Friday, December 31, 2010

Material Exchange

Chess pieces have inherent values, and during material exchange, the captured pieces must be more or less equal in worth. However, in certain cases, material may be exchanged for quality game, facilitated attack, or speedy development.  In the following game, the Queen is exchanged for 3 minor pieces, an exemplary demonstration of such theory.

Amsterdam, 1940

1. d4, Nf6
2. c4, g6
3. Nc3, d5
4. Nf3, Bg7
5. Qb3, dxc4
6. Qxc4, 0-0
7. e4, b6
8. e5, Be6

Black attacks the Queen in order to plant his Knight at d5.  But White refuses to be driven away.

9. exf6!! ....

White has correctly calculated that his Queen is worth the exchange.

9. .... Bxc4
10. fxg7, Kxg7
11. Bxc4 ....

The smoke has cleared and Black now realizes that he exchanged a Knight and two Bishops for the opponent's Queen.  A bad bargain.

11. .... Nc6
12. Be3, Nb4

A wasteful maneuver on the part of Black. Now White gains time.

13. 0-0, Nc2
14. Rad1, Nxe3
15. fxe3, c5
16. Ng5!! ....

White suddenly threatens 17. Rxf7 Rxf7, 18. Ne6+ etc.

16. .... e6

If 16....Qe8, a likely continuation could be 17. dxc5 bxc5, 18. Bb5 Qc8, 19. Rd7 and the pressure would be too much for Black.

17. Rxf7  Resigns

White threatens Nxe6 double-check!

All is lost for Black.  If 17.....Kh6, then 18. Rxh7+ Kxg5, 19. h4+ Kg4, 20. Be2+ Kg3, 21. Ne4 mate.  Superb play!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Opening Tricks and Traps

Opening traps are fun to watch -- and much more fun to use.  The popularity of a chess opening trick lies in the fact that it involves sneaky play, not necessarily brilliancy.  The victim is usually persuaded to abandon common sense principles of play and take the bait.

It is therefore important that every serious chess player be aware of these opening tricks for they abound in different forms and combination, and even known to victimize chess masters.  Chess opening is an art by itself, and while not all artists are chess players, all chess players are artists.

To see various opening tricks and traps, please visit Chess Opening Tricks.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Castle Early Or You'll Be Sorry

Sometimes a player becomes so engrossed in his opening play that he forgets to castle. Such delay could be costly. The following game effectively demonstrates this important aspect of chess play.  See also The Importance of Castling.

London, 1927

1. Nf3, Nf6
2. d4, g6
3. Nc3, d5
4. Bf4, Nh5

Black attempts to exchange a Knight for a Bishop. While this has theoretical basis, the move provokes a weakness in Black's pawn structure. Instead, 4....c6 or 4.....Bg7 should have been played.

5. Be5! ....

Some players may see this move as a waste of time, but it is instrumental in creating the weakness as mentioned in the previous paragraph.

5. .... f6
6. Bg3, Nxg3
7. hxg3 ....

The open h-file is advantageous to White.

7. .... Bg7
8. e3, c6
9. Bd3, e5?

Not having castled yet, this move is ill-timed.

10. Rxh7!!, Kf7?

If Black replies with 10....Rxh7, then White gains material with 11. Bxg6.

Black's best reply is 10....e4, though White still wins with 11. Rxg7 exd3, 12. Qxd3 Bf5, 13. e4 Kf8 (if 13....dxe4, 14. Qc4 wins), 14. exf5 Rh1+, 15. Kd2 Rxa1, 16. Rxb7 Kg8, 17. fxg6 etc.

11. Bxg6+ ....

The fireworks begin.

11. .... Kxg6
12. Nxe5!! ....

Outstanding! If 12.....Kxh7, 13. Qh5+ Kg8, 14. Qf7+ Kh7, 15. 0-0-0 and mate follows.

12. .... fxe5
13. Qh5+, Kf6
14. Qxe5+, Kf7

If 14....Kg6, 15. Qxg7+ Kf5, 16. g4+ Ke6, 17. Qe5 mate.

15. Qxg7+, Resigns

If 15....Ke6, then 16. Qe5 mate. Nothing short of elegant!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Play for Attack

An old chess adage says "An attack is the best defense." Some players are determined to play for an attack at all cost, and such style almost always pays dividends. The following game is interestingly such a masterpiece.

Ostend, 1907
King's Indian Defense

1. d4, Nf6
2. Nf3, d6
3. Bf4, Nbd7
4. e3, g6
5. Bd3, Bg7
6. Nbd2, 0-0
7. h4!? ....

Such dubious move might be regarded with horror by modern chess theorists, but Marshall is determined in his attack.

7. .... Re8
8. h5!?, Nxh5
9. Rxh5!?, gxh5
10. Bxh7!? ....

10. .... Kxh7?

Black now loses the game because he allowed his King to be exposed to attack. He would have fared better if he moved 10....Kf8! and would give White a difficult time to recover his lost pieces.

11. Ng5+, Kg6

Not 11....Kg8 because of 12. Qxh5 Nf6, 13. Qxf7+ Kh8, 14. 0-0-0, and then Rh1+.

12. Ndf3 ....

Threatening 13. Qd3+ f5, 14. Nh4+ etc.

12. .... e5
13. Nh4+, Kf6

Of course not 13....Kh6, 14. Nxf7+ winning the Queen.

14. Nh7+, Ke7
15. Nf5+, Ke6
16. Nxg7+, Ke7
17. Nf5+, Ke6
18. d5+, Kxf5
19. Qxh5+, Ke4
20. 0-0-0, Resigns

White threatens 21. f3 mate. The only way to prevent this is to capture White's Bishop with 20....exf4, but then comes another bolt of lightning: 21. Rd4 mate.

An entertaining yet instructive piece of game.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bishop's Power on the Long Diagonal

The Bishop's power on the long diagonal (a1-h8 or a8-h1) cannot be underestimated, more so if it helps create a mating combination on the opponent's King.  The following game effectively demonstrates this theory.

Scarborough, 1930

1. d4, Nf6
2. c4, e6
3. Nc3, Bb4
4. Qb3, c5
5. dxc5, Nc6
6. Nf3, Ne4
7. Bd2, Nxc5
8. Qc2, f5

Black intends to control the center (e4) by piece rather than by pawn. In line with this objective, f5 is much better than d5.

9. e3, 0-0
10. a3, Bxc3
11. Bxc3 ....

Although White at this point has a Bishop Pair, the Bishops have little scope and therefore rendered futile against Black's Bishop and Knight.

11. .... b6
12. Be2, Bb7

This Bishop, entrenched on the long diagonal, is destined to rule the board.

13. 0-0, Rc8
14. Rfd1, Qe7
15. b4, Ne4
16. Be1?, Rf6

White's Bishop should have remained at its own diagonal, rather than cower at e1.  Now Black's Rook is poised to play...

17. Nd4? ....

This move increases the power of Black's Bishop.  Bad for White.

17. .... Rg6!
18. Bf1 ....

If White plays 18. f3, then Black wins with 18.....Qg5!, 19. Bf1 Qxe3+, 20. Bf2 Qxf3 etc.

18. .... Ng5!

Now Black threatens to win with 19.....Nxd4, 20. exd4 Nf3+, 21. Kh1 Qh4! somewhat akin to actual play.

19. Kh1, Nxd4
20. exd4 ....

 20. .... Nf3!!
White resigns.

White's case is hopeless.  If he tries 21. d5 (to block the diagonal), then the game may continue 21.....Qh4 22. gxf3 Qg5 and mate follows. Following this variation, if 22. h3 then 22....Qxh3, 23. gxh3 Rg1 mate. 

The same result happens after 21. g3, thereafter Black replies with 21.....Qh4, 22. gxh4 Rg1 mate.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Power of Two Bishops

The Bishop Pair is one of the most powerful weapons in chess arsenal. In the hands of a master, two efficiently coordinating Bishops can create havoc along open files.

Nuremberg 1896

1. d4, d5
2. c4, dxc4
3. Nf3, c5
4. e3, cxd4
5. exd4, Bg4
6. Bxc4 ....

White threatens 7. Bxf7 Kxf7, 8. Ne5+.

6. .... e6
7. Qa4+, Nc6

White readily exploits the absence of Black's Bishop along the a4-e8 diagonal.  If Black replies 7....Nd7, there follows 8. Ne5 N8f6, 9. Bg5! Bf5, 10. Nxd7 Qxd7, 11. Bb5 winning the Queen.

8. Ne5, Qxd4
9. Nxc6, Qe4+
10. Be3, bxc6

Of course not 10....Qxc6 because of 11. Bb5 winning the Queen.

11. Nc3, Qxg2
12. Bd5!! ....

This beauty of a move drives off the Black Queen and spearheads an attack on the opponent King.  Black is obliged to take down the Bishop.

12. .... exd5
13. Qxc6+, Kd8

If 13....Ke7, then 14. Nxd5+ Kd8, 15. Qxa8 and Black can resign.

14. Qxa8+, Kd7
15. Qb7+, Ke6
16. Qc6+, Bd6
17. Bf4, Resigns

There is no way to prevent 18. Qxd6+.  If 17....Qxh1+, 18. Kd2 Qxa1, 19. Qxd6+ Kf5, 20. Qe5+ Kg6, 21. Qg5 mate.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sweet Mobility

In chess, more mobile pieces most often ensure victory. This happens when almost all pieces are developed and not restricted to cramped positions. This theory is illustrated in the following game.

Sopron, 1934
Queen's Gambit Declined

1. d4, Nf6
2. Nf3, e6
3. c4, Bb4+
4. Nd2, Ne4
5. e3, Nxd2
6. Bxd2, Bxd2
7. Qxd2, d5
8. Rc1, c6
9. Bd3, Nd7
10. 0-0, 0-0

At this point, both sides have been striving to relieve off cramped positions. White, however, has a much more free game.

11. e4! ....

White decides to open up more files to expand the control of his pieces.

11. .... dxe4
12. Bxe4, Nf6
13. Bb1, b6
14. Qf4, Bb7
15. Ne5, Qc7?

Black should have opened his Bishop's diagonal by the freeing move 15.....c5.

16. Rc3!, Nh5

17. Bxh7+!!, Kxh7

Effort by Black to turn down the Bishop would prove futile, as in 17.... Kh8, 18. Ng6+ wins the Black Queen.

18. Rh3, Kg8

A pretty situation arises after 18.....g6, 19. Nxg6 Qxf4, 20. Nxf4 in which case Black recovers his lost piece (Bishop) plus two extra pawns.

19. Rxh5, f6
20. Rh8, Resigns

Black loses the Queen after 20.....Kxh8, 21. Ng6+.

A wonderful game.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

When Minor Pieces Play

When Queens are exchanged in a turbulent opening, the minor pieces working in harmony may conquer the uncastled King and create a beautiful mating combination.

Budapest, 1939
Nimzovich Defense

1. e4, Nc6
2. d4, d5
3. exd5 ....

Better is 3. e5 for a stronger central pawn structure.

3. .... Qxd5
4. Nf3, Bg4
5. Nc3?! ....

The best reply is 5. Be2, then Black's hope of winning a pawn by 5....Bxf3 can be scuttled by 6. Bxf3 Qxd4, 7. Bxc6+ winning the Queen.

5. .... Bxf3
6. Nxd5, Bxd1
7. Nxc7+, Kd7
8. Nxa8, Bxc2

The next few moves illustrate White's hopeless pursuit to make a getaway plan for his Knight at a8.

9. Bf4 ....

9. ....  e4!!

A powerful tempo-making move. If White replies 10. Bxe5, there follows 10....Bb4+, 11. Ke2 Nxe5, 12. dxe5 Ne7, 13. Rc1 Be4, 14. Nc7 Bc6 and White's Knight is lost after all.

10. dxe5 ....

Now, White's control over the b8-f4 diagonal is broken.

10. .... Bb4+
11. Ke2, N8e7
12. e6+, fxe6
13. Nc7 ....

White has succeeded in letting his Knight escape. But Black has the last word....

13. .... Nd4+
14. Ke3, Nef5 mate.

An excellent mating combination.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Alexander Alekhine

Alexander Alekhine was 4th World Chess Champion (1927-1935, 1937-1946). In 1929 and 1934 he played Russian Bogolyubov for the world champion beating him easily. However in 1935, the Dutchman Euwe challenged him. Alekhine, who had a liking for alcohol was frequently drunk during his games with Euwe and consequently lost his title. However in a rematch, after giving up alcohol, he defeated Euwe by 10 wins to 4 with 11 draws making him the first man to ever regain the world championship title.

Alekhine was the author of the famous Alekhine's Defense, a good opening for aggressive chess players.

Alekhine's brilliance is again exhibited in the following post. Black, having gained the initiative, never let up the pressure until the opponent surrendered.

Saint Petersburg, 1912
Sicilian Defense

1. e4, c5
2. g3, g6
3. Bg2, Bg7
4. Ne2, Nc6
5. c3, Nf6
6. Na3, d5!
7. exd5, Nxd5
8. Nc2, 0-0
9. d4, cxd4
10. cxd4, Bg4

Black now has the initiative, and from this point on, never let up the pressure.

11. f3, Bf5

Black threatens to win a pawn by 12.....Bxc2 etc.

12. Ne3, Qa5+

Black gains a piece if White replies with 13. Qd2 or 13. Bd2.

13. Kf2, Ndb4
14. Nxf5, Qxf5
15. g4, Nd3+
16. Kg3 ....

16. .... Nxd4!!
17. gxf5 ....

White should have allowed a pawn loss by taking the Knight with 17. Nxd4 Qe5+, 18. f4 Qxd4, etc. without much trouble.

17. .... Nxf5+

At this point, Alekhine announced a mate in two moves: 18. Kg4 h5!, 19. Kg5 Bh6 mate; or 18. Kh3 Nf2 mate.  A picture-perfect mate.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Modern Gambits

A modern chess player, in order to confuse the enemy, might turn a staid opening into a gambit.  The idea is to present the opponent with surprises so unpleasant that he will spend so much time looking for the proper reply.  And before he realizes it, his time has run out already....

Helsinki, 1936
Sicilian Defense

1. e4, c5
2. Nf3, a6
3. b4!? ....

White seeks to develop his pieces immediately, and to lessen Black's control over the center.

3. .... cxb4
4. a3, d5
5. exd5, Qxd5
6. axb4, Bg4

Black neglects to develop his King-side and disregards the safety of his King.

7. Nc3, Qh5
8. Be2, e6
9. 0-0, Nf6

Black should have taken the offered Pawn.

10. Ra5!! ....

A surprising yet powerful move.  If 10....b5 then 11. Bxb5+ ... or if 10....Qg6 then 11. Rg5 Qh6, 12. d4 threatening 13. Rxg4 ...

10. .... Nd5
11. h3!, Bxf3
12. Bxf3, Nxc3
13. dxc3, Qg6
14. Qd4!! ....

White threatens 15. Bxb7 and the Rook has nowhere to go.

14. .... Qf6
15. Qc4, Nd7
16. Bg5!! ....

 16. .... Qg6

Black cannot play 16.....Ne5 because of 17. Rxe5 Qxe5, 18. Qc6+ bxc6, 19. Bxc6 mate.

17. Bxb7, Rb8
18. Bc6, Be7
19. Bxd7+, Kxd7
20. Rd1+, Resigns

Life ends wherever the King goes.  If 20....Ke8, then 21. Qc7!! etc.  If 20....Bd6, then 21. Rxd6 Kxd6, 22. Qc5+ Kd7, 23. Qe7+ and mate follows.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Confusing the Enemy

In the following game, six of Black's 14 moves were pawn moves, the remaining were King moves.  It would not take a statistician to guess the outcome.

Helsinki, 1944

1. e4, c5
2. d4, cxd4
3. Nf3 ....

White deviated from the usual 3. Qxd4 ... intending to confuse the opponent.  Black is advised to reply 3....Nc6 or 3....d6.

3. .... e5

Black turns the game into a gambit, hoping to trap White into capturing the e-pawn: 4. Nxe5,Qa4+ winning the Knight.

4. c3!, dxc3
5. Nxc3, d6
6. Bc4, h6

Black is afraid of 7. Ng5, but Black's f7 pawn is more vulnerable than he thinks.

7. Bxf7, Kxf7
8. Nxe5 ....

The Queen's pawn is pinned, and this fact makes the attack possible.

8. .... Ke7

Black has no satisfactory reply. If 8.....Ke8, 9. Qh5+ and mate follows.

If 8....Ke6, then 9. Qd5+ Kf6, 10. Qf7+ Kxe5, 11. Bf4 Kd4, 12. Qd5 mate.

If 8....Kf6 then 9. Qd4! Qe8, 10. Nd5+ Ke6, 11. Nc7 winning the Queen.

9. Nd5+, Ke6
10. Qg4+, Kxe5
11. Bf4+, Kd4

If 11....Kxe4, then 12. Nc3+ Kd4, 13. Qd1+ Kc4, 14. Qd5+ Kb4, 15. a3 mate.

12. Be3+, Ke5

If 12....Kc4, then 13. Qe2 mate.

13. Qf4+, Ke6
14. Qf5 mate

White energetically pursued Black's King taking advantage of open files.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Sicilian to Danish

White turns a Sicilian opening to Danish Gambit. Black unknowingly cooperated in the magnificent outcome.

Warsaw, 1933
Sicilian Defense (Danish Gambit by transposition)

1. e4, c5
2. Nf3, Nf6
3. e5, Nd5
4. Nc3, e6
5. Nxd5, exd5
6. d4, d6
7. Bg5, Qa5+

If 7....Be7, then White gains a pawn by 8. Bxe7 Qxe7, 9. dxc5 ..

8. c3, cxd4
9. Bd3!? ....

Offering pawns one after another, White plays for a dashing attack.

9. .... dxc3
10. 0-0, cxb2
11. Rb1, dxe5?

This move opens the e-file and increases Black's attacking prospects.

12. Nxe5, Bd6

Of course not 12....f6 because 13. Qh5 is devastating. At this point, 12....Be6 is preferable.

13. Nxf7, Kxf7
14. Qh5+, g6

Black's situation is shaky. If 14....Kf8, then 15. Bxh7 etc. If  14....Ke6, then 15. Bf5+ Ke5, 16. Re1+ Kd4, 17. Be3+ Kc3, 18. Qd1 and Black can resign.

15. Bxg6 hxg6
16. Qxh8, Bf5

Preventing the loss of another pawn. If 16....Nd7, then 17, Qh7+ Kf8, 18. Bh6+ Ke8, 19. Qxg6+ etc.

17. Rbe1, Be4

A mating position arises for White after 17....Bf8, 18. Re7+ Bxe7, 19. Qh7+ Kf8, 20. Qxe7+ Kg8, 21. Bf6 etc.

18. Rxe4!!, dxe4
19. Qf6+, Resigns

White wins after 19....Ke8, 20. Qe6+ Kf8, 21. Bh6 mate.  If 19....Kg8, then 20. Qxg6+ Kf8, 21. Qxd6+ Kg8, 22. Qe6+ Kg2 (If 22....Kh8, then 23. Bf6+ Kh7, 24. Qf7+ Kh6, 25. Qg7+ Kh5, 26. g4 mate.); 23. Qe7+ Kg6, 24. Qf6+ Kh7, 25. Qf7+ Kh8, 26. Bf6 mate.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Lazy King and the Traveler Queen

The importance of castling is again reiterated in today's post.  The game below also underlines the chess theory that the Queen should not be moved too early in the game, since it could be trapped and an easy target for attack.

Riga, 1913

1. e4, e6
2. d4, d5
3. Nc3, Nf6
4. exd5, Nxd5
5. Nf3, c5
6. Nxd5, Qxd5

The Black Queen began traveling...

7. Be3!, cxd4
8. Nxd4, a6
9. Be2, Qxg2?

Black fell to White's trap.

10. Bf3, Qg6
11. Qd2, e5

12. 0-0-0 ....

White decides to sacrifice the Knight in exchange for an open position, taking advantage of the uncastled King.

12. .... exd4
13. Bxd4 ....

White now threatens 14. Bxg7 Bxg7, 15. Qd8 mate.

13. .... Nc6
14. Bf6!! ....

Fantastic!  The threat now is 15. Qd8+ Nxd8, 16. Rxd8 mate.

14. .... Qxf6

If 14....gxf6 or 14....Be6, then 15. Bxc6+ and White wins.  If 14....Be7 then 15. Bxc6+ bxc6, 16. Qd8+ Bxd8, 17. Rxd8 mate.

15. Rhe1+, Be7

If 15...Be6, then White mates with 16. Qd7.

16. Bxc6+, Kf8
17. Qd8+, Bxd8
18. Re8 mate

White took exceptional advantage of Black's uncastled King and wandering Queen.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Flank Attack

In chess, a struggle may happen along the a-file or h-file - a flank attack.  This situation may be aggravated by a trap or a sacrifice paving the way for an attack in an open file.  This phenomenon is best illustrated in the following post, a brilliant game in which the great grandmaster Adolf Anderssen demolished Mayet in just 12 moves.

Berlin, 1851

1. e4, e5
2. Nf3, Nc6
3. Bb5, Bc5
4. c3, Nf6
5. Bxc6 ....

Modern masters would perhaps prefer 5. d4 fortifying the center and getting rid of the pesky Bishop.

5. .... dxc6

Modern chess theory would suggest 5....bxc6 to be followed by 6....d5, but Anderssen has something up his sleeve.

6. 0-0 ....

Ill-timed.  The best move is still 6. d4.

6. .... Bg4!
7. h3 ....

Intending to drive off the annoying Bishop...

7. .... h5!

8. hxg4? ....

A bad move. White obligingly opened the h-file, paving the way for Black's attack.

8. .... hxg4
9. Nxe5, g3!!
10. d4, Nxe4!

Black threatens 11. Rh1+  Kxh1, 12. Qh4+  Kg1, 13. Qh2 mate.

11. Qg4?, Bxd4

Anderssen may win in another way by 11....gxf2+, 12. Rxf2  Rh1+, 13. Kxh1  Nxf2+ winning the Queen.

12. Qxe4, Bxf2+

White resigns, as there is no stopping 13. Rxf2 (forced)  Qd1+, 14. Rf1  Rh1+, 15. Kxh1  Qxf1 mate.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Scotch Game

Match, 1888
Scotch Game

1. e4, e5
2. Nf3, Nc6
3. d4, exd4
4. Nxd4, Nf6
5. Nxc6, bxc6
6. Bd3, d5

Afterwards, the usual move is 7. exd5, cxd5; but White tries something different, hoping to drive the Black's Knight to the back rank.

7. e5, Ng4
8. 0-0, Bc5!

An attacking move, one crucial to center play. If 8....Nxe5, then 9. Re1 f6 (or Bd6), 10. f4 and White wins.

9. h3, Nxe5
10. Re1, Qf6!!

Hmmm...White senses a trap. The f2 pawn is very vulnerable.

11. Qe2, 0-0

If Black tries 11....Bd6, then White replies with 12. f4 winning the Knight. Since the Knight is lost anyway, Black decides to wait for the right time to attack.

12. Qxe5, Qxf2+
13. Kh1 ....

Of course not 13. Kh2 since White would lose the Queen after 13....Bd6.

14. gxh3, Qf3+
15. Kh2, Bd6
16. Qxd6, Qf2+

White resigns, since Black takes the Rook before confiscating White's Queen.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Spanish Game, Berlin Defense

New York, 1918

1. e4, e5
2. Nf3, Nc6
3. d4, d6
4. Nc3, Nf6
5. Bb5, Bd7
6. 0-0, Be7
7. Re1, exd4
8. Nxd4, Nxd4
9. Qxd4, Bxb5
10. Nxb5, 0-0
11. Qc3, ....

Threatening 12. Qxc7...

11. .... c6
12. Nd4, Nd7

Black's Knight gives way to his Bishop.

13. Nf5, Bf6
14. Qg3, Ne5
15. Bf4, Qc7
16. Rad1, Rad8
17. Rxd6!! ....

The bombshell!  This move came very unexpectedly.

17. .... Rxd6
18. Bxe5, Rd1

If 18.....Bxe5, then 19. Qxe5 and White wins the Queen or the Rook because of a mating threat at g7.

19. Rxd1, Bxe5
20. Nh6+, Kh8
21. Qxe5!! ....

A magnificent move.  But Black has no choice but to capture.  If 21....Qc8, then 22. Nf5 f6, 23. Qe7 Rg8, 24. Nd6 and White wins the Queen or mates at f7.

22. .... Qxe5
23. Nxf7, Resigns

White comes ahead in material after winning the Queen.  If  23....Rxf7, then 24. Rd8+ and wins.

This game is one of Capablanca's best. A superb performance!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Center Play

Keeping a solid central pawn structure is crucial to a defensive chess play.  Once the center breaks down, it would be easy for the attacker to penetrate.  The posted game is an excellent model of this theory.

Stockholm, 1937

1. e4, e5
2. Nf3, d6
3. d4, Nf6
4. Nc3, N8d7
5. Be2, Be7
6. 0-0, h6
7. b3 ....

White intends to position his Bishop at b2, to apply indirect pressure on Black's e5 pawn.

7. .... c6
8. Bb2, Qc7
9. Qd2, g5

Black's last move weakens his long diagonal.  Black should have kept a tight defensive game.

10. Rfd1, Nf8?

Black intends to post his Knight at f4 via g6, but it never made it. He should have concentrated on developing his pawn structure at the center,

11. dxe5, dxe5
12. Nxe5!! ....

 12. .... Be6

If 12....Qxe5, then White replies with 13. Nd5 Qxb2, 14. Nc7 mate.  In this variation, if 13....Qd6, then 16. Nxf6+ and wins.

13. Nb5!!, Qb8

If 13....cxb5, then 14. Bxb5 N8d7, 15. Bxd7 Bxd7, 16. Nxd7 Nxd7, 17. Bxh8.   In this variation, if 15....Kf8, then 16. Bxe6 fxe6, 17. Ng6+.  Either way, White wins.

14. Qa5 !! ....

A pretty move.  Black cannot shoo away the Queen with 14....b6 because of 15. Nxc6 bxa5, 16. Nxb8 Rxb8, 17. Nc7 mate.  In this variation, if 16....Bd8, then 17. Rxd8 Kxd8, 18. Bxf6+ and White wins.

14. .... Bd8
15. Rxd8, Qxd8
16. Nc7+, Resigns

There is no hope for Black.  If 16....Ke7, then 17. Ba3+ and White wins.

White executed one brilliant move after another.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

King's Gambit Declined

Berlin, 1863

1. e4, e5
2. f4, Bc5
3. Nf3, d6
4. Bc4, Nf6
5. Nc3, 0-0
6. d3 ....

After 6. fxe5 fxe5, 7. Nxe5 Black replies with 7....Qd4! and he would have a good game.

6. .... Ng4?

Black is enticed by  ....Nf2, but 6....Nc6 is a much better reply.

7. Rf1, Nxh2?
8. Rh1! ....

Black hoped for 8. Nxh2 Qh4+ followed by ...Qxh2, giving him an excellent game.

8. .... Ng4
9. Qe2, Bf2+?

A useless move. It disabled White's castling but at this point of the game, castling for White does not signify.

10. Kf1, Nc6
11. f5!, Bc5
12. Ng5!!, Nh6

If 12....Nf6 White wins with 13. Nxh7 Nxh7, 14. Qh5 etc.

13. Qh5, Qe8

14. Nxh7, Kxh7
15. Bxh6, g6

Of course not 15....gxh6, 16. Qxh6+ and mate next move.

16. Qxg6+!!, fxg6
17. Bxf8 mate.

An artistic finale.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ignatz Kolisch, Vienna Game

Ignatz Kolisch was a Baron of the Austrian Empire.  He was ranked number  one chess player in the world between July 1867 and November 1868.  He later became involved in banking and abandoned chess in favor of the stock market.

Paris, 1859
Vienna Game

1. e4, e5
2. Bc4, Nf6
3. Nc3, c6

Most players prefer 3....Nc6. Combative players may choose 3...Nxe4, which goes 4. Nxe4 d5.

4. d3, b5

Black's last move turned out well, but 4....d5 is stronger.

5. Bb3, a5
6. a4, b4
7. Na2? ....

White voluntarily exiled his Knight to a useless square, where it is stranded for the rest of the game.

7. .... d5
8. exd5, cxd5
9. Nf3, Nc6
10. Qe2, Bg4
11. 0-0, Bc5

If 11...e4, then 12. dxe4 dxe4, 13. Qb5....and the Knight becomes unpinned. At this point, if 13....exf3, then 14. Qxc6 Bd7, 15. Qxf3... and Black loses much material.

12. Bg5, h6
13. h3, h5?!

What does Black have in mind? He could have won the exchange outright by 13....Bxf3, 14. Bxf6 Bxe2, 15. Bxd8 Bxf1.

14. hxg4, hxg4

Now we see the reason for Black's 13th move. The open h-file paves the way for an attack.

15. Nxe5, Nd4
16. Qe1 ....

White waits. He is a piece ahead and threatens 17. Nc6+ winning Black's Queen.

16. .... Ne4!!

A magnificent blockade. If the Knight is taken e.g. 17. dxe4 then17.....Qxg5 and White's attack fizzles.

17. Bxd8, Ng3!!

Now we see the reason behind the Queen sacrifice. Black threatens mate at h1. The attacking Knight cannot be captured because of 18....Ne2 mate.

18. Ng6+, N4e2+
19. Qxe2, Nxe2 mate.

A superb masterpiece. The game reflects Kolisch's dazzling style.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

English Opening: King's English, Four Knights Variation

Moscow 1988

1. c4, Nf6
2. Nc3, e5
3. Nf3, Nc6

Not 3....e4 because White replies 4. Ng4 Qe7, 5. Qc2... and White takes the pawn.

4. g3, Bb4
5. Bg2, 0-0
6. 0-0, e4
7. Ng5, Bxc3
8. bxc3, Re8
9. f3, exf3
10. Nxf3, d5
11. d4, Ne4
12. Qc2, dxc4
13. Rb1, f5
14. g4, Qe7

If 14....fxg4 White replies 15. Ne5 Nxe5, 16. Qxe4!....

15. gxf5, Nd6
16. Ng5, Qxe2
17. Bd5+, Kh8
18. Qxe2, Rxe2
19. Bf4, Nd8
20. Bxd6, cxd6
21. Rbe1, Rxe1
22. Rxe1, Bd7
23. Re7, Bc6
24. f6, Resigns

If 24....gxf6, then White mates next move by 25. Rxh7.

If 24....Bxd5, then 25. Re8+ Bg8, 26. f7 Nxf7, 27. Nxf7 mate.  Superb play!

Friday, October 29, 2010

French Defense: Alekhine-Chatard Attack, Albin-Chatard Gambit

Cista, 1940
French Defense: Alekhine-Chatard Attack, Albin-Chatard Gambit

1. e4, e6
2. d4, d5
3. Nc3, Nf6
4. Bg5, Be7
5. e5, Nfd7
6. h4 ....

The Albin-Chatard Gambit. White sacrifices the h-pawn in return for an attack on Black's King side, launching from the half-open h-file.

6. .... Bxg5
7. hxg5, Qxg5
8. Nh3, Qh6

If the Queen retreats e.g. 8....Qe7, then 9. Qg4 0-0, 10. Bd3 g6, 11. Ng5 and White would have an easy attack.

9. Bd3, g6
10. Qg4, c5
11. f4! ....

The safety of the e5-pawn is of paramount importance.

11. .... cxd4
12. Nb5, Kd8
13. Ng5! ....

Another sacrifice. But Black really has no choice. If 13....Qg7, then 14. Nd6 ... threatening 15. Ngxf7+.

13. .... Qxh1+
14. Kf2, Qxa1
15. Nxf7+, Ke7
16. Qg5+, Kxf7
17. Nd6+, Kg7

If 17....Kf8, then 18. Qd8+ Kg7, 19. Qe7+ ... bringing the position to the one in text. If 17....Kg8 then 18. Qe7 and mate next move.

18. Qe7+, Kh6
19. Nf7+, Kg7
20. Ng5+, Kh6
21. Nxe6, Nf6

Preventing 22. Qg5 mate. But White has another ace up his sleeve.

22. Qg7+, Kh5
23. Qxf6, h6

Again, preventing 24. Qg5 mate, but White's next mating move cannot be prevented...

24. Be2 mate.

Much quicker than 24. Qxg6+ Kh4, 25. g3+ Kh2, 26. Qh5 mate. White, thought two Rooks down, played magnificently. The relentless attack left Black's major pieces still standing in their original positions.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Blindfold Chess

In chess, there is nothing more fascinating than a master playing blindfold. The following game exhibits the genius of Alexander Alekhine.

Tarnopol, 1916

(White plays blindfold.)

1. e4, e6
2. d4, d5
3. Nc3, Nf6
4. exd5, Nxd5

Much better is 4...exd5 in order to control the central squares.

5. Ne4, f5?

This move creates a weakness at the e5 square.  White would exploit this weakness to maximum advantage.

6. Ng5!, Be7
7. N5f3, c6
8. Ne5, 0-0
9. N1f3, b6
10. Bd3, Bb7
11. 0-0, Re8
12. c4, Nf6
13. Bf4, N8d7
14. Qe2, c5
15. Nf7!! ....

A surprising yet powerful move!  Black has no choice but to capture, as his Queen and e6 pawn are threatened.

15. .... Kxf7
16. Qxe6!! ....

Another surprise! The Queen cannot be captured because of Ng5 mate.

16. .... Kg6

If 16....Kf8 then 17. Ng5 threatening mate at f7.

Before making his next move, Alekhine announced a mate in two.

17. g4! ....

This move is better than 17. Nh4+ Kh5, 18. Qxf5+ Kxh4, 19. g3 mate.

17. .... Be4

Preventing 18. Bxf5 mate, but this does not prevent White's next and last move.

18. Nh4 mate

A delightful finish!

Win Some, Lose Some

It seems inconceivable for a grandmaster to lose a game in 15 moves.  But even grandmasters have mental lapses that would account for a game loss.  The following game shows how Rubinstein, an acclaimed chess master in his time, succumbed to the wiles of Frederick Yates using Ruy Lopez Opening.

Budapest, 1926

1. e4, e5
2. Nf3, Nc6
3. Bb5, a6
4. Ba4, Nf6
5. Qe2, b5
6. Bb3, Bc5

Black's last move may look attractive but it would be better placed at e7 to prevent a pin on the Knight.

7. c3, Qe7
8. 0-0, d6
9. Rd1, 0-0
10. d4, Bb6
11. Bg5, Nd8?

Reinfeld suggests 11....h6 to drive away the pinning Bishop.

12. Nh4! ....

Now, it is not possible to drive the Bishop away, for 12....h6 would be refuted by 13. Ng6.

12. .... Ne6?

In his haste to get rid of the pesky Bishop, Black loses control of the f5 square, which would become a stronghold for White's Knight.

13. Nf5!! ....

If Black plays 13....Qd8, White replies with 14. dxe5 and the double pin would be too much for Black to handle.

13. .... Qe8
14. Bxf6, gxf6
15. Bxe6, Resigns

White threatens Qg4+ and Qg7 mate.

If 15...fxe6, then 16. Qg4+! The only way Black could avoid mate is 16....Qg6 but would lose the Queen after 17. Ne7+.

A brilliant and very instructive little game.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Richard Reti

RICHARD RETI, the author of Reti's Opening, was an ethnic Jewish, Austrian-Hungarian, later Czechoslovakian chess player, chess author, and composer of endgame studies.  One of the top players in the world during the 1910s and 1920s, he began his career as a fiercely combinative classical player, favoring openings such as the King's Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.f4). However, after the end of the First World War, his playing style underwent a radical change, and he became one of the principal proponents of hypermodernism, and considered to be the movement's foremost literary contributor.  The following game, one of the shortest he ever played, is posted in his honor.

Vienna, 1914

1. e4, e5
2. Nc3, Nc6
3. Nf3, Bc5
4. Nxe5, Nxe5
5. d4, Bxd4

Reinfeld recommends 5....Bd6, 6. dxe5 Bxe5 etc.

6. Qxd4, Qf6?

Black desires to win White's Queen with ....Nf3+, but his last move proves fatal.

7. Nb5!! ....

A move difficult to meet.  The c7 square is unguarded and White has rightly chosen this location to attack.

7. .... Kd8
8. Qc5!, Resigns

Black has to contend with the threats of 9. Qf8 mate and 9. Qxc7.

If 8....d6 then 9. Qxc7 Ke8, 10. Nxd6+ Kf8, 11. Nxc8 ... and White comes ahead in material.

If 8....Ng6 then 9. Bg5 winning the Queen.  If 8....Nh6 then 9. Qxc7 Ke7, 10. Be3 with the deadly threats of Bc5 or Bd4.

An amazing finale.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Knight Forks and (K)nightmares

Neophyte chess players are sometimes haunted by memories of knight forks.  But even grandmasters find themselves immersed in similar situations.  The game below is a fine example.

New York, 1913
Queen's Gambit Declined

1. d4, d5
2. c4, e6
3. Nc3, Nf6
4. Nf3, Be7
5. Bg5, Nbd7
6. e3, 0-0
7. Rc1, b6

Black intends to follow-up with c5, but the resulting position created a weakness on white squares.

8. cxd5, exd5
9. Qa4, Bb7
10. Ba6, Bxa6
11. Qxa6, c6?

Reinfeld recommends 11....c5 as a more energetic move.

12. 0-0, Ne4
13. Bxe7, Qxe7
14. Qb7!!, Rfc8
15. Nxd5! ....

15. .... Qd6

The Knight could not be taken because of 16. Rxc8 winning a Rook.

16. Rxc6, Resigns

Black loses his Queen if 16....Qxd5, 17. Rxc8 ...  and also if the Queen takes the Rook by 16. .... Qxc6, then 17. Ne7+.

If 16....Rxc6 then 17. Qxa8+ Nf8, 18. Qxc6 Qxc6, 19. Ne7+ and this leaves White ahead in material.  However, in this variation, Black could have prolonged the game a little longer with 17....Nb8, 18. Ne7+ Qxe7, 19. Qxb8 Qf8, 20. Qb7 Re6 (not 20.....Qe8, 21. Ne5!), 21. Rc1 Re8, 22. Ne5 (with the idea of 23. Rc7) f6, 23. Qd5+ and White still wins after 23....Kh8, 24. Nf7+ Kg8, 25. Nd6+ Kh8, 26. Nxe8 Qxe8, 27. Qxe4!.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Stampeding Horses

In chess, we often see two Bishops working in tandem to achieve victory.  But two Knights jumping tactically in harmony is a rare sight even in grandmaster play.  This post features such occurrence made even more beautiful by a two-Rook sacrifice and a Queen sacrifice.

Portsmouth, 1948
Italian Game: Classical Closed Variation

1. e4, e5
2. Nf3, Nc6
3. Bc4, Bc5
4. c3, Qe7
5. 0-0 ....

Making the e4 pawn invulnerable.  This is the Closed Variation.  In Greco Gambit White allows the e4 pawn to be taken by the immediate 5. d4 in return for an open file.

5. .... d6
6. d4, Bb6
7. b4, Bg4
8. a4, a5
9. b5, Nd8
10. Ba3, f6

The move supports the e5 pawn as the d6 pawn is pinned.

11. Ra2? ....

A useless move. Where thou goest, Mr. Rook?

11. .... Ne6

The Knight intends to post itself on f4.

12. dxe5, fxe5
13. Qd5, Bxf3
14. Qxb7 ....
A lesson in move prioritization.  If 14. Qxe6 then 14....Bxe4.  Definitely not 14. gxf3 because of 14....Qg4+,15. Kh1 Nf4.

14. .... Qg5!!

Black decides the keep the Bishop instead of the Rook, as the former is more important in sustaining the attack.

15. Qxa8+, Ke7
16. g3, Nf4!!!

Threatening mate at h3.

17. Re1 ....

Worthless, but White has nothing better. If 17. h4 then 17....Qg4, 18. Re1 Qh3 and mate next move at g2 or h1.

17. .... Qh5!!

Placing the Queen at a strategic location.  If 18. gxf4 then Black still wins with 18....Qh3.

18. Nd2, Nf6!!!

The winning move, but more surprises are still to come.

19. Qxh8, Qxh2!!

A beautiful Queen sacrifice.  Black clinched his victory.  The rest of the moves followed naturally.

20. Kxh2, Ng4+
21. Kg1, Nh3+
22. Kf1, Nh2 mate.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Caro-Kann Defense Exchange Variation

Riga 1949

1. e4, c6
2. d4, d5
3. exd5, cxd5

The Exchange Variation of the Caro-Kann.

4. Bd3, Nf6
5. h3, h6
6. Bf4, e6
7. Nf3, Bd6

The Bishop at f4 is at an advantageous position.  It would be prudent to neutralize the Bishop at once.

8. Bxd6, Qxd6
9. c3, Nc6
10. 0-0, 0-0
11. Qe2, Re8
12. Ne5, Qc7
13. f4, Nxe5
14. fxe5, Nh7
15. Qh5, Re7
16. Na3, a6
17. Nc2, Qd7?

Why block the Bishop's way?  If the Queen intends to travel to f8, Black could have moved 17....Qd8 at once

18. Ne3, Qe8
19. Rf6, Qf8

If 19....gxf6, then 20. Bxh7+ Kxh7, 21. exf6 Rc7, 22. Rf1 ... and White gets attacking position in exchange.

20. Rf4, Bd7
21. Ng4, Be8
22. Nf6+ ....

22. ....  Nxf6

If 22....exf6, then 23. Bxh7+ Kxh7, 24. exf6 Rc7, 25. Rg4 ... and White weaves a mating net.

23. exf6, Rc7

If 23....gxf6, then White mates with 24. Rg4+ Kh8, 25. Qh4 and 26. Qxf6.

24. fxg7, Kxg7

Of course not 24....Qxg7 then 25. Rg4.

25. Qe5+, Resigns

White would have tremendous material advantage after 25....f6, 26. Qxc7.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Superior Mobility

In chess sometimes sacrifices have to be made in order to gain rapid development and attain an attacking position.  In the posted game, an attack ostensibly aimed at Black's queenside suddenly turns into an attack on the other wing.  The explanation:  superior mobility.

New York, 1926

1. Nf3, Nf6
2. d4, d5
3. c4, e6
4. Bg5, Nbd7
5. e3, Be7
6. Nc3, 0-0
7. Bd3, a6

Stronger is 7....c5, allowing Black to equalize.

8. Ne5!, dxc4
9. Nxc4, b5??

This move drives White's Knight to a5 where it will make inroads to Black's position.

10. Na5!, c5
11. Nc6, Qe8
12. Qf3!! ....

Now, White threatens to win a Rook with 13. Nxe7 and 14. Qxa8.

12. .... Nb6

Protecting the Rook. If 12....Bb7, White still wins a piece by 13. Nxe7.

13. Ne4! ....

Black cannot take the c6 Knight because of 14. Nxf6 winning the Queen.

An interesting situation develops after 13....Bb7, 14. Nxe7+ Qxe7, 15. Nxf6+ gxf6, 16. Qh5 with Black losing its Queen as 16. ...f5 is the only way to avoid mate.

13. .... Nfd5

Black's position deteriorates. But 13....Nxe4, 14. Nxe7+ Kh8, 15. Bxe4 would leave White in tremendous material advantage.  At this point, saving the Rook is not a solution. For if 15....Ra7, 16. Bxh7 Rxe7 (not 16....Kxh7, 17. Qh5 mate), 17. Qh5...., White wins with a mating attack.

14. Nxe7+, Nxe7
15. Nf6+, Resigns

An elegant finish.  The subsequent moves would have been 15....gxf6, 16. Bxh7+ Kxh7 (If 16....Kg7, then 17. Qxf6+), 17. Qh5+ Kg7, 18. Qh6+ Kg8, 19. Bxf6 Ng6, 20. Qg7 mate.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Queen's Gambit Declined: Orthodox Defense, Botvinnik Variation

Nottingham, 1936

1. c4, e6
2. Nf3, d5
3. d4, Nf6
4. Nc3, Be7
5. Bg5, 0-0
6. e3, Nbd7
7. Bd3, c5
8. 0-0, cxd4

Alekhine commented that 8....dxc4 would be better as Black is not yet developed to attack the isolated d pawn. The game may then continue as 9. Bxc4 a6, 10. a4 Re8.

9. exd4, dxc4
10. Bxc4, Nb6
11. Bb3, Bd7
12. Qd3 ....

Intending 13. Bc2 and 14. Bxf6....

12. .... Nbd5
13. Ne5, Bc6
14. Rad1, Nb4?

A mistake, according to Alekhine, which makes White's attack tremendously strong.

15. Qh3, Bd5?

Exchanging this good Bishop for a Knight is a bad strategy.  Moreover, White's powerful King's Bishop is still preserved.

16. Nxd5, Nbxd5
17. f4, Rc8
18. f5, exf5
19. Rxf5, Qd6
20. Nxf7!! ....

A subtle and magnificent move. Whichever way the Knight is taken, Black's Knight at d5 would be pinned.

20. .... Rxf7
21. Bxf6, Bxf6

If 21....Nxf6, then 22. Rxf6 and 23. Qxc8.

22. Rxd5, Qc6
23. Rd6 ....

If 23. Rd7, then 23....Rcf8.

23. .... Qe8
24. Rd7, Resigns

Both Rooks are endangered, and Black sees no hope for recovery.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Nimzo-Indian Defense: Bronstein Variation

Sydney, 1979

1. d4, Nf6
2. c4, e6
3. Nc3, Bb4
4. e3 ....

The Bronstein (Byrne) Variation.

4. ....  b6
5. Ne2, Ba6
6. Ng3, 0-0
7. e4, Nc6
8. Bd3, e5

Not 8....Nxd4, 9. Qa4 wins.

9. a3!, Bxc3+
10. bxc3, d6

If 10...exd4 then 11 cxd4 Nxd4, 12 Bb2 c5, 13 Bxd4 cxd4, 14 O-O would be better for White, as he regains the pawn with a great advantage in structure.

11. Bg5 ....

White intends to follow up with 12. Nh5.

11. .... h6
12. Be3, Na5
13. Qe2, Qd7
14. Nf5, Qa4

Black hopes to win the c4 pawn.

15. Bxh6! ....

15. .... gxh6
16. Qe3, Ne8
17. Qxh6, Qd7

White has nothing better.  If 17....f6, then 18. Qg6+ Kh8, 19. Ne7 and White mates with 20. Qh6.

If 17....Qb3, then 18. 0-0 Qxc3, 19. f4! Qxd3, 20. Rf3! and White wins with 21. Rg3+.

18. Qg5+, Kh7
19. Qh4+, Kg8
20. Qg3+ Kh7
21. Qh3+, Kg8
22. Nh6+, Resigns

White takes Black's Queen!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sicilian Defense: Pin. Koch Variation

London 1981

1. d4, e6
2. e4, c5
3. Nf3, cxd4
4. Nxd4, Nf6
5. Nc3, Bb4
6. e5 ....

The aggressive Pin. Koch Variation. White gives up some pieces in exchange for an attack on Black's King side.

6. .... Ne4
7. Qg4, Nxc3
8. Qxg7, Rf8
9. a3, Nb5+
10. axb4, Nxd4
11. Bd3, Qb6
12. Bg5, Nf5
13. Bxf5, exf5
14. 0-0-0, Qg6
15. e6 ....

The Queen could not be taken. If 15....Qxg7, then 16. exd7+ Bxd7 (or Nxd7), 17. Rhe1+ Be6, 19. Rd8 mate.

15. .... d5
16. Rxd5 ....

Threatening Rd8+ mate.

16. .... Nc6
17. e7, Nxe7

White's Queen is still invulnerable because of the threat 18. Rd8+ Nxd8, 19. exd8=Q+ mate.

18. Rd8+, Resigns

If 18....Kxd8, then 19. Qxf8+ Kc7, 20. Qxe7+ Bd7 (Not Kb6, 21. Qc5+ Ka6, 22. Qa5+ mate.), 21. Bf4+ Kb6, 22. Qc5+ with the same mating attack.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

French Defense: Classical, Delayed Exchange Variation

Saint Petersburg 1914

1. e4, e6
2. d4, d5
3. Nc3, Nf6
4. exd5, Nxd5

Typical of the this variation. Black surrenders the center in exchange for disrupting White's central pawn structure.

5. Nf3, c5

Black wants to eliminate the d4 pawn.

6. Nxd5, Qxd5
7. Be3 ....

This move is both a defensive and attacking move. White threatens dxc5, winning a pawn.

7. .... cxd4
8. Nxd4, a6
9. Be2, Qxg2 ??

Black takes the poisoned pawn. The move allows the White Bishop to take up an attacking position.

9. Bf3, Qg6
11. Qd2, e5 ??

Another bad move. Black meant to get rid of the pesky Knight so that somehow he can catch up in development.

12. 0-0-0, exd4
13. Bxd4 ....

Notice that White's development far exceeds that of Black. Notice further the open e-file which would be crucial to the outcome of the game.

13. .... Nc6
14. Bf6 ....

A tempo making move. Any other Bishop move would have had a defensive reply. Now, there is no more time for this. Black must take the Bishop. If not, White moves 15. Bxc6 then 16. Qd8 mate.

14. .... Qxf6
15. Rhe1+!! ....

The beginning of a breakthrough. White's sacrifices are showing results.

15. .... Be7

If 15...Be6 then 16. Qd7 mate.

16. Bxc6+, Kf8

If the Bishop is taken, then White answers 17. Qd8 mate.

17. Qd8+!!, Bxd8
19. Re8 mate.

A superb ending! White must have had all these in mind while offering sacrifices.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Chess Tactics

Choosing the right move is as difficult as winning the game itself.  Learn chess tactics from Chess Tempo, one of the best known chess tutors in the Internet.  Learn how to make the right combination of moves. Choose the best move in a given problem set.  Learn while having fun.  Indulge!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Italian Game: Classical Variation, Greco Gambit

Holland, 1927

1. e4, e5
2. Nf3, Nc6
3. Bc4, Bc5
4. c3, Nf6
5. d4 ...

The Greco Gambit. White allows the e-pawn to be taken in return for an open e-file.

5. .... exd4
6. cxd4, Bb4+
7. Nc3, Nxe4
8. 0-0 ....

Qe2 is bad for White because of 8....d5! allowing support for the Knight.

8. .... Bxc3
9. d5!!, Bf6

If 9....Ne7, 10. bxc3 Nxc3, 11. Qd4!!

10. Re1, 0-0

Black castled his King into safety, knowing that one of his Knights will be taken anyway.

11. Rxe4, Ne7
12. d6, cxd6
13. Qxd6, Nf5
14. Qd5 ....

14. .... d6
15. Bg5, Bxg5

Black fell to the trap! Better is 15....h6 sustaining the defense.

If 15. Be6 then 16. Rxe6 fxe6, 17. Qxe6+ Kh8, 18. Qxf5 with more than enough compensation.

16. Nxg5, Qxg5
17. Qxf7+, Resigns

If 17....Rxf7, then 18. Re8 mate.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sicilian Defense, Dragon Variation; Yugoslav Attack

Stuttgart Simultaneous Exhibition, 1969

1. e4, c5
2. Nf3, d6
3. d4, cxd4
4. Nxd4, Nf6
5. Nc3, g6
6. Be3, Bg7
7. f3 ....

The Yugoslav Attack. This opening supports the e4 pawn and promotes the mobility of both Bishops.

7. .... Nc6
8. Qd2, Bd7
9. 0-0-0, Qa5
10. Kb1, Rc8
11. g4, h6
12. h4, a6
13. Be2, Ne5
14. g5!! ....

14. .... hxg5
15. hxg5, Rxh1
16. gxf6, Rxd1+
17. Nxd1!! ....

This move gains a tempo, as it forces the Black Queen to make a move.

17. .... Qxd2
18. fxg7, Resigns

Black cannot prevent the pawn from being promoted. If 18....Kd8, then 19. g8=Q+ Kc7, 20. Qxc8 Bxc8, 21. Bxd2 and White is a piece ahead

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Victor Korchnoi

Korchnoi is a four times USSR chess champion (1960, 1962-63, 1964-65, 1970), two times winner of the interzonal tournaments for world championship, winner of two Candidates Tournaments (1977, 1980) and five time European champion. Victor Korchnoi played three matches with Anatoly Karpov for the World Chess Championship (two official matches in 1978 and 1981, and the 1974 Candidates' Final which later won Karpov the title by forfeit against Bobby Fischer). He also became a six time Chess Olympiad winner as a member of the Soviet team.

Moscow, 1974
Queen's Indian Defense, Anti-Queen's Indian System

1. d4, Nf6
2. Nf3, e6
3. g3, b6
4. Bg2, Bb7
5. c4, Be7
6. Nc3 ....

The Anti-Queen's Indian System, which seeks to control the d5 square.

6. .... 0-0
7. Qc2, c5
8. d5, exd5
9. Ng5 ....

Part of the Anti-Queen's Indian System, the move threatens mate at h7 while attacking the d5 pawn.

9. .... Nc6
10. Nxd5 ....

If 10. cxd5 then Black drives the White Queen away by 10....Nd4. The text allows White to maintain pressure.

10. .... g6

Black eliminates the threat, but White maintains pressure at the center.

11. Qd2, Nxd5
12. Bxd5 ....

White maintains the pin on the b7 Bishop.

12. .... Rb8
13. Nxh7!!, Re8

Of course not 13....Kxh7 because of 14. Qh6+ Kg8; 15. Qxg6+... with a devastating attack.

14. Qh6, Ne5
15. Ng5, Bxg5
16. Bxg5, Qxg5
17. Qxg5, Bxd5
18. 0-0 ....

Black hoped for 18. cxd5 Nf3 double check! But Korchnoi saw the plan. Without the Queen, Black has already lost the game. The succeeding moves have become irrelevant.

18. .... Bxc4
19. f4, Resigns

Friday, August 13, 2010

Queen's Indian Defense

Montreal 1979

1. d4, Nf6
2. c4, e6
3. Nf3, b6
4. e3, Bb7
5. Bd3, d5
6. b3, Bd6
7. 0-0, 0-0
8. Bb2, Nbd7
9. Nbd2, Qe7
10. Rc1, Rad8
11. Qc2, c5
12. cxd5, exd5
13. dxc5, bxc5
14. Qc3, Rfe8
15. Rfd1, d4
16. exd4, cxd4
17. Qa5 ....

If 17. Nxd4 then 17....Bxh2, 18. Kxh2 Ng4+, 19. Kg1 Qh4 with good attacking chances.

If 17. Qxd4, then 17....Ne4, 18. Nxe4 Bxe4 also with good attacking possibilities.

17. .... Ne5
18. Nxe5, Bxe5
19. Nc4, Rd5
20. Qd2, Bxh2+
21. Kxh2, Rh5+
22. Kg1, Ng4
White resigns.

Black intends to place his Queen at h4, then mate next move.

If 23. g3, then Black mates by 23....Rh1+.

If 23. f3, then Black replies with 23....Rh1+; 24. Kxh1 Qh4+, 25. Kg1 Qh2+, 26. Kf1 Qh1 mate.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Brutal Chess Attack

Hastings, England 1975
Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch Variation

1. Nf3, Nf6
2. c4, c5
3. Nc3, Nc6
4. e3, e6
5. d4, d5
6. cxd5, Nxd5
7. Bd3, cxd4
8. exd4, Be7
9. 0-0, 0-0

The situation that arose is one of the classical isolated pawn positions, in which White's mobility and attacking possibilities compensate for the structural weakness.

10. Re1, Nf6
11. Bg5, Nb4?

Keene recommends 11....b6.  Black gave away too soon his plan to dominate the blockade square d5.

12. Bb1, b6
13. Ne5, Bb7
14. Re3!! ....

White prepares for attack.

14. .... g6

Black's last move prevents 15. Bxf6 Bxf6, 16. Bxh7 Kxh7, 17. Qh5+ and 18. Rh3.

15. Rg3! ....

This move may seem odd at first, but after a few moves the objective becomes evident.

15. .... Rc8

Better was 15....Nc6! 16. Bh6 Qxd4! and Black breaks White's attack by sacrificing the exchange.

16. Bh6 ....

16. .... Re8
17. a3, Nc6
18. Nxg6!, hxg6
19. Bxg6, fxg6

Raymond Keene wrote "Apart from capturing the bishop Black has two other defenses: a) 19...Bf8 20 Bc2+ Kh8 21 Bxf8 Rxf8 22 Qd2 Ng8 23 Rh3+ Kg7 24 Rh7+ (Fritz gives 24 Qf4) 24...Kf6 25 d5+-; b) 19...Bd6 20 Bxf7+ Kxf7 21 Rg7+ Kf8 22 Qf3+-. In this position Black is quite helpless, in spite of his extra material."

20. Qb1! ....

Keene commented that b1 is the best square for the queen in a mating combination, but neither 20 Qd3 Ne5 nor 20 Qc2 Ne5! 21 dxe5 Ne4 (exploiting the pin on the c-file) would be good enough for White.

20.... Ne5
21. dxe5, Ne4
22. Nxe4, Kh7

Of course not 22....Bxe4, 23. Rxg6+ Kh7, 24. Qxe4 and White wins.

23. Nf6+, Bxf6
24. Qxg6+, Kh8
25. Bg7+, Bxg7
26. Qxg7 mate.

What more could we say?  This game is considered as one of the most brutal chess attacks of all time.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Caro-Kann Defense, Breyer Variation

Yuloslavia 1959

1. e4, c6
2. d3 ....

The Breyer Variation of the Caro-Kann.

2. .... d5
3. Nd2, e5
4. Ngf3, Nd7
5. d4, dxe4
6. Nxe4, exd4
7. Qxd4, Ngf6
8. Bg5, Be7
9. 0-0-0, 0-0
10. Nd6, Qa5
11. Bc4 ....

White's two Bishops are now active.

11. .... b5
12. Bd2, Qa6
13. Nf5, Bd8
14. Qh4!! ....

White sacrifices the c4 Bishop in order to gain attacking position.

14. .... bxc4
15. Qg5, Nh5
16. Nh6+ ....

If 16. Qxh5, then Black replies with ...Nf6, 17. Qg5 Bxf5, and White's attack fizzles out.

16. .... Kh8
17. Qxh5, Qxa2
18. Bc3!! ....

This move serves many purposes. First it provides an escape square for the King; second, it attacks the long c3-h8 diagonal; third, it opens the d-file.

18. .... Nf6
19. Qxf7!!, Qa1+

Black has no other choice. If 19....Re8 (or any other move), then 20. Qg8+ Rxg8, 21. Nf7 mate.  Of course not 19....Rxf7 because of 20. Rxd8 and mate next move.

20. Kd2, Rxf7
21. Nxf7+, Kg8
22. Rxa1, Kxf7
23. Ne5+, Ke6
24. Nxc6, Ne4+
25. Ke3, Bb6+
26. Bd4, Resigns

Black hoped for 26. Kxe4 Bb7 pinning the Knight.  

If 26....Bxd4, then 27. Kxd4 Nd6, 28. Rxa7.  With superior material, White wins easily.  A very instructive play by Mikhail Tal.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ruy Lopez Opening: Exchange Variation

$5 million match, 1992

1. e4, e5
2. Nf3, Nc6
3. Bb5, a6
4. Bxc6 ....

The moves so far comprise the Exchange Variation of Ruy Lopez.

4. .... dxc6

This move is almost always chosen at master level. Black has gained the bishop pair at the cost of a weakened pawn structure, due to his doubled pawns on c6 and c7. In the Exchange Variation, by exchanging the 'Spanish Bishop', White aims to reach an endgame in which he has the superior pawn structure, which may become an important factor. Thus Black is compelled to strive for an active position, generally avoiding piece exchanges.

5. 0-0, f6
6. d4, exd4
7. Nxd4, c5
8. Nb3, Qxd1
9. Rxd1, Bg4
10. f3, Be6
11. Nc3, Bd6
12. Be3, b6
13. a4, 0-0-0
14. a5, Kb7
15. e5, Be7

If 15....fxe5, then 16. axb6 cxb6, 17. Ne4 Be7, 18. Rxd8 Bxd8, 19. Nexc5 bxc5, 20. Nbxc5... and White gets more than enough compensation.

16. Rxd8, Bxd8
17. Ne4, Kc6
18. axb6, cxb6
19. Nbxc5, Bc8

If 19....bxc5, then 20. Rxa6+ Kd7, 21. Nxc5+!!...

20. Nxa6, fxe5
21. Nb4+, Resigns

If 21....Kb7, 22. Nd6+ Kc7, 23. Nf7!.

Black loses after 21....Kb5, 22. Nd6+ Kxb4, 23. Ra3!! Be7, 24. c3+ mate.

Black loses material after 21....Kd7, 22. Ra7+ Ke6, (if 22....Ke8, then 23. Nd6+) 23. Ng5+ followed by 24. Ra8 or 24. Nf7.

Black also gets nowhere after 21....Kc7, 22. Ra7+ Bb7, (if 22....Kb8, then 23. Nc6+ mate) 23. Rxb7+ Kxb7, 24. Nd6+ Kc7, 25. Nf7!.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sicilian Defense: Dragon Variation

Leningrad 1948
Sicilian Defense: Dragon Variation, Levenfish Variation

1. e4, c5
2. Nf3, d6
3. d4, cxd4
4. Nxd4, Nf6
5. Nc3, g6

The Dragon Variation of the Sicilian Defense. In this variation, Black controls the a1-h8 diagonal by placing a Bishop at g7. The Dragon Variation is one of the sharpest variations of the Sicilian Defense, making it one of the sharpest of all chess openings.

6. f4 ....

The Levenfish Variation.  It is named after Russian GM Grigory Levenfish who recommended its use in the 1937 Russian Chess Yearbook. The move 6.f4 prepares 7.e5 attacking Black's f6 Knight. One may continue 6...Nc6 or 6...Nbd7 to prevent 7.e5 before continuing with the normal Dragon moves of Bg7 and 0-0.

According to Wikipedia, 6...Bg7 is not playable, as 7. Bb5+ proves to be horrible for black. The check must be dealt with and there are 3 ways to accomplish this that should be considered. The first is Nc6, which simply loses material.  We will therefore concentrate on a piece moving to d7 to block the check. Now white can play 8. e5 attacking the black knight on f6, it doesn't matter whether the pawns are exchanged first with 8... dxe5 9. fxe5 or the pawn is left alone; the knight is almost forced to move back 9... Ng8 or 9... Nh5 and now the killing blow of 10. e6 after the only move to save material 10... fxe6 11. Nxe6 and the black position is collapsing.

6. .... Bg4
7. Bb5+, Nbd7
8. Bxd7+, Qxd7
9. Qd3, e5
10. Nf3, Bxf3
11. Qxf3, Qg4??
12. Nd5!!, Resigns

Black loses either his Knight or his Queen. A very instructive game by Viktor Korchnoi.  Spassky forgot one of the most basic rules in chess "Don't be a goose and leave a piece loose!"

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Pirc Defense: Austrian Attack, Unzicker Attack

Foxwoods Open, Connecticut 2005

1. e4, g6
2. d4, Bg7
3. Nc3, d6
4. f4 ....

The Austrian Attack. This move strengthens the central pawn structure, and provides support for future attacks.

4. .... Nf6
5. Nf3, 0-0
6. e5 ....

The Unzicker Attack. This thrust displaces the Black Knight and limits the control of g7 Bishop.

6. .... Nfd7
7. h4!, c5
8. h5, cxd4
9. hxg6!! ....

White sacrifices a piece. Black thought White was aiming for h7, so he took the gambit.

9. .... dxc3
10. gxf7+!!, Rxf7

If 10....Kh8, then 11. Ng5 h6, 12. Qd3 ... with a mating attack.

11. Bc4, Nf8
12. Ng5, e6
13. Nxf7 ...

White takes the Rook since it is now unpinned.

13. .... cxb2
14. Bxb2 ...

Black would be at an advantage if 14. Nxd8 bxa1=Q.

14. .... Qa5+
15. Kf1, Kxf7
16. Qh5+, Kg8
17. Bd3, Qb4
18. Rb1, Bd7?

A useless move. Better would be 18....Qxf4+.

19. c4 ...

An attempt to cover the f4 pawn.

19. .... Qd2
20. Bxh7+, Nxh7
21. Qxh7+, Kf8
22. Rh4, Resigns

No matter which move he makes, Black could no longer defend the g7 Bishop or the g8 square if 23. Rg4!!.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sicilian Defense: Fischer-Sozin Attack

Skopje, 1967

1. e4, c5
2. Nf3, d6
3. d4, cxd4
4. Nxd4, Nf6
5. Nc3, Nc6
6. Bc4, e6
7. Be3, Be7
8. Bb3, 0-0
9. Qe2, Qa5
10. 0-0-0, Nxd4
11. Bxd4, Bd7
12. Kb1, Bc6
13. f4, Rad8
14. Rhf1, b5

The Fischer-Sozin Attack. Promoted by Fischer, but ironically now used against him. Normally, Black prepares for the attack by ....a6 followed by ....b5. In this case, however, the pawn is fully supported.

15. f5, b4
16. fxe6, bxc3
17. exf7+ ....

Typical of Fischer, who sacrifices pieces in order to achieve the desired position.

17. .... Kh8
18. Rf5, Qb4
19. Qf1 ....

Threatening 20. Bxf6.

19. .... Nxe4
20. a3, Qb7
21. Qf4, Ba4
22. Qg4 ....

White attacks Black's weakest link. Definitely not 22. Qh6 because of 22....Bf6, 23. Rxf6 Nxf6, 24. Bxf6 Rxf7.

22. .... Bf6
23. Rxf6, Bxb3

White resigns. Black's threat at b2 and f6 would be too much. If 23. Bxc3 Nxc3+, 24. bxc3 Bc4+, 25. Ka1 Rb8! and mate follows.
Related Posts with Thumbnails