Sunday, May 30, 2010

Dutch Defense

The Dutch Defense is characterized by the moves 1. d4 f5,  with several continuing variations.  The  Dutch Defense belongs to the Closed Games Openings.  In general, this opening leads to quieter and longer struggles. Many modern Grandmasters include it in their repertoire and former World Champions Mikhail Botvinnik and  Max Euwe played it.

The following game is also known as the "Najdorf Immortal Game", one of the finest games ever played by Miguel Najdorf, a Polish chess grandmaster.

Warsaw, 1929
Dutch Defense, Queen's Knight Variation

1. d4, f5
2. c4, Nf6
3. Nc3, e6
4. Nf3, d5
5. e3, c6
6. Bd3, Bd6
7. 0-0, 0-0
8. Ne2, Nbd7
9. Ng5, Bxh2!!

 10. Kh1 ....

If 10. Kxh2, then 10....Ng4+ and 11....Qxg5 and Black has the advantage.

10. .... Ng4
11. f4, Qe8!

Black seeks a new attacking position.

12. g3, Qh5!!
13. Kg2, Bg1

If 13....Bxg3, then 14. Rh1 and White parries the threat.

14. Nxg1 ....

If 14....Rxg1, then 15. Qh2+ and then 16. Qf2 mate.

14. .... Qh2+
15. Kf3, e5!!
16. dxe5, Ndxe5+
17. fxe5, Nxe5+
18. Kf4, Ng6+
19. Kf3, f4!!
20. exf4, Bg4+
21. Kxg4 ....

White has no choice but to capture the Bishop, otherwise his Queen is lost.

21. .... Ne5+

A check out of the blue.  Now White must take the Knight.

22. fxe5, h5 mate.

A beauty!  A pawn mate added brilliance to a magnificent mating combination.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Geza Maroczy

Geza Maroczy was a leading Hungarian chess master. He was also a practicing engineer. He won the “minor” tournament at Hastings in 1895, and over the next ten years he won several top prizes in international events. In 1906 he agreed to terms for a World Championship match with Emanuel Lasker, but political problems in Cuba, where the match was to be played, caused the arrangements to be canceled.

Maroczy’s style, though sound, was very defensive in nature. Few of his games are used in textbooks due to their lack of spark and innovation. However none of his contemporaries could match his defensive skills.  After 1908, Maroczy retired from international chess to devote more time to his profession as a mathematics teacher. He did make a brief return after World War I, with some success, and today the Maroczy Bind (pawns on c4 and e4 against the Sicilian) carries his name.

The following game was one of Maroczy's finest, and known as "Maroczy's Immortal Game".

Wien, 1903
King's Gambit Accepted, MacDonnell Gambit*

* MacDonnel Gambit (4. Bc4 g4 5. Nc3) is different from the Muzio Gambit (4. Bc4 g4 5. 0-0).

1. e4, e5
2. f4, exf4
3. Nf3, g5
4. Bc4, g4
5. Nc3 ....

Like the Muzio Variation, the MacDonnell Gambit sacrifices a Knight in order to obtain attacking position on the king side.

5. .... gxf3
6. Qxf3, d6
7. d4, Be6
8. Nd5 ...

White could take the Bishop and attack outright (8. Bxe6, fxe6; 9. Qh5+ ...).  He has other plans.

8. .... c6

9. 0-0 ....

Another gambit.  White has already sacrificed his two knights!!

9. .... cxd5
10. exd5!! ....

The point of the second sacrifice.  The e-file will be left wide open if the Bishop leaves e6.

10. .... Bf5
11. Bxf4, Bg6
12. Bb5+, Nd7
13. Rae1+, Be7
14. Bxd6!!, Kf8

Black must have thought the storm is over.  He is terribly mistaken...

15. Rxe7, Nxe7
16. Re1!!, Kg7
17. Bxe7, Qa5
18. Qe2 ....

Protecting both the Bishop and the Rook at the same time seeking control of e5.

18. .... Nf8
19. Bf6+!! ....

The Bishop cannot be taken because of Qe5 mate.

19. .... Kg8
20. Qe5!! ....

The beginning of the end for Black.

20. .... h6
21. Bxh8, f6
22. Qe7!! ...

If 22. Qxf6, then 22. ... Qc7.  The text shortens the agony.

22. .... Kxh8
23. Qxf6+, Kg8
24. Re7 ....

Black resigns.  He cannot stop Qg7 mate.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Petrov's Immortal Game

Alexander Dmitrievich Petrov was born into a noble family and is usually remembered as the first great Russian chess master. From 1804, he lived in Saint Petersburg. In 1809, he defeated Kopev and Baranov, Petersburg’s leading chess players, and became Russian best player at the age of 15. Since then, over half a century Petrov was the strongest Russian player.

He is an author of the first chess handbook in Russian. He also analysed with Carl Friedrich von Jänisch the opening that later became known as the Petrov's Defense or Russian Game.

Petrov died in 1867, and was buried in the Russian Orthodox cemetery in Warsaw.

The following game is Petrov's best chess game and popularly known as "Petrov's Immortal Game".

Warsaw, 1844
Italian Game: Classical Variation, Center Attack

1. e4,  e5
2. Nf3, Nc6
3. Bc4, Bc5
4. c3, Nf6
5. d4, exd4
6. e5, Ne4
7. Bd5? ....

Better is 7. cxd4 Bb4+, 8. Nc3 Ne4, 9. Qd2 ...

7. .... Nxf2!!
8. Kxf2?, dxc3+
9. Kg3, cxb2
10. Bxb2, Ne7
11. Ng5? ....

Much better is 11. Be4, preventing Black from deploying his Knight against the King, and avoiding Bishop-Knight exchange.

11. .... Nxd5
12. Nxf7! ....

If 12. Qxd5, Qxg5+.

12. .... 0-0!!

This Queen sacrifice paved the way for a very strong attack.  The f file is wide open!  Black could not have done any better.  If 12. .... Kxf7, 13. Qxd5+ and 14. Qxc5.  If 12. .... Qe7, then 13. Nxh8 followed by 14. Qh5+ or 14. Qxd5.

13. Nxd8, Bf2+
14. Kh3, d6+

Now, the two Black Bishops are active.

15. e6, Nf4+!!

Maintaining the strong attack of Bishop Pair.  Chess theory holds that the power of two Bishops working in tandem is one of the most powerful forces on the chessboard.

16. Kg4, Nxe6
17. Nxe6, Bxe6+
18. Kg5, Rf5+
19. Kg4, h5+!
20. Kh3, Rf3 mate.

Note that White's Queen has not moved an inch.  The most powerful game piece has been rendered useless.  Not only that, White's other pieces are still in their original positions.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Famous Short Game

This post features one of the most famous short games of all time, played by two players of undoubted GM strength.

Vienna, 1910

1. e4, c6
2. d4, d5
3. Nc3, dxe4
4. Nxe4, Nf6
5. Qd3!? ....

The standard play is 5. Nxf6+, etc. Black can recapture with either pawn.

5. .... e5??

Wrong. Black breaks prematurely in the center. The best line for Black was clearly: 5...Nbd7!, 6.Bd2  Nxe4, 7.Qxe4  Nf6, 8.Qd3  Bg4!?, 9.f3 Be6, 10.0-0-0  (10.Ne2!? Qd7, 11.0-0-0 0-0-0, 12.Kb1 )   10...Qd6, 11.Kb1 0-0-0, etc.

6. dxe5, Qa5+
7. Bd2!! ....

Setting an incredibly deep trap.  If 7.Nc3!? Qxe5+, 8.Qe3  Bd6.

7. .... Qxe5

8. 0-0-0!, Nxe4

Black takes the bait. Let us forgive the great Tartakower this small indiscretion, for the trap was very unusual.  If 8. .... Qxe4? 9. Re1 and White wins the Queen.

9. Qd8+!!, Kxd8
10. Bg5+ ....

Black resigns. If 10. .... Kc7, 11. Bd8 mate. Or 10. .... Ke8, 11. Rd8 mate.

One of the prettiest and most famous of all miniature games.  It was said that Reti played this very quickly, and it might have been a prepared trap. Even if that was true, it makes the moves no less beautiful.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Akiba Rubinstein
“A Master of Openings, Pawn structures and Endgame”

Akiba Kivelovic Rubinstein was born December 12, 1882 in the Polish border town of Stawiski.  He learned to play chess at the age of 16 in school where he played his classmates, and afterwards, his thoughts were on nothing else.  He gave up theological studies for a professional chess career.  In 1903 he placed 5th at a tournament in Kiev. After a few years of skill development, Rubinstein entered the international scene being a powerful force to contend and was one of the world's dominant players from 1905 to 1911.

  As we learn of his many historical achievements, keep in mind that Rubinstein had a nervous disorder known as anthrophobia (fear of people and society) for his entire life. His poor mental health was clearly an extremely difficult disability for him to contend with and caused him enormous suffering throughout his life.  But, in spite of his disability, Rubinstein was able to compete brilliantly for many years with the best Chess players in the world and his games are studied and treasured to this day.

  Rubinstein never had a chance to play for the Chess World Championship but he was considered the strongest Chess player who did not have the opportunity to compete for the title. In 1912, Akiba Rubinstein won tournament after tournament: he won five consecutive International tournaments and the year was dubbed the Rubinstein year, this had never been done before in the history of Chess!

  The beginning of deep psychological problems that eventually turned  into full-fledged mental illness, the appearance of the Cuban Chess genius Capablanca, and the advent of World War I all combined to dash his championship hopes. In 1914 Nicholas II, the Czar of Russia, organized a tournament in St. Petersburg and invited all the greatest players in the world.  The top five finishers would be given the title "Grandmaster".

  Tragically, Akiba Rubinstein failed to qualify in the top five. Though he remained one of the world's strongest players until about 1921, his pathological shyness and the erosion of his confidence led to a gradual disintegration of his powers.  After World War I, Rubinstein continued to play in tournaments with moderate success but he did not revisit his former high level of play until he won the Vienna tournament in 1922, ahead of Alexander Alekhine and Richard Reti.

  Rubinstein's style formed a bridge between the styles of Steinitz and the players of today. A mastery of openings, a deep understanding of the consequences of different types of pawn structures, and a skill in the endgame that has never been surpassed, were all part of his repertoire.  Most notable, however, was his ability to connect the openings he played with the kinds of endgames that could be reached from them.

  This incredibly deep planning is commonly seen in modern champions, but it was virtually unheard of in Rubinstein's day. Among the Chess players who deserve our highest reverence, Akiba Rubinstein stands out as a unique contributor to Chess. His noble career and life of great suffering stands as a beacon of light to all who study the game of Chess as well as those who study life itself.  Today, Rubinstein's games are carefully studied by all the finest players.

  His moves and concepts still seem fresh, his handling of the endgame is still remarkable, and his opening ideas are still all the rage. After 1932, Rubinstein never competed in chess tournaments again, although he was invited to do so. His lifelong struggle with his mental health worsened and he spent time in a sanitarium.

  He spent his final days in Belgium with his family until his death in 1961.

The following game is considered one of the greatest chess games of all time and rightfully dubbed as "Rubintein's Immortal Game".  It also contains two of the prettiest chess moves ever played.

Lodz, 1907
Tarrasch Defense

1. d4, d5
2. Nf3, e6
3. e3, c5?!

The Tarrasch Defense, which is considered a variation of the Queen's Gambit Declined.  With this third move, Black makes an aggressive bid for central space. After White plays cxd5 and dxc5, Black will be left with an isolated pawn on d5. Such a pawn may be weak, since it can no longer be defended by other pawns, but it also grants Black a foothold in the center.

The opening was advocated by the German master Siegbert Tarrasch who enjoyed the mobility that Black received, even at the cost of the isolated pawn. Theory has often frowned on this opening -- and even labeled it UNSOUND -- but it has been repeatedly used, and revived, by great masters including Tal, Spassky, and Kasparov.

4. c4, Nc6
5. Nc3, Nf6
6. dxc5!? ....

White isolates Black's d5 pawn, but in the process it activates Black's dark-squared Bishop.  Tartakower commented that the move is less consistent than 6.a3 or 6.Bd3, maintaining as long as possible the tension in the center.

6. .... Bxc5
7. a3, a6!
8. b4, Bd6!
9. Bb2!? ....

Not 9.cxd5!? exd5, 10.Nxd5?? Nxd5, 11.Qxd5?? Bxb4+  which wins the White Queen.

9. .... 0-0
10. Qd2!? ....

White could try 10. cxd5 exd5, 11. Be2 ....   or 10. Bd3!? ...  Tartakower preferred 10. Qc2.

10. .... Qe7!

Schlechter:  "A fine sacrifice of a pawn. If 11.cxd5 exd5, 12.Nxd5? Nxd5, 13.Qxd5 Rd8! and Black has a strong attack."

11. Bd3?! ....

Other annotations say that this is a bad move because White loses tempo.  Better was 11.cxd5!? exd5,12.Nxd5?! Nxd5, 13.Qxd5 Rd8, 14.Qb3 (14.Qh5? Bxb4+!) Be6.

11. .... dxc4
12. Bxc4, b5
13. Bd3, Rd8
14. Qe2!?, Bb7
15. 0-0, Ne5!
16. Nxe5, Bxe5

Tartakower:  "Threatening to win a pawn by 17....Bxh2+, 18.Kxh2 Qd6+. White's next move provides against this, but loosens the kingside defenses."

17. f4, Bc7
18. e4!?, Rac8
19. e5!?, Bb6+
20. Kh1, Ng4!
21. Be4 ....

 Schlechter:  "There is no defense; e.g., 21.Bxh7+ Kxh7, 22.Qxg4 Rd2 etc.; or 21.h3 Qh4., 22.Qxg4 Qxg4 23.hxg4 Rxd3, threatening ...Rh3 mate and ...Rxc3; or 21.Qxg4 Rxd3, 22.Ne2 Rc2, 23.Bc1 g6! threatening ...h5; or 21.Ne4 Qh4, 22.h3 (if 22.g3 Qxh2+ 23.Qxh2 Nxh2 and wins.) Rxd3, 23.Qxd3 Bxe4, 24.Qxe4 Qg3, 25.hxg4 Qh4+ mate."

21. .... Qh4!
22. g3 ....

Schlechter:  "Or 22.h3 Rxc3!, 23.Bxc3 Bxe4, 24.Qxg4 Qxg4, 25.hxg4 Rd3 wins. *** Tartakower: The alternative 22.h3, parrying the mate, would lead to the following brilliant lines of play: 22...Rxc3! (an eliminating sacrifice, getting rid of the knight, which overprotects the bishop on e4) 23.Bxc3 (or 23.Qxg4 Rxh3+, 24.Qxh3 Qxh3+, 25.gxh3 Bxe4+, 26.Kh2 Rd2+, 27.Kg3 Rg2+, 28.Kh4 Bd8+, 29.Kh5 Bg6+ mate) 23...Bxe4+ 24.Qxg4 (if 24.Qxe4 Qg3 25.hxg4 Qh4+ mate) 24...Qxg4, 25.hxg4 Rd3 with the double threat of 26...Rh3+ mate and 26....Rxc3, and Black wins. Beautiful as are these variations, the continuation in the text is still more splendid."

22. .... Rxc3!!
23. gxh4, Rd2!!
24. Qxd2, Bxe4
25. Qg2, Rh3

 White resigns.  The only possible replies are 26. Rf3 and 26. Rf2.  In both cases, Black takes the Rook with the Bishop, and Rxh2 mate.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

When Pawns Attack

What happens when pawns attack?  The game below, one of Spassky's brilliant games, illustrates this chess phenomenon. 

Beograd 1970
Nimzo-Larsen Attack: Modern Variation

(For a thorough discussion of Larsen's Opening, also called Nimzo-Larsen Attack, please visit Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)

1. b3, e5
2. Bb2, Nc6
3. c4, Nf6
4. Nf3, e4
5. Nd4, Bc5
6. Nxc6, dxc6

This move frees the c8 Bishop.

7. e3, Bf5
8. Qc2, Qe7
9. Be2, 0-0-0

Better than King-side castling.  Notice that the Rook immediately controls the d file.

10. f4, Ng4
11. g3, h5!

The beginning of a pawn barrage.

12. h3, h4!!

13. hxg4, hxg3!!
14. Rg1, Rh1!!!

An unexpected sacrifice.

15. Rxh1, g2!
16. Rf1 ....

If 16. Rg1, then Black plays Qh4+, followed by Qf2 or Qh1.

16. .... Qh4+
17. Kd1, gxf1=Q

White resigns. For after 18. Bxf1, Black plays 18. .... Bxg4+, 19. Be2 Qh1+ and mate next move. If 19. Kc1 Qe1+ and mate next move.

A splendid pawn attack.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Boris Spassky

Boris Spassky was the 10th World Chess Champion (from 1969 to 1972). He was born in 1937 in Leningrad, Russia. He learned chess as a youngster in the Urals where he lived during the Second World War. He became international master in 1953, and junior world champion in 1955 and received his grandmaster title in the same year. He won the World Championship against Tigran Petrosian in 1969 and became one of the most popular of all champions with his naturally polite, friendly disposition.

In 1972 American Bobby Fischer challenged Spassky for the title of World Champion which was held in Reykjavik, Iceland. This most publicized world championship in chess history took place during the Cold War between the USA and the USSR. As a consequence both players were under considerable pressure to win. When Fischer defeated Spassky, 35 years of Soviet domination of the world championship also ended. Spassky returned to his homeland in disgrace.

After this match Spassky continued to play at top level and won the 1973 Soviet championship and other international tournaments. He still plays occasionally today and is a frequent participant in the annual Ladies vs. Veterans competitions.

(Extracted from the Chess Corner.)

The following game is one of Spassky's Immortal Games.

URS Championship 1960
King's Gambit Accepted; Modern Defense

1. e4, e5
2. f4, exd4
3. Nf3, d5

Recommended variation. This allows Black to free his two Bishops for defense.

4. exd5, Bd6

If 4. ... Qxd5, 5. Nc3 Qd8, 6. Bc4 ... Black's move 4 prevents the White Bishop from going to c4.

5. Nc3, Ne7
6. d4! ....

The double-pawn served to strengthen White's control of the center.

6. .... 0-0
7. Bd3, Nd7
8. 0-0, h6
9. Ne4, Nxd5

Black took the poisoned pawn, not knowing of an impending attack at the center board.

10. c4!!, Ne3
11. Bxe3, fxe3
12. c5!!, Be7
13. Bc2 ...

A preparatory move, allowing White to move its Queen to an attacking position.

13. .... Re8
14. Qd3!, e2

Intended for White's consumption. If 15. Qxe2, f5!; 16. Knight move, Bxc5!

15. Nd6!! ....

A real shocker! GM Soltis commented that this is one of the deepest sacrifices ever.

15. .... Nf8

What happens if the queening pawn takes the rook? Let us see... If 15. .... exf1, 16. Rxf1 Nf8, 17. Nxf7!! Kxf7, 18. Ng5++ Kg8, 19. Bb3+ Kh8, 20. Nf7+ and wins the Queen. If 17. .... Qd7, 18. N3f5 Qe6, 19. Bb3!! with a tremendous attack.

16. Nxf7!!, exf1=Q+
17. Rxf1, Bf5

This move is intended to free Black's Queen. It looks like a useless move, but Black has nothing better. If 17......Qd2, then 18. Bb3 attacks the King.

18. Qxf5, Qd7
19. Qf4, Bf6
20. N3e5, Qe7
21. Bb3!!, Bxe5
22. Nxe5+, Kh7

If 23. .... Kh8, then 24. Qe4 followed by 25. Rxf8 with an attack we see at the end of this game.

23. Qe4+, Resigns

Black loses his Queen after 23. ....g6, 24. Qd5!! Qe6  (Not 24....Ne6, 25. Rf7+), 25. Rf7+ Kh8  (Not 25....Kg8, 26. Qxb7 and White wins by a fork.); 26. Rxf8 enabling capture of the Black Queen.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Ukraine Immortal

The game got its name because it was played at Ukraine in 1931.

Spanish Game (Ruy Lopez), Steinitz Defense

1. e4, e5
2. Nf3, Nc6
3. Bb5, d6
4. d4, Bd7
5. Nc3, Nf6
6. 0-0, Nxd4
7. Bxd7+, Qxd7
8. Nxd4, exd4
9. Qxd4, Be7
10. Rd1 ....

A preparatory move...

10. .... 0-0
11. e5!, Ne8
12. Bf4, a5
13. Rd3, Ra6
14. Re1, Qf5
15. Nd5 ....

Attacking the Bishop at e7 and threatening double-check...

15. .... Bd8
16. exd6, Nxd6
17. Rg3 ....

Threatening mate at g7...

17. .... f6
18. Bh6!!, Rf7

Black thinks he has successfully defended his position.  Here comes another bomb...

19. Nb4!!!, axb4
20. Qxd6!!!, Qd7

Black cannot take White's Queen because of a mating  threat: 21. Re8+ Rf8, 22. Rxg7+ Kh8, 23. Rxf8 mate.

Now, if 21. Qxd7 Rxd7, 22 Re8+ Kf7, 23. Rxg7+ Kxe8 and the game favors Black.

21. Qd5!! ....

Still the Queen cannot be taken because of the threat at e8.

21. ....Kf8

Black removes his King from the pin, and eliminates the threat at e8.  He must have thought he is safe, but here comes another attack...

22. Rxg7!!, Qxd5

If 22..... Rxg7 then 23. Qxd7 with no compensation.

23. Rg8!!!+ ....

Black resigns. For after 23.....Kxg8, 24. Re8+ Rf8, 25. Rxf8 mate.   An amazing brilliancy.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Marshall's Immortal Queen Sacrifice

DSB Kongress XVIII, 1912
Sicilian Defense, Marshall Gambit

1. d4, e6
2. e4, d5
3. Nc3, c5
4. Nf3, Nc6
5. exd5, exd5
6. Be2, Nf6
7. 0-0, Be7
8. Bg5, 0-0
9. dxc5, Be6

If 9..... Bxc5, then 10. Bxf6 Qxf6, 11. Nxd5 ... and White has a strong attack.

10. Nd4, Bxc5!

The pawn is there for the taking.

11. Nxe6, fxe6
12. Bg4, Qd6
13. Bh3, Rae8

Black strengthens the center.

14. Qd2, Bb4

This move effectively pins the Knight.

15. Bxf6, Rxf6
16. Rad1, Qc5

Putting pressure on the Knight at c3...

17. Qe2 ....

White disregards Black's threat ...

17. .... Bxc3
18. bxc3, Qxc3
19. Rxd5, Nd4!
20. Qh5, Ref8

Escapes threat and attacks the f2 pawn...

21. Re5, Rh6!!

22. Qg5, Rxh3!!

Now, if 23. gxh3 then 23....Nf3++ and White loses his Queen.

23. Rc5, Qg3!!!

And mate next move...

The Queen cannot be taken.  If 24. hxg3 then 24....Ne2 mate.  If 24. Qxg3, then 24....Ne2+, 25. Kh1 Nxg3+, 6. fxg3 Rxf1 mate.  If 24. fxg3 Ne2+, 25. Kh1 Rxf1 mate.

An amazing finish!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Horwitz Defense

The opening was popularized by Bernard Horwitz, then one of the Berlin Pleiades. After settling in England in 1845 he played in the 1851 tournament, beating Henry Edward Bird but then being knocked out by Howard Staunton. His true love was chess problems and together with Josef Kling wrote the classic book 'Chess Studies'. He was the winner of the first study composing tourney in 1862.
The Horwitz Defense begins with 1. d4, e6.  Possible continuations include 2. e4 (the most popular) and 2.c4.   The game may be transposed into a Benoni or Sicilian Defense.

The following game is known in other chess literature as the "Immortal King Walk Game".  Play it and find out why.

London 1912
Horwitz Defense

1. d4, e6
2. Nf3, f5
3. Nc3, Nf6
4. Bg5, Be7
5. Bxf6, Bxf6
6. e4, fxe4
7. Nxe4, b6
8. Ne5, 0-0
9. Bd3!! ....

Preparing onslaught on the king's side.

9. .... Bb7
10. Qh5, Qe7

11. Qxh7!! ....

A Queen sacrifice that shocked everyone including Thomas.

11. .... Kxh7
12. Nxf6!!+, Kh6

If 12. .... Kh8, then 13. Neg6! mate.

13. Neg4+, Kg5
14. h4+, Kf4
15. g3+, Kf3
16. Be2+, Kg2
17. Rh2+, Kg1
18. Kd2 mate.

A nice ending to a beautiful Queen sacrifice. Notice that the enemy King is brought all the way to the back rank.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Bobby Fischer

I am the best player in the world Robert James "Bobby" Fischer (born March 9, 1943), won the World Chess Championship on September 1, 1972 and lost the title when he failed to defend it on April 3, 1975. He is considered to be one of the most gifted chess players of all time and, despite his prolonged absence from competitive play, is still among the best known of all chess players.

"I am the best player in the world and I am here to prove it." - Bobby Fischer 

Not to be outdone, Fischer has his own Immortal Game.  This game is considered one of the best games he ever played.

US Championship, 1963
King's Indian Defense, Fianchetto Variation

1. d4, Nf6
2. c4, g6
3. g3, c6
4. Bg2, d5
5. cxd5 ....

Qb3 creates more tension. - Fischer

5. .... cxd5
6. Nc3, Bg7
7. e3, 0-0
8. Nge2, Nc6
9. 0-0, b6
10. b3 .....

White intends to develop his own Bishop at a3.

10. .... Ba6
11. Ba3, Re8
12. Qd2, e5
13. dxe5, Nxe5
14. Rfd1 ....

Fischer thinks that 14. Rad1 is more superior.

14. .... Nd3!!
15. Qc2 ....

White plans to capture the Knight by 19. Rxd3.

15. .... Nxf2!!
16. Kxf2, Ng4+
17. Kg1, Nxe3
18. Qd2 ....

Adding pressure on the d4 pawn.

18. .... Nxg2!!!

This dazzling move came as a shocker.  At this point, two grandmasters who were commenting on the play for the spectators in a separate room believed White had a won game.

19. Kxg2, d4!
20. Nxd4, Bb7+!!
21. Kf1 ....

If 21. Kg1, then 21. .... Re1+, 22. Rxe1 or 22. Qxe1 Bxd4+!! and the power of two Bishops comes into play.

21. .... Qd7 !!

White resigns, for he will lose his Queen after 22. Qf2 Qh3+, 23. Kg1 Re1+!!, 24. Rxe1 Bxd4.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Opera House Massacre

Chess game of Paul Morphy versus the Duke of Brunswick and Count Isourard at the Paris Opera House, 1858. Philidor Defense

1. e4, e5
2. Nf3, d6
3. d4 .....

A developing move.

3. ..... Bg4
4. dxe5, Bxf3
5. Qxf3, dxe5
6. Bc4 ...

Threatening Qxf7 mate.

6. ..... Nf6
7. Qb3 .....

This move forks b7 and f7.

7. ..... Qe7
8. Nc3 .....

White decided against Qxb7 because of 8. ... Qb4; 9. Qxb4 Bxb4. A simple line leaving Black with an active Bishop.

8. ..... c6

Black defends the b7 pawn and secures the b5 and d5 squares.

9. Bg5, b5
10. Nxb5!!, cxb5
11. Bxb5+, Nbd7
12. 0-0-0 .....

Adding pressure on the d7 Knight...

12. ..... Rd8

13. Rxd7, Rxd7
14. Rd1!! .....

Adding another pressure...

14. ..... Qe6
15. Bxd7+, Nxd7
16. Qb8+!!!, Nxb8
17. Rd8+ mate.

A beautiful finish!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Evergreen Game

This post features another magnificent game by Adolf Anderssen.  Containing one of the most brilliant attacks ever recorded, this game is immortalized as the Evergreen Game.

You may also want to view Adolf Anderssen's  The Immortal Game.

Berlin, 1852
Ruy Lopez Opening

1. e4, e5
2. Nf3, Nc6
3. Bc4, Bc5
4. b4 .....

The Evans Gambit - a sharp try for control of the center and attacks on f7.  Gary Kasparov played the Evans Gambit a number of times in modern grandmaster play, a testimony to its soundness.

4. ..... Bxb4
5. c3, Ba5

Black keeps the pressure on c3. This is the only move that prevents White from getting a firm pawn post on d4.

6. d4, exd4
7. 0-0 .....

An extra aggressive castling maneuver. Now the PIN on the c3 is broken, enabling White to get a pawn center if given the opportunity. And now the Rook is activated to slide over to the critical e file.

7. ..... d3

Black thinks White will take the pawn, hindering the latter's development and effectively stopped White from getting a strong pawn center.

8. Qb3 ......

Attacking the weak f7 pawn.

8. ..... Qf6
9. e5 .....

Black cannot take the e pawn because of the resulting pin by Re1.

9. ..... Qg6
10. Re1 .....

White controls the e file. Although the file is not yet open, White puts a tremendous pressure on the center.

10. ..... Nge7
11. Ba3, b5?

An attempt to remove some of the pressure off f7. Black should have castled immediately.

12. Qxb5, Rb8
13. Qa4, Bb6

Black adds pressure on the weak f2 pawn, at the same time relieving the c6 Knight of the responsibility of defending it.

14. Nbd2, Bb7

Black would have been better off if he castled at this point. Not castling early in the game will lead to his downfall.

15. Ne4 .....

Centralizing the Knight where it attacks key squares.

15. ..... Qf5

A needless move. Black had better moves like d2.

16. Bxd3, Qh5
17. Nf6+!! .....

The beginning of one of the most brilliant attacks in chess.

17. ..... gxf6
18. exf6, Rg8!!

A strong move that activates the rook, attacks the f3 Knight, and threatens mate.

19. Rad1!! .....

White offers the f3 Knight in exchange for a brilliant attack.

19. ..... Qxf3
20. Rxe7+!!, Nxe7

Black would have done better with Kd8.

21. Qxd7+!! .....

Sacrificing the Queen for an unstoppable mate.

21. ..... Kxd7
22. Bf5+!!, Ke8
23. Bd7+, Kf8
24. Bxe7 mate.

Brilliant! If black would have just castled back when he had the chance, none of this would have happened.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Immortal Game

A game that has made into the annals of chess books is presented to you in the following post. Adolf Anderssen is forever immortalized through this brilliant game...hundreds of years and thousands of strong players later.  He is still remembered today.

Anderssen's biography may be viewed at Morphy's Opponents.

London, 1851
King's Gambit, Kieseritzky Variation

1. e4, e5
2. f4, exf4
3. Bc4 .....

The usual move is Nf3 which clearly stops Qh4. The text 3. Bc4 deals with it by creating a safe flight square for the King.

3. ..... Qh4+
4. Kf1 .....

Although White cannot castle, the pawn would be easy to win back, and the Black position is compromised by a badly placed Queen prone to attack.

4. ..... b5??

A strange move that sacrifices a pawn for no good reason.

5. Bxb5, Nf6
6. Nf3, Qh6
7. d3 .....

Protecting e4 and activating the c1 Bishop which bites down on the f4 pawn.

7. ..... Nh5
8. Nh4 .....

White is eyeballing the f5 square.

8. ..... Qg5
9. Nf5, c6!

Black creates a pawn lever with tempo.

10. g4!! .....

Taking advantage of the pinned f4 pawn, and offering to trade the b5 Bishop for the h5 Knight.

10. ..... Nf6
11. Rg1 .....

White sacrifices the b5 Bishop in exchange for an attack on the king side.

11. ..... cxb5
12. h4!!, Qg6
13. h5, Qg5
14. Qf3 .....

Threatening BxP trapping the Queen.

14. ..... Ng8

The only way to save his Queen.

15. Bxf4!! .....

Although White is a piece down, he is starting to develop and getting a strong position.

15. ..... Qf6
16. Nc3, Bc5
17. Nd5!! .....

Attacking the Queen and putting the Knight in a sharp OUTPOST position.

17. ..... Qxb2
18. Bd6! .....

White offers both rooks.

18. ..... Bxg1
19. e5 !!, Qxa1+
20. Ke2, Na6

Ba6! would have been Black's salvation.

21. Nxg7+!, Kd8
22. Qf6+!!, Nxf6
23. Be7 mate.

A beautiful finish. White completes mate with only two knights, one bishop and a handful of pawns.
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