exchange the Bc8-a6 8.Bf4 Stopping counter-play with ...f6 or f5 (exf6) with play against the weak e6-pawn. 8...Be7 9.c3 Securing the long pawn chain 9...Ba6 10.Bxa6 Rxa6 Black has succeeded in exchanging his bad light-squared bishop, but now the Ra6 is misplaced. 11.Nc1 Ncb8 12.h4 c5 13.Rh3 Another typical manoeuver against the French, idea Rg3 13...Nc6 14.Rg3 g6 Weakening the dark squares on f6 and h6 15.h5 A common attacking motif. On gxh5 Rg7 15...Ra7 Trying to defend the 7th rank laterally 16.Ne2 The right square, leaving Qd3-f3 for the queen. 16...Rb7 Initiating a queenside counter-attack with b6-b5 17.Kf1 Walking the king to safety before the attack begins. 17...Qa8 Activating the queen via a6 18.Kg1 Avoiding pins on the a6-f1 diagonal 18...Qa6 19.Ng5 b5 20.Qd3 Developing the queen during the brief moment that Black cannot exchange them. 20...c4 21.Qf3 Eyeing the f7 square 21...bxa4 threat Rxb2 22.Rh3 [ 22.Bc1] 22...Bxg5 Diagram

Expecting white to re-capture with Bg5, but white has his sights set on the black king23.hxg6!? Bxf4 Surely white will re-capture with Qxf4 or Nxf4 24.Rxh7! Threatening Rxh8, and on Rxh7 gxh7, white will gain a second queen. 24...Rf8 25.g7 Threat gxf8(q) 25...Rg8 Surely white will now re-capture on f4 26.Rh8 Threat Rxg8 26...Ne7 Defending the Rg8 27.Qh5 White hasa one-track mind... idea Qh7 27...Bxe5 The unappreciated bishop becomes a marauder. 28.dxe5 Rb8 29.Qh7 Qc8 [ 29...Qa8 30.Rxg8+ Nxg8 31.Qxg8+ Ke7 32.Qh7 Nxe5 33.Nd4~~] 30.f4 Nc5 31.Rxg8+ Nxg8 32.Qxg8+ Ke7 33.Qh7 Material is even, but white's positional superiority remains obvious 33...Qg8 34.Qh6 Eyeing the f6 square 34...Rxb2 35.Ng3 Ne4 [ 35...Kd7 36.Nh5+-] 36.Nxe4 dxe4 37.Rd1 Threat Qf6, Rd8 [ 37.Rd1 Rb8 38.f5 idea 39.f6 Ke8 40.Qh8 38...Ke8 39.Qh8 exf5 40.Qxg8+ Ke7 41.Qxb8] 1-0

May 10-11, 2004

Chess master, chess journalist, and chess composer Richard Reti participated in most of the great tournaments of the 1920s until his early death from Scarlett fever in 1929.

He leaves us with a lifetime worth of wonderful games and, more important perhaps, a range of fabulous compositions and an opening (The Reti) that continues to attract interest at the highest levels.

Here are all of the games in Golombek's Richard Reti's Best Games (Nunn revised the new 1997 alegraic edition) and here is one of the games Reti played in his own opening.

Reti,R - Grau,R [A15]
Buenos Aires, 1924

1.Nf3 The Reti. Wonderful to have an opening named after you. Even better, an opening move with merit. Rather than occupy the center with 1.e4 or 1.d4, to strike at the center with a natural move, awaiting events. 1...Nf6 2.c4 Akin to the modern English, buta formidable weapon in this early era. 2...d5 We weak response, giving white an opportunity to exchange a flank pawn for a center pawn. 3.cxd5 Qxd5 Another mistake, prematurely posting the queen in the center 4.g3 Nc3 would be fine, but Reti is in no rush to attack the misplaced Black queen. 4...c6 Trying to limit the power of the Bg2 5.Nc3 Qa5 6.Bg2 Bf5 7.d3 e6 8.0-0 Nbd7 9.Bd2 With discovered attacks in the air, but 9...Qc7 10.Rc1 9...Be7 10.Nd4 Threatening Nxf5 and Nd5 10...Bg6 11.Nd5 Qd8 12.Nxe7 Capturing black's good bishop 12...Qxe7 13.Qb3 Black has moved his queen 4 times; white, in moving his queen only once, has the more active piece. 13...Qc5 Responding to the threat of Qxb7 by threatening the Nd4 14.Be3 Qb6 Six moves now for the queen, but hoping for Qxb6 to release the pressure. 15.Qa3 Like a knife through the position, preventing ...0-0 15...Qc7 Out of the line of fire of the Be3 16.Rac1 idea Nb5-d6 16...Qe5 Diagram

Eighth move for the queen.17.Bxc6! [17.Bxc6 bxc6 18.Nxc6 Threatening both the Qe5 and Qe7#] 1-0

May 9, 2004

Happy Mother's Day

Boris Spassky had great success on both sides of the Closed Sicilian, always seeming to win the game with white or black by a single tempo. The name of the opening suggests a passive approach, but the games in this line tend to be very sharp and double edged, with white attacking on the kingside and black on the queenside. Black's attack sometimes seems to succeed more quickly, but the presence of the white king on the kingside gives black more to do than just break through the pawn structure.

All the more reason to have a guide. In 1993, Indian IM Vaidyanathan Ravikumar wrote The Closed Sicilian, a collection of 41 games, including eight of Spassky's, that well illustrate the potential of this approach. Of special interest, perhaps, is his additional coverage of the line with 1.e4 c5 2.g3, a favorite of one of my older students.

Here are all of the games reviewed in the book, and here also is one of my efforts with black against the opening.

Paulson,B (2335) - Edwards,J (2550) [B25]
ICCF NAPZ-F M01, 1998

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 The Closed Sicilian 2...Nc6 3.g3 g6 Many move pairs here. 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 d6 6.f4 e6 A key response. Black want to be able to respond to Nf3 with Nge7 7.Nf3 Nge7 Not Nf6 blocking f5 and inviting g4-g5 gaining time against the Nf6 8.0-0 0-0 9.Be3 idea d3-d4 9...Nd4 Idea stopping d4 and Ne7-c6 10.Qd2 Rb8 Removing the rook from the long diagonal and idea b7-b5-b4 11.Nd1 idea c2-c3 11...b5 12.c3 Nxf3+ 13.Bxf3 b4 Black's counter-play is usually on the queenside 14.Nf2 bxc3 15.bxc3 Qa5 Two attacks on c3 16.Rac1 Ba6 Stopping d4 (Bxf1) 17.Rfd1 Qa3 Eyeing the b2 entry square 18.Rc2 Bb5 Idea Ba4 19.Qe1 Now Ba4 Bc1 traps the Qa3 19...f5 20.e5 dxe5 21.fxe5 Nc6 Two attacks on e5 22.d4 cxd4 23.cxd4 Rbc8 Threatening Nxe5xf3 24.Rc3 Diagram

24...Nxe5! 25.Rxa3 Nxf3+ 26.Kh1 Nxe1 27.Rxe1 Rf7 Defending a7 and idea Rfc7 28.Rb1 Bc4 29.Kg1 g5 30.Nd3 Bxd3 31.Rxd3 Rd7 32.Bxg5 Bxd4+ 33.Kf1 e5 34.Rb5 Rdc7 35.Ke2 Rc2+ 36.Rd2 Kf7 37.Rd5 Ke6 38.Ra5 f4 39.Ra6+ Kf5 40.gxf4 Rxd2+ 41.Kxd2 exf4 42.Bh4 Be3+ 43.Kd3 Bb6 44.Ra4 Re8 45.Kd2 f3 46.Bg3 Be3+ 47.Ke1 Rc8 48.Ra5+ Kg4 49.Rd5 Rc1+ 50.Rd1 f2+ 51.Bxf2 Bxf2+ 52.Ke2 Rxd1 53.Kxd1 Kh3 0-1

May 8, 2004

In 1998, English IM Andrew Kinsman produced a highly readable book on an important opening, the Spanish Exchange. After the standard opening moves 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6, Fischer, Timman, Shirov and others have helped to champion a line that rewards understanding, not just rote memorization.

Kinsman provides 60 games and, more important, a thematic introduction that summarizes the main ideas. Most important, of course, is that the endgame often reached in this line is highly favorable to white because black is unable to create a passed pawn, the result of the exchange on move 4!

Here are all of the games in the book including the positions examined in the introduction. And here is an example of an endgame won by white from this variation.

Adorjan,A - Perecz,L [C69]
Hungary, 1975

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 The Spanish Exchange 4...dxc6 White exchanges the light-squared bishop early on to nick the black pawn structure 5.0-0 Threatening Nxe5 [5.Nxe5 Qd4] 5...Bg4 Pinning the Nf3. ...f7-f6 is the more common response 6.h3 h5 7.d3 [7.hxg4?? hxg4 8.Nxe5 Qh4 9.f3 g3] 7...Qf6 Applying more pressure to the pinned Nf3 8.Nbd2 [8.hxg4 hxg4 9.Ng5 Qh6 10.Nh3 Qh4] 8...Ne7 idea Ng3-f4 or h4 9.Re1 Ng6 10.d4 [10.hxg4 hxg4 11.Nh2 Bc5 12.Ndf3 gxf3 13.Nxf3 Rh5 14.Be3 Nf4 15.Bxc5 Qh6-+] 10...Bd6 [10...0-0-0? 11.hxg4 hxg4 12.Nh2 Rxh2 13.Qxg4+ check!] 11.hxg4 hxg4 12.Nh2 [12.Nxe5 Qh4 13.Kf1 Nf4] 12...Rxh2 [12...exd4 13.e5 Bxe5 14.Nxg4+-] 13.Qxg4 Rh4 [13...Qh4!?] 14.Qf5 recommended by Fischer in his 60 Memorable Games 14...Ne7 [14...Rf4 15.Qxf6 Rxf6 16.Nf3 Kd7 17.Bg5+/=] 15.Qxf6 gxf6 16.Nf3 White clearly has the better pawn structure 16...Rh5 17.Be3 Connecting the rooks and aiming to exchange the rooks on h1 after g3 and Kg2. 17...0-0-0 18.g3 Rdh8 19.dxe5 fxe5 20.Kg2 Kd7 Anticipating the endgame, bringing the king into the center 21.Rh1 Rxh1 22.Rxh1 Rxh1 23.Kxh1 The enfgame in the Spanish Exchange favors white because only white can create a passed pawn. 23...c5 24.Kg2 Nc6 25.c3 Stopping Nd4 25...b5 26.Nd2 c4 27.f4 idea f5 and g4-g5 27...exf4 28.gxf4 f6 29.Kg3 Ne7 To prevent Kg4-f5 30.Kg4 Ke6 31.Nf3 c5 32.f5+ Kd7 33.Bf4 Nc6 Aiming for a blockade on e5 34.Bxd6 Kxd6 35.Kf4 b4 Diagram

A typical endgame in the Spanish Exchange. White has all the chances36.e5+! fxe5+ [36...Nxe5 37.Nxe5 fxe5+ 38.Ke4 a5 39.f6 Ke6 40.f7 Kxf7 41.Kxe5+-] 37.Ke4 Any move by the Black king of knight cedes the e5-pawn 37...a5 38.Nd2 a4 39.Nxc4+ Ke7 40.a3 bxa3 41.Nxa3 Kf6 42.Nc4 Ne7 43.Ne3 [43.Ne3 Nc6 44.Nd5+ Kf7 45.Nb6 and black's queenside pawns both fall.] 1-0

May 7, 2004

Aron Nimzovich's first published book? Most might say My System but in fact, earlier in 1925, Nimzovich published Blockade. It was a short work and was quite scarce until my uncle, Dr. Joseph Platz, translated it from the original German into English.

My System has completely overshadowed this little book, but Blockade is quite a gem. I originally found the idea for my five steps to victory right here (page 56), as well as another key concept that I swear by. Using central "holes" not just for knights, but to shuttle all of my pieces from and to. As Nimzovitch put it: "All pieces must be directed towards the entry point (hole) to maintain the pressure and eventually to invade the enemy camp across this point."

Here are all of the games in the book, and here is one of Nimzovitch's own illustrative games.

Nimzowitsch,A - Nilson,A
Copenhagen, 1924


1.Ra5 Identifying the a6 weakness, and fixing it. 1...Kc6 Two attacks on a6, two defense. Black rushes over a third defender to free a rook 2.Kg3 Threatening to infiltrate with Kf4-e5 2...Kb7 To activate the Ra8 3.Rf1 Taking the f-file 3...Kc6 Expecting Rf5, defending the d-pawn 4.Rf5 Re7 Idea Re6 and Kb7, to activate the Ra8 5.h4 The Ra5 may join the game via a1-f1, but black must first cope with the threat of h5-h5 opening the Rf6 entry square. 5...Raa7 6.h5 Idea h6 6...Re6 7.Rf8 Taking the Rf8 entry square, wit he idea of Rb8-b6+ 7...g6 Hoping for counter-play 8.h6 g5 Diagram

idea Rxh69.Rb8 Coach's third law. Sometimes the best way to respond to a threat is with a bigger threat (here Rb6 and Rxb5) 9...Kc7 10.Rbxb5 axb5 Rxh7 +- 10...Rxh6 11.Ra4 Idea Rba5 and b5 11...Rf6 12.Rba5 Two attacks on the backward a6-pawn 12...Kc8 13.Kg4 Fixing the g-pawn 13...h6 14.Ra2 threat b5 ("then and only then attack the weakness with a pawn!") 14...Raf7 15.Rxa6 The queenside pawns will easily decide the game 1-0

May 6, 2004

Yesterday, I gave some tips on fighting against isolated pawns. If only it were that simple. It's complicated enough that GM A. Mikhalchishin and two other authors have provided an impressive tour of the issues related to isolated pawns.

Their 1995 book Isolated Pawn: Theory of the Chess Middlegame examines 200 games and a full range of related issues such as where the pieces belong, attacks on the kingside, transforming the structure, and isolated pawn endgames.

Here are all of the games in the book and here is one example of how the side with the isolated pawn can still claim a significant initiative.

Botvinnik,M - Vidmar,M [D60]
Nottingham Nottingham, 1936

1.c4 e6 2.Nf3 d5 3.d4 Nf6 The Queen's Gambit Declined 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bg5 0-0 6.e3 Nbd7 7.Bd3 c5 8.0-0 cxd4 9.exd4 dxc4 10.Bxc4 Nb6 11.Bb3 Bd7 12.Qd3 Nbd5 13.Ne5 Bc6 14.Rad1 Nb4 Diagram

Moving the Nd5-b4 making the way to exchange the "bad" Bc6 on d5. White's queen is under attack from the Nb4. Botvinnik plans a magnificent attack, based upon his control of e5 and f2-f4-f5 with the Rf1 in support.15.Qh3 Supporting f4-f5 15...Bd5 Exchanging the bad bishop. 16.Nxd5 Nbxd5 Maintaining a piece on d5 to blockade the white d4-pawn 17.f4 launching the kingside attack 17...Rc8 A natural move, placing the rook on the open file, but there are no entry squares at c1, c2, c3, or c4 18.f5 Two attacks upon the e6-pawn 18...exf5 undermining black's support for d5 19.Rxf5 Do you see the threat? 19...Qd6 Diagram

20.Nxf7! Rxf7 [20...Kxf7 21.Bxf6 And the pinned Nd5 will fall.] 21.Bxf6 Bxf6 [21...Nxf6 22.Rxf6 Exposing the Qh3xc8 threat] 22.Rxd5 Qc6 23.Rd6 Black's house is crumbing. Qxd6 meets Qxc8+ 23...Qe8 24.Rd7 winning the Rf7 1-0

May 5, 2004

On the main Chess is Fun instruction site, I take visitors through the five steps to victory. (1) Identify the weakness; (2) Fix the weakness; (3) Attack the weakness with your pieces; (4) that will force your opponent to defend the weakness with his pieces; (5) then AND ONLY THEN attack the weakness with a pawn.

Sounds simple, until you try it. On the Chess is Fun Message board yesterday, I put forth a specific case involving a Black isolated pawn on d5. How to win once we recognize the pawn as the weakness.

I promised to find some real life examples, and here they are. 16 games involving the same theme, the 5 steps to victory against an isolated pawn on d5.

Here's one with some notes. Feel free to pose your questions on the Message Board. You too may drive the content here!

Taxis,H - Winkler [D50]
Wurtemberg, 1988

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 c6 5.cxd5 cxd5 6.e3 Nc6 7.Nf3 Bb4 8.Qb3 Be7 9.Bd3 Bd7 10.0-0 0-0 11.Rac1 Rc8 12.Qd1 Nh5 13.Bxe7 Qxe7 14.Bb1 Nf6 15.Qe2 a6 16.Ne1 Diagram

A typical position in the Queen's Gambit. Black's Bd7 remains bad; to gain activity, black plays ...e516...e5 17.dxe5 Here's the downside. The pawn structure now leaves black with an isolated d5-pawn. 17...Nxe5 18.Rd1 Now the five steps. (1) Identify the weakness (d5) (2) Fix the weakness (White controls the d4-square (3) Attack the weakness with your pieces 18...Bc6 (4) That will require your opponent to defend the weakness 19.Nd3 Rfd8 20.Nxe5 Qxe5 21.Rd4 The weakness is firmly fixed, preparing Rfd1 21...Rd6 22.Rfd1 Three attacks on d5 22...Rcd8 23.Qd3 Four attacks on d5 23...R6d7 Five defenses! 24.Qf5 Qe6 Hoping for Qxe6 when fxe6 solidly defends the d5-pawn 25.Bc2 idea Bb3 25...b5 26.a3 Kf8 27.h3 h6 28.Ne2 Idea Nf4, forcing the Qe6 to move 28...Ke7 29.Nf4 Qxf5 30.Bxf5 Rd6 31.f3 Preventing Ne4 and preparing step 5, attacking the weakness with a pawn 31...g6 32.Bc2 idea Bb3 32...Bb7 33.Bb3 Four attacks on d5 33...g5 34.Ne2 Idea Nc3 and four attacks 34...Ke6 35.Nc3 Four attacks, 5 defenses! 35...Ke5 36.Kf2 Ng8 Idea Ne7 and f5 to prevent e4 37.g3 f5 38.f4+ Ke6 Diagram

Black must maintain the 4th defender.39.e4! fxe4 40.Nxe4 Using the pin from the Bb3 40...Rb6 [40...R6d7 41.Nc5+] 41.Nc5+ Kf6 42.Nxb7 Removing the defenders of the d-pawn 42...Rxb7 43.fxg5+ hxg5 44.Rxd5+- Rf8 45.Rd8 Rb8 46.Rxb8 Rxb8 47.Rd6+ Ke5 48.Rxa6 Kd4 49.Rd6+ Ke5 50.Rg6 Rf8+ 51.Ke2 Nf6 52.Rxg5+ Kd4 53.Rxb5 Re8+ 54.Kf3 Re1 55.Rb4+ Ke5 56.g4 Ne4 57.Rb5+ Kf6 58.h4 Nd2+ 59.Kf2 Rh1 60.h5 Ne4+ 61.Kg2 Re1 62.Rf5+ 1-0

May 3-4, 2004

The toughest task in chess? Probably winning won games. There are only a few grandmasters like Karpov who've made a career out of converting small advantages into victories.

In 1985, GM Eduard Gufeld produced a fascinating manual, Exploiting Small Advantages that offers 80 examples of the kind of careful technique required to achieve consistent results. If you are lucky enough to find this book, you will find gems that do not often appear in databases. I can attest to that because I had to enter many of these positions into ChessBase by hand.

Here are all of the games in the book and here is one interesting example.

Byelov - Tseitlin
USSR, 1979


Look easy? It's not. Black is up a knight for a pawn, but the black king is inactive. 1...Nd3 idea cxd3 and the b-pawn will quickly queen. If he does not capture the Nd3, Ne1xc2 will come quickly 2.Ke6 So white must react actively, capturing the d-pawn and trying to queen the d-pawn. 2...Ne1 3.Kxd6 Nxc2 4.Kc5 [4.Ke5 compare this later in the line] 4...b3 Black will queen first, but is it a win? 5.d6 Diagram

5...Nd4! Wow! The idea is Ne6 stopping the d-pawn. And if KxNd4, the black b-pawn will queen and play Qd1+ winning the new Qd8 6.Kd5 Using the Nd4 as a shield 6...b2 7.d7 b1Q 8.d8Q Qa2+ 9.Kd6 [9.Kxd4 Qd2+ wins the Qd8] 9...Qxa6+ 10.Kd5 Qa2+ 11.Kd6 Qe6+ An excellent illustration of the power of the knight and queen working together 12.Kc5 Qe5+ 13.Qd5 Ne6+ 14.Kc4 Qxd5+ 15.Kxd5 Nc7+ Winning easily, since the king will not be able to capture the a-pawn. 16.Kc6 Kxh4 [16...Kxh4 17.Kxc7 a5] 0-1

May 2, 2004

In 1933, three-time US. Chess Champion I.A. Horowitz founded Chess Review. It soon became one of the world's leading chess magazines and, as you may recall, joined in the 1960s with Chess Life magazine to become the main US chess magazine, Chess Life and Review.

Horowitz's column in Chess Review, Solitaire Chess, was a fixture for decades. In each column, he presented one game, usually a classic encounter, with instructions inviting the reader to play through the game, one move at a time, with a specified number of points for each move. Readers could then compare their scores with others and judge their progress from month to month.

In 1962, Horowitz published a collection of 62 of these columns in a book by the same name, Solitaire Chess.

Here are all of the games in the book and here is one whose finale might well have appeared in Reinfeld's 1001 Brilliant ways to Mate.

Spielmann,R - Honlinger [B15]
match, 1925

1.e4 c6 The Caro Kann defense 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 All standard. 4...Bf5 is the Classical line. 4...Nf6 The Bronstein Larsen. 5.Nxf6 nicks the black pawn structure and offers white a lasting positional advantage. 5.Ng3 This has the merit of preventing the natural Bf5 5...e6 And now the Bc8 will be harder to develop 6.Nf3 To over-protect d4 and control e5, preventing e6-e5 6...c5 Counter-attacking the center and to open a development path for the Bc8 7.Bd3 With the black pawn on d3, the best square for the light-squared bishop. 7...Nc6 [7...cxd4 8.Nxd4 Qxd4 9.Bb5+] 8.dxc5 Bxc5 9.a3 0-0 10.0-0 b6 To develop the Bc8-b7 11.b4 Siezing the opportunity to take the long a1-h8 diagonal. 11...Be7 12.Bb2 Qc7 13.b5 Preparing Ne5 13...Na5 14.Ne5 Bb7 15.Ng4 To strip the black kingside of a key defender 15...Qd8 16.Ne3 [16.Qe2] 16...Nd5?! 17.Qh5 g6 Weakening the dark squares on the kingside, especially h6 and g7. 18.Ng4 idea Nh6 mate 18...Bf6 [18...gxh5 19.Nh6#] 19.Nxf6+ Preserving the Bb2 for the attack 19...Nxf6 20.Qh6 Rc8 21.Rad1 idea Bxg6 21...Qe7 22.Rfe1 Ne8 23.Nf5! Qc5 [23...exf5 24.Rxe7; 23...gxf5 24.Bxf5 f6 25.Bxe6+ Kh8 26.Rd7+-] 24.Re5 [24.Bd4 Qc7 25.Bf6+-] 24...Bd5 Diagram

it's mate in 4!25.Ne7+ Qxe7 [25...Kh8 26.Qxf8#] 26.Qxh7+ Kxh7 27.Rh5+ Kg8 28.Rh8# 1-0

May 1, 2004

The best way to improve your chess tactics? Practice, practice, practice. For years, before every tournament, I used to review the positions in Reinfeld's books just to sharpen my tactical focus.

One of those old standards, 1001 Brilliant Ways to Checkmate offers just that, 1001 positions (with solutions) that will help to improve your ability through a continuing series of thematically linked positions.

The book is divided into 6 chapters, and I have provided ALL of the positions in the book according to the chapter in which they appear. Note that copyright restrictions require that I not provide the solutions. For those you can persevere, buy the book, or plug the positions into a computer. Don't be afraid to buy the book, but I hope that you persevere.

Chapter 1: Queen Sacrifices
Chapter 2: Checkmate without the Queen
Chapter 3: Storming the Castled position
Chapter 4: Harrying the King
Chapter 5: Discovered Check and Double Check
Chapters 6-8: Pawn promotion; A variety of motifs; Composed Problems
And here's one example... A queensac of course!

Position #25
1001 Brilliant Ways to Checkmate


Coach's first law: When your opponent's king cannot move, all you need is check! 1.Qxh6+ [1.Be5 wins, but Black can delay the game with ...Qd6] 1...gxh6 Forced. 2.Be5+ And's here's the check. It would be mate save the the Rf8 can step in for a move. 2...Rf6 3.Bxf6# 1-0

April 30, 2004

Here at Queensac, we adore queen sacrifices. Almost as exciting is the double-rook sac! Yassar Seirawan and Nikolay Minev have produced a compelling book, Take my Rooks!, devoted to this theme. They have found more than 130 games that involve the theme and help us to understand when it works, when it doesn't, and what some players missed along the way.

Here are all of the games in the book and here are two examples. The first is a quick look at the nature of the double rook sacrifice; the second is a battle between two titans that ends quite quickly.

Buis - Barthel
Harlem, 1955


1.Qe2 Qxa1+ There go the rooks 2.Kd2 Qxh1 But white now has nice discovered checks from which to choose. 3.Nd6+ It's mate in two! 3...Kd7 4.Qe8# 1-0

Reti,R - Euwe,M [A83]
Match Amsterdam (2), 1920

1.d4 f5 The Dutch Defense 2.e4 The Staunton Gambit 2...fxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 g6 5.f3 exf3 6.Nxf3 For the pawn, white has a noticeable lead in development. 6...Bg7 7.Bd3 c5 8.d5 And now a space advantage. 8...Qb6 9.Qd2 Qxb2 Bad development and taking a poisoned pawn. 10.Rb1 Nxd5 Diagram

The Nd5 attacks the defender of the Rb111.Nxd5 Throwing caution to the win or, as Seirawan would say, "Go ahead, Take my rooks!" 11...Qxb1+ 12.Kf2 Qxh1 Here at Queensac, we're partial to, well, queen sacs! But the two rooks are the equivalent of a queen, right? 13.Bxe7 [13.Nc7+ Kd8 14.Bxe7+ Kxc7 (14...Kxe7 15.Qg5+ Kd6 (15...Bf6 16.Nd5++-) 16.Qf4+ Kc6 (16...Ke7 17.Nd5+) 17.Nb5+-) 15.Qf4+ Kb6 16.Qd6+ Nc6 17.Qxc5+ Kc7 18.Qd6+ Kb6=] 13...d6 Trying to develop as quickly as possible 14.Bxd6 Nc6 15.Bb5 White's pieces are swarming, and black's underdevelopment is being felt. 15...Bd7 [15...h6 16.Nc7+] 16.Bxc6 [16.Qe2+ Kd8 17.Bxc6 Bxc6 18.Qe7+ Kc8 19.Qc7#] 16...bxc6 17.Qe2+ [17.Qe2+ Kf7 (17...Kd8 18.Bc7+ Kc8 19.Qa6#) 18.Ng5+ Kg8 19.Ne7+ Kf8 20.Nf5+ Kg8 21.Qc4+] 1-0

April 29, 2004

In 1965, Vladimir Vukovic authored perhaps the premier manual on tactics, The Art of Attack in Chess. More than just a presentation on how to attack a castled king, he classifies attacks and focuses upon grandmaster games to illustrate his points. He provides a special section on the games of Capablanca and Alekhine, a real treat for those who have not yet seen these games.

The book is available in a new edition, which fortunately makes it available to the next generation of chess players. Here are all of the games and positions in the book and here is just one example, a nice attack conducted by Yugoslavian GM S. Gligoric.

Gligoric,S (2470) - Petrosian,T (2675) [A56]
Belgrade, 1954

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 The Benoni 3.d5 e5 ...b5 would be the Benko Gambit 4.Nc3 d6 In this line, the center closes and the d6 pawn is backward and weak, but black has potential counterplay with both ...b5 and ...f5 5.e4 Nbd7 6.Nf3 a6 To support ...b5 7.Be2 Be7 8.0-0 0-0 9.Ne1 Ne8 To prepare ...f5 10.Nd3 Nc7 11.a4 To prevent ...b5 11...Rb8 12.Be3 Bg5 To exchange the bad dark-quared bishop 13.Qd2 Bxe3 14.Qxe3 h6 15.a5 b5 16.axb6 Nxb6 17.b3 Ra8 18.f4 exf4 19.Qxf4 The e5-square is key here. Will white be able to play e4-e5, or will black be able to get a knight to the e5-square 19...f6 Preventing e5 20.Nd1 Qe7 21.Ne3 g5 Creating holes on the kingside, notably f5, g6, and h5 22.Nf5 Forcing black to exchange the good light-squared bishop 22...Bxf5 23.Qxf5 Qh7 Hoping to exchange the queens in order to protect the weak light-squares on the kingside. 24.Qg4 Idea Rf5 and Raf1 24...Rae8 25.Rf5 Nd7 idea Ne5 26.Raf1 Re7 27.b4 idea cxb4 28.c5 dxc5 29.d6 27...cxb4 28.c5 threat cxd6 28...h5 [28...dxc5 29.d6 wins a [iece] 29.Qg3 Rxe4 30.c6! Rxe2 31.Qxd6 Nb5 32.Qxb4 The connected passed pawns provide full compensation for the piece 32...Nb8 Diagram

33.Rxg5+ Kf7 34.Rxf6+ Kxf6 35.Qxf8+ Kxg5 36.h4+ 1-0

April 28, 2004

Five time Russian champion Rashid Nezhmetdinov sustained his standing atop the world of chess by attacking... always attacking. As the story goes, he defeated Mikhail Tal so many times that Tal hired him as his trainer.

In 2000, Thinkers' Press published Russian Correspondence master Alex Piskin's Super Nezh: Chess Assassin, a collection of 100 well annotated games from this Russian champion previously little known in the west. The book is full of surprises (Nezh invented the poisoned pawn variation of the Najdorf!) and many ferocious attacks. Unfortunately, the book is now out of print, but it shows up used at an affordable price from time-to-time.

Here are all of the games in the book and here is, perhaps, Super Nezh's most famous win.

Polugaevsky,L (2608) - Nezhmetdinov,R (2523) [A53]
Sochi Sochi, 1958

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nc3 e5 Avoiding the main lines, but allowing an early queen-exchange after d4xe5 4.e4 Perhaps Nf3 to sustain the tension in the center 4...exd4 5.Qxd4 Nc6 Gaining time on the queen 6.Qd2 Blocking the development of the Bc1, but overprotecting the Nc3 and preparing b3 and Bb3 6...g6 7.b3 Bg7 8.Bb2 0-0 9.Bd3 idea Nge2 9...Ng4 idea Nge5 and f5 or Qh4 10.Nge2 Qh4 threat Qxf2. The game now complicates very quickly 11.Ng3 Nge5 [11...Nxh2 traps the Nh2; 11...Nce5!? 12.Bc2 Bh6 13.f4] 12.0-0 [12.Bc2 Nd4 13.Qxd4 Nf3+] 12...f5 [The author gives 12...Ng4 13.h3 Nxf2 14.Qxf2 Bd4 15.Qxd4 Nxd4 16.Nd5] 13.f3 Bh6 14.Qd1 f4 [14...Be3+ 15.Kh1 f4 16.Nge2 Nb4] 15.Nge2 g5 16.Nd5 g4 Ignoring Nxc7 17.g3 [17.Nxc7 g3 18.h3 Bxh3 19.gxh3 Qxh3-+] 17...fxg3 18.hxg3 Qh3 19.f4 [19.fxg4 Bxg4-+] 19...Be6 [19...Nf3+ 20.Kf2 Qh2+ 21.Ke3 when white is fine] 20.Bc2 [20.fxe5 Bxd5 21.exd5 Be3+; 20.Bb1!? Rf7] 20...Rf7 21.Kf2 Qh2+ 22.Ke3 Bxd5 23.cxd5 [23.Qxd5 Nb4 24.Qd2 Bxf4+ 25.gxf4 Qh3+ 26.Kf2 g3+-+] 23...Nb4 24.Rh1 Diagram

24...Rxf4 25.Rxh2 [25.gxf4 Bxf4+ 26.Nxf4 Nxc2+ 27.Qxc2 Qxc2-+] 25...Rf3+ "Sunk in thought for a long time, I understood that I was to say goodbye to all hope andthat I was losing a game that would be spread all over the world" Polugaevsky 26.Kd4 Bg7! [26...c5+ 27.dxc6 b5-+ 28.Bd3 Nexc6+ 29.Kc3 Bg7+ 30.Kd2 Rxd3+-+] 27.a4 c5+ 28.dxc6 bxc6 29.Bd3 Nexd3+ 30.Kc4 [30.e5 Bxe5+ 31.Kc4 (31.Ke4 d5#) 31...d5#] 30...d5+ 31.exd5 cxd5+ 32.Kb5 Rb8+ 33.Ka5 Nc6+ [33...Nc6+ 34.Ka6 Nc5#] 0-1

April 26-7, 2004

Chess lessons occupy my weekend mornings. For years, I've shared my own games and ideas and, of course, reviewed my students' games. During the past year, I've introduced something fun into the agenda. Thanks to the Internet Chess Club, my students and I watch live Grandmaster games and to predict their moves and plans. I know that many players join the ICC to play. The great benefit, in my view, is the ability to watch these games as they are played.

Today, we were following some of the games live from the Russian Chess league. Apart from wtching some interesting chess, it's also quite instructive to observe how the strongest players allocate their time. While many of us finish our games early, they are aware that even the smallest early inaccuracies can cost the full point. So it's quite common to see just 20 or so moves fill most of the time control.

Today's game was no exception, but I call your attention to the diagram. That position dwelled on our screen for about 30 minutes. I wish that I could tell you that my students and I figured out all the complications. The fact is, I wound up devoting a few afternoon hours to the task and, indeed, there were a more than a few surprises that we had missed.

I recommend that you set up a diagram position on the board, turn off the TV, and write down your analysis. You may find, as my students have, that the exercise builds chess muscles!

Grishuk - Geller [B48]
Moscow, 2004

1.e4 c5 The Sicilian Defense 2.Nf3 Preparing 3.d4 2...e6 Popular defense, often leading to the Kan, Paulsen, or Scheveningen 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 ...a6 is the Kan. 5.Nc3 Qc7 The usual home for the queen, though usually prepared first with ...a6. Now on Nb5, the queen tucks to b8 and then gains time on the Nb5 with ...a6 6.Be3 a6 7.Qd2 Uncommon and looks awkward. Without having played...d6, black can still respond with Nf6 and Bb4going after the white e4-pawn 7...Nf6 8.0-0-0 Bb4 Threatening the e-pawn 9.f3 Ne5 [9...d5?! 10.a3 Bxc3 11.Qxc3 dxe4 12.Nxc6 Qxc6 13.Qe5 exf3 14.Bg5 Bd7 (14...fxg2 15.Bxf6 Bd7 (15...gxh1Q 16.Rd8#) 16.Bxg2 Qxg2 17.Rhg1 Qf2 18.Bxg7 Rc8 (18...Rg8 19.Qc7+-) 19.Qe4+/-) ] 10.Nb3 b5 idea Bb7 11.Qe1 threat Nxb5 because BxQ is now NOT check [11.Kb1 Be7 12.Qf2 Rb8 13.g4 h6 14.h4 d6 15.Rg1 g5 16.Rh1 Rg8 17.hxg5 hxg5 18.Ba7 Rb7 19.Bd4 Bd7 20.Qg3 b4 21.Ne2 Nc4 22.Nec1 Bb5 23.Bxc4 Bxc4 24.Nd2 e5 25.Nxc4 Qxc4 26.b3 Qc6 27.Bb2 a5 28.Qe1 a4 29.Nd3 Qb5 30.Qd2 Nd7 31.Rh7 Nf8 32.Rh6 Ng6 33.Qh2 Rc7 34.Rh7 Bf6 35.Qd2 Rb7 36.Ne1 Be7 37.Ng2 Nf4 38.Ne3 axb3 39.cxb3 Ra7 40.Nf5 Ra6 41.Rc1 Qa5 42.Ba1 Ra8 43.Rc6 Nd3 44.a4 Nc5 45.Qd5 Ne6 46.Rc8+ 1-0 Bauer,C-Skripchenko Lautier,A/Aix les Bains 2003/CBM 97 (46)] 11...Be7 [11...Bxc3 12.bxc3 Nc4 13.Bc5 With excellent play on the dark squares as compensation for the pawn structure; 11...Bb7 12.Nxb5 axb5 13.Qxb4] 12.f4 Nc4 13.e5 Without the black bishop on b7, the Nf6 cannot play to d5 13...Ng4 14.Bd4 Overprotecting the key e5-pawn and threatening h3. 14...f5 idea of lessing the power of the Bd4 and bringing the Ng4-h6-f7 15.h3 Nh6 Of course, the knight on the rim is dim. Certainly true here. The knight stays on h6 for the rest of the game 16.Qf2 Dominating the queenside dark-squares 16...Bb7 Seeking counrter-play along the long diagonal 17.Bxc4 bxc4 [17...Qxc4 18.Na5] 18.Bb6 Qc6 19.Na5 The Na5 and Nc3 control the diagonal 19...Qxg2 [19...Qc8 20.Rd4+/-] 20.Qd4 threat Qxd7 and Rhg1xg7 20...Bc8 Creating a safety square on b7 for the nearly trapped Qg2 21.Bc5 Trading white's "bad" dark-squared bishop for black's good bishop. 21...Bxc5 22.Qxc5 threat Rg1xg7 and Qe7 22...Kf7 Diagram

White to move and win... what do you think of Rg1xg7 and Qe7+23.Qe3!? first stealing the f3 escape square. Not the prettiest win, but it's solid [23.Rdg1?! Qf3 24.Rxg7+? Kxg7 25.Qe7+ Kg8! (25...Nf7 26.Rg1+ Kh6 27.Qf6+ Kh5 28.Rg5+ Kh4 29.Rg4+ Kxh3 30.Qh4#) 26.Rg1+ (26.Qg5+ Kf7 27.Qf6+ Kg8=) 26...Ng4 27.Rxg4+ (27.hxg4 Qe3+-+) 27...fxg4 28.Qg5+=; 23.Rhg1! Qxh3 (23...Qf3 24.Nd5 The reason for maintaining the rook on d1 24...exd5 25.e6+ dxe6 (25...Kxe6 26.Rge1+ Kf6 27.Qe7+ Kg6 28.Qg5+ Kf7 29.Re7+ Kf8 30.Qxg7#) 26.Qc7+ Ke8 27.Rxg7+-) 24.Nd5!+- exd5 (24...Re8 25.Nc7; 24...Ng8 25.Nb6) 25.Qxd5+ Kf8 26.Qxa8] 23...Rb8 Creating "luft" for the queen on a8 24.Rhg1 Qa8 25.Nxc4 threat Nd6, All of black's pieces are out-of-play 25...Rf8 26.Nd6+ Kg8 [26...Ke7 27.Rxg7++-] 27.Rxg7+! [27.Rxg7+ Kxg7 28.Rg1+ Kh8 29.Qg3 Rg8 30.Qxg8+ Nxg8 31.Nf7#] 1-0

April 25, 2004

The most exciting defense for black? Thanks to adherants like Bobby Fischer and Lev Polugaevsky, the Sicilian Najdorf might get the most votes. It certainly remains at the cutting edge of opening theory.

There are many books on the Najdorf. Today, I focus on one, a 1993 effort by Danny King Winning with the Najdorf. He reviews all of the mian lines in 61 well annotated games played between the early 1940s and the mid 1990s.

He includes a few of his own games, but the majority are highly instructive examples such as the following

Ader - Fischer [B99]
Santiago Santiago, 1959

1.e4 c5 The Sicilian Defense 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 Nf6 attacks the e-pawn 5.Nc3 Defending the pawn. The sequence prohibits c2-c4 and the Maroczy bind (pawns on c4 and e4). 5...a6 The Najdorf variation. 6.Bg5 Fischer tried many different moves here, but used mostly Bc4 and Bg5 6...e6 idea Be7 7.f4 idea Qf3 7...Be7 8.Qf3 Qc7 9.0-0-0 All standard stuff 9...Nbd7 10.f5 More common is g2-g4, Bxf6 and g5 10...e5 A normal reaction. Black creates a hole on d5, but the f5-pawn now blocks the normal Nf5 11.Nb3 b5 idea b4 and Bb7 with pressure upon the fixed e4-pawn. 12.a3 To prevent b4, but a3 weakens the queenside. 12...Bb7 Two attacks upon e4 13.h4 Rc8 Delaying ...0-0, which would give white a target for the attack. Black is preparing the ...d5 break and stops Nd5 (Qxc2#) 14.Bd3 Over-protecting both c2 and e4 14...h5! A lovely move, stopping g2-g4 and, in fact, stealing the g4 square for the Nf6 15.Kb1 Nb6 Idea Nc4xb2 and Qxc3 16.Nd2 Trying to stop Nc4 16...Ng4 Trading the bad Be7 for white's good Bg5 17.Bxe7 Qxe7 idea Rxc3! 18.Nf1 Diagram

18...Rxc3! 19.bxc3 d5 threat Qxa3 20.Qe2 0-0 Bringing the rook to the c-file and securing the king. 21.Bxb5 desparation 21...axb5 22.Qxb5 Nc4 Holding all material and threatening both Nf2 and Nxa3 23.Qb4 Stopping the biggest threat, but offering a path to simplification 23...Qxb4+ 24.cxb4 Nf2 25.Ng3 Nxa3+ 26.Kb2 Nc4+ 27.Kb3 Ne3 Marvelous technique 28.Rd2 Nxh1 29.Nxh1 dxe4 A full piece ahead and with the initiative 30.Ng3 Bd5+ 31.Ka4 Ra8+ 32.Kb5 Rb8+ 33.Kc5 Rc8+ 34.Kd6 Nc4+ [34...Bb7] 35.Kd7 Nxd2 36.Kxc8 Bc4 The white pawns cannot safely advance, and the advance of the black e-pawn will win the knight. 0-1

April 24, 2004

As a correspondence chess player, I'm accustomed to writing out pages and pages of analysis before I mail a move. German GM Robert Huebner rose quickly through the ranks in the 1970s through steadfast devotion to thorough analysis over-the-board. When ChessBase was in version 4.0, there was a limit to the amount of analysis that one could place inside a game. They set it quite high, expecting that no normal players would hit it. I did regularly, requiring that I split my games into parts. So too with Huebner, whose detailed analysis is legend.

In 1996, Huebner authored a memorable book, 25 Annotated Games. That may sound like a thin book, but those 25 games occupy 413 dense pages (with more diagrams within the analysis than within the game scores)! The analysis is detailed and comprehensive, a real joy to those who demand proof or just enjoy chess as science.

Here are all of the games in the book and here are my rather paltry annotations of one of the games. I hope that you get some sense of what in store to those who own this treasure.

Huebner,R - Visier Segovia,F [B89]
Spain, 1974

1.e4 c5 The Sicilian Defense 2.Nf3 e6 3.Nc3 A frequent move, measuring black's intentions. White is unlikely to play a Closed varaition with the Nf3 blocking f2-f4 3...Nc6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Back to a main line... Black can choose among ...a6, ...Qc7, and ...d6 5...d6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Bc4 Transposing to the Sozin Sicilian. The more usual move order is: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Be3 7...Be7 8.Qe2 The Velimirovic attack 8...a6 9.0-0-0 Qc7 10.Bb3 All known and book 10...0-0 And an interesting choice now for white. If 11.g4, black plays Nxd4 when the natural Bxd4 fails to e6-e5. So white would have to play 11.g4 Nxd4 12.Rxd4 e5 13.Rc4. Better to prepare g4 with... 11.Rhg1 Na5 12.g4 b5 13.g5 Nxb3+ 14.axb3 Nd7 Again, all well known to theory. Huebner offers just a half page to the first 14 moves, and 26 pages to last 13 moves! 15.Rg3 There's much to learn from Huebner's method. First, analyze the key candidate moves 15.Nf5 and 15.f4... not necessarily to play them, but to find out why they may not yet work. And then play the moves that help to set them up. 15...Bb7 16.f4 [16.Qh5 Rfe8 17.Rh3 Nf8] 16...b4 Diagram

17.Nd5 Offering the knight to open lines and the f5 square for the attack upon the kingside 17...exd5 18.Nf5 threat Nxe7 18...Nc5 [18...Rfe8 when Huener planned 19.Nxg7 with "head-splitting" complications] 19.Bd4 Two pages of analysis on the alternatives, Qh5, Rh3, and Nxg7 19...Nxe4 20.Nxg7 or Rh3 20...f6 Trying to block the Bd4, but now weakening e6 and g6 [20...Nxg3 21.hxg3 f6 22.Nf5] 21.gxf6 Nxg3 Diagram

22.Qg4 [22.Qe6+ Rf7 23.hxg3 Bxf6 24.Bxf6 Rc8-+] 22...Ne2+ 23.Kb1 [23.Qxe2 Bxf6-+] 23...Bc8 24.Nf5+ Kf7 [24...Kh8 25.Qg7#] 25.Qh5+ Ke6 [25...Kg8 26.f7+ Rxf7 27.Nh6+ Kf8 28.Qxf7#] 26.fxe7 Bd7 27.exf8N+ [27.Qxe2+ Kxf5 (27...Kf7 28.Qh5+ Ke6 29.Re1#) 28.Qd3+ Ke6 29.Re1+ Kf7 30.Qxh7+ Ke8 31.exf8Q+ Kxf8 32.Qg7#; 27.exf8N+ Rxf8 28.Qxe2+ Kxf5 29.Qd3+ Kxf4 30.Qg3+ Ke4 31.Re1+ Kf5 (31...Kxd4 32.Qe3#) 32.Rf1+ Ke4 33.Qe3#] 1-0

April 23, 2004

Most books on chess openings have a bias towards one side or another. The bias is natural because players tend to play the opening as white or black but rarely both.

An exception is The Caro Kann in Black and White by Anatoly Karpov and Alexander Beliavsky. Beliavsky authored the first half of the book, looking at the opening from the white perspective. Karpov takes on the black view in the the second half. Again, a game perspective, and a refreshing balance.

Of course, there's much to wonder about here. I get the impression, hard to prove, that both players have held back on the best strategies to defeat their pet lines, but the games are well annotated and worth your attention.

Here are all of the games in the book and here are my annotations to the last game, a nice theoretical novelty that Karpov had prepared for Kasparov but unleashed instead on Kamsky.

Kamsky - Karpov [B17]
Dortmund, 1993

1.e4 c6 The Caro-Kann Defense 2.d4 d5 Counter-attacking as in the French, but here, avoiding a bad Bc8 by not having played e6 3.Nd2 Avoiding Nc3 when black has the additional option of playing g6 and Bg7. The fianchetto does not work well here because white can respond with c2-c3 3...dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 A solid variation, preparing rather than playing Ngf6 5.Ng5 Sharp, third move for the knight but an ideal post. ...h6 Ne6! 5...Ngf6 [5...h6 6.Ne6 fxe6 7.Qh5+ g6 8.Qxg6#] 6.Bd3 idea Qe2 and 0-0 6...e6 7.N1f3 Guarding the d4-pawn and eyeing e5 7...Bd6 8.Qe2 h6 9.Ne4 Nxe4 10.Qxe4 Nf6 11.Qh4 Diagram

11...Ke7 Karpov had prepared this five years before for his match against Kasparov. Black's position comes alive with the idea of g7-g5 12.Ne5 Sacrificing a pawn for play against the exposed king 12...Bxe5 13.dxe5 Qa5+ Winning the e-pawn 14.c3 Qxe5+ 15.Be3 b6 16.0-0-0 For the pawn, white has the two bishops and activity. 16...g5 17.Qa4 c5 18.Rhe1 Gladly offering the h-pawn 18...Bd7 19.Qa3 Rhd8 20.g3 [Karpov gives 20.f4 gxf4 21.Bd4 Qg5 22.Re5 Qh4 23.g3 fxg3 24.hxg3 Qxg3 25.Rxc5 bxc5 26.Qxc5+ Ke8 27.Bxf6 Qf4+] 20...Qc7 consolidating. Karpov is a master of defense 21.Bd4 Tying the Ke7 to the defense of the Nf6 21...Be8 22.Kb1 Rd5 23.f4 Rad8 24.Bc2 R5d6 25.Bxf6+ [25.Be5 Rxd1+ 26.Bxd1 Qb7; 25.fxg5 hxg5 26.Be3 Rxd1+ 27.Bxd1 Ne4] 25...Kxf6 26.fxg5+ hxg5 27.Rxd6 Rxd6 28.c4 Bringing the queen back into play 28...Ke7 29.Qe3 f6 30.h4 Offering a draw, but white's compensation for the pawn has declined. White no longer has the two bishops, black remains a pawn to the good, and the Ke7 has places to hide 30...gxh4 31.gxh4 Qd7 32.Qh6 e5 [32...Rd2] 33.h5 Qg4 34.Qh7+ Kd8 [34...Bf7 35.Bg6 Rd1+ 36.Kc2 Rxe1 37.Qxf7+ Kd6 38.Qxf6+ Kc7 39.Qg7+=] 35.h6 Rd2 36.Qf5 [36.Qxa7] 36...Qxf5 37.Bxf5 Bd7 38.Bg6 [38.Kc1!] 38...Rh2 39.h7 Ke7 40.Bd3 Be6 41.Rg1 f5 42.Rg7+ Kf6 43.Rxa7 e4 Material is even here, but black's connected passers decide the game 44.Be2 f4 45.b3 f3 46.Bd1 Bf5 47.Kc1 Bxh7 48.Rb7 Ke5 49.Rxb6 Rxa2 0-1

April 22, 2004

Just how bad are bad bishops? And are all bad bishops equally bad? These are some of the questions explored in a 1989 Thinkers' Press book Strategical Themes by Senior Master Tom Unger.

I adore books that focus on themes, and this book has several: Bad Bishops, Double Fianchettos, central pawn rollers, and centralization. The book provides a good discussion on each theme and, as important, useful examples to drive the points home.

I offer all of the games in the book as well as an instructive example from the section on bad bishops. As you'll see, some bad bishops are worse than others.

Pilnik,H - Geller,E [B59]
Interzonal tournament Goteborg SWE (15), 08.1955

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.0-0 0-0 9.Be3 Be6 Threatening ...d5 10.Bf3 a5 11.Nd5 Bxd5 12.exd5 Nb8 13.c4? Once the Nb8 develops to control c5, d4-d5 will not be playable. White needed to try a4 with the idea of re-locating the Bf3 to b5. 13...Na6 14.Bd2 b6 15.Bc3 Nc5 16.Nxc5 bxc5 Diagram

Here's the position from which Unger starts. The first question is which bishop is worse, the white Bf3 or the black Be717.Qe1 The answer lies in the pawn structure. The pawns on c4 and d5 are FIXED on white squares, but the black pawn on e5 will be mobile once black succeeds in playing f7-f5 17...Nd7 18.Bd1 Trying to place the bishop more actively on the a4-e8 diagonal 18...a4 Taking that diagonal away, leaving only the b1-h7 diagonal. 19.Bc2 f5 And shutting that down too, with the additional idea of Bf6 and e5-e4 20.Rd1 g6 21.Qe2 Bf6 idea e4 22.f3 Diagram

Trying to stop e422...e4! 23.Bxf6 Qxf6 threat Qxb2 24.fxe4 f4 With Ne5 coming to seal in the Bc2 25.Rf2 Ne5 26.Rdf1 Qh4 Black has all the chances, with ideas of g5 and activating the rooks on the kingside 27.Bd1 Rf7 28.Qc2 g5 Even white's queen is less active than black's 29.Qc3 Raf8 idea g5-g4 30.h3 h5 31.Be2 g4 32.Rxf4 relying on a g2-g3 fork 32...Rxf4 33.Rxf4 Rxf4 34.g3 Nf3+ Blocking the Qc3's support of the g3-pawn [34...Qxh3 35.gxf4 g3-+ 36.Qe3 Qh2+ 37.Kf1 g2+ 38.Ke1 g1Q+] 35.Kf2 Qxh3 36.gxf4 White must recover the material. 36...g3+ 37.Kxf3 [37.Ke3 g2-+] 37...g2+ 38.Kf2 Qh2 the g2-pawn will queen 0-1

April 21, 2004

You don't become world champion without mastering the endgame. That's probably fair to say, and Botvinnik's On the End Game gives a pretty fair view of what it takes. Certainly experience, but also a fair imagination and a strong dose of creativity.

The book contains 25 of Botvinnik's endgames against some of the strongest players of the day, Alekhine, Keres, Bronstein, Fischer, Larsen, Portisch, Najdorf, Taimanov, and many others. The plans and more orders are crisp, well annotated, and worth your time.

Here are all 25 games in the book. Where I could find them, I included the full game score rather than just the endgame so that you'll have a chance to see the transition to these interesting endgames.

Finally, here is the game of the day, one of the endgames in the book. There are undoubtedly several winning ideas here, but I think that you will find it interesting to see how Botvinnik planned out the win. Before you play it through, take five minutes to see what ideas you can assemble.

Botvinnik,M - Thomas,G [D45]
Nottingham (11), 1936

1.c4 e6 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nc3 d5 4.d4 Nbd7 5.e3 a6 6.c5 c6 7.Na4 Ne4 8.Bd3 e5 9.Nd2 Nxd2 10.Bxd2 e4 11.Be2 Be7 12.0-0 0-0 13.f3 f5 14.fxe4 fxe4 15.Rxf8+ Qxf8 16.Ba5 Nf6 17.Bc7 Be6 18.Qb3 Bg4 19.Bxg4 Nxg4 20.Bf4 Qf7 21.h3 Bh4 22.hxg4 g5 23.g3 gxf4 24.gxh4 Qe6 25.Kh2 Rf8 26.Rf1 f3 27.Qc2 Kh8 28.Qf2 Qxg4 29.Rg1 Qd7 30.Nc3 Rf6 31.Nd1 Qe7 32.Qg3 Rg6 33.Qb8+ Kg7 34.Rxg6+ Kxg6 35.Kg3 Qg7 36.Kh2 Kh5 37.Qg3 Qg4 38.Qxg4+ Kxg4 39.Nf2+ Kxh4 Diagram

40.b4 It's easy to conclude that white in winning. But what's the best plan? 40...Kg5 41.Kg3 Capturing space, but the real idea is to drive the black queen to the queenside in order to capture the h-pawn first and even the f-pawn! 41...Kf5 42.Nh3 Kf6 43.a4 With the idea of b5 once the knight reaches f4 (to place pressure upon the d5-pawn) 43...Kf5 44.Nf4 Kf6 45.b5 axb5 46.axb5 Here's the first point: cxb5? meets Nxd5 46...Ke7 47.b6 A wonderful conception that Botvinnik conceived on move 40. Here. the end of phase one... fixing the b7-weakness. 47...Kd7 The king wiull now have to defend the black b-pawn against the coming threat of Nd6 48.Nh5 but first, the h-pawn must go 48...Kd8 [48...Ke7 49.Ng7 Kd7 50.Nf5 Kc8 51.Nd6+ Kb8 52.Ne8 Kc8 53.Nf6 as in the game] 49.Nf6 h6 50.Ng4 h5 51.Nf2 Step two has been completed... white willl now win the h-pawn. 51...Kd7 52.Kh4 Kd8 53.Kxh5 Ke7 54.Kg4 Ke6 55.Kg3 Step three complete. Holding the f-pawn with the king to activate the knight. 55...Kd7 56.Nh3 Kd8 57.Nf4 Diagram

[Fine gives 57.Ng5 Ke7 58.Nxf3 exf3 59.Kxf3 as also winnning.] 57...Kd7 58.Nh5 Ke6 59.Ng7+ Kd7 60.Nf5 Kc8 61.Nd6+ Kb8 Step 4 complete. Driving the king back to the queenside to defend the b-pawn. 62.Nf5 Permitting the rapid advance of the king. 62...Kc8 63.Kf4 f3-f2 meets Ng3-f1 and the f-pawn will fall. 63...Kb8 64.Ke5 Kc8 65.Ke6 Kb8 66.Kd7 Ka8 67.Ng3 Kb8 68.Nf1 Ka8 69.Kc8 zugswang. The f-pawn must now move, and the white king can return to grab it. [69.Kc8 f2 70.Kd7 Kb8 71.Ke6] 1-0

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