Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Zukertort Opening

The Zukertort Opening was already discussed in one previous blog.  The following game demonstrates the Nimzo-Larsen Variation of the opening.

Leningrad, 1927

1. Nf3, Nf6
2. b3 ....

The Nimzo-Larsen Variation.  It aims to develop the c1 Bishop at once.

2. .... g6
3. Bb2, Bg7
4. g3, d5
5. Bg2, c5
6. 0-0, 0-0
7. d3, Nc6
8. c4, d4
9. Nbd2, Qc7
10. h3, Nh5
11. Ne4, b6
12. a3, Bb7
13. Qc2, f5
14. Ned2, e5!!

Solidifying the central pawn structure.  This is crucial to the outcome of the game.

15. b4, Rae8

Black correctly assessed that the center is more important than his right flank.  If 15....cxb4, 16. axb4 Nxb4, 17. Qb3 a5, 18. Ba3.... then the resulting position favors White.

16. Rfb1, e4!!
17. dxe4, fxe4
18. Ng5 ....

It is unwise to take the pawn. If 18. Nxe4 cxb4, 19. axb4 Nxb4, 20. Qb3 Bxe4 then Black gains material.

18. .... Rxf2!!
19. Ndxe4 ....

 If 19. Kxf2 then Black replies with 19....Qxg3!! Kg1, 20. Nxb4 threatening 21. Qxg2 mate.

19..... Nxb4
20. axb4, Rxg2+
21. Kxg2, Qxg3+
22. Kf1 ....

If 22. Kh1, then Black continues with 22....Be5, 23. e3 Qxg5...

22. .... Bxe4
23. Qxe4 ....

No other choice. For if 23. Nxe4 Rf8+...

23. .... Rxe4
24. Nxe4, Qxh3+
White resigns.

No matter where the White King goes, he will have a hard time defending his position (i.e. 25. Kg1 Nf4!! and mate next move. If 25. Ke1 or Kf2 Black still weaves a mating net with combination of Bh6, Nf4, Qe3, or Qh1).

Monday, June 28, 2010

Ruy Lopez Opening

Paris 1858

1. e4, e5
2. Nf3, Nc6
3. Bb5, Nf6
4. d4, Nxd4
5. Nxd4, exd4
6. e5, c6?

A weak move, seen as the ultimate cause of this game's loss.

7. 0-0, cxb5
8. Bg5 ....

This pin is seen as much stronger than taking the Knight at once.

8. .... Be7

The correct reply.  If 8....h6 then White replies with 9. exf6 hxg5, 10. Re1+!! and White wins an extra piece with an overwhelming position.

9. exf6, Bxf6
10. Re1+, Kf8
11. Bxf6, Qxf6
12. c3, d5
13. cxd4, Be6
14. Nc3, a6
15. Re5, Rd8
16. Qb3, Qe7
17. Rae1 ...

Strengthens the e-file.  If 17. Nxd5, then Black replies with 17....Qd6, and the Knight is pinned.

17. .... g5

Black prevents the advance of the f-pawn.

18. Qd1, Qf6
19. R1e3!!, Rg8?

A losing move.  However, the game at this point is beyond recovery.

20. Rxe6, Resigns

White is now positionally and materially superior.  If 21....fxe6, then 22. Rf3!! and Black loses his Queen.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Sicilian Defense, French Variation

Moscow-Leningrad Match 1930
Sicilian Defense, French Variation

1. e4, c5
2. Nf3, e6
3. d4, cxd4
4. Nxd4, Nf6
5. Nd2 ....

The French Variation of the Sicilian Defense.  Instead of the normal 6. Nc3, White intends the keep open the b2-f6 diagonal for future attack.

5. .... d6
6. Bd3, Nc6
7. Nxc6, bxc6
8. 0-0, Be7
9. b3, 0-0
10. Bb2, Nd7
11. f4, Bf6
12. e5!, dxe5
13. Ne4, exf4
14. Nxf6, Nxf6
15. Rxf4 ....

By a series of moves, White managed to control the b2-f6 diagonal, which would be crucial to the outcome of the game.

15. .... Re8
16. Rxf6!! ....

 16. .... gxf6
17. Qg4+, Kf8

If Black chooses 17.... Kh8, then 18. Qh5!! and 19. Qxh7 mate.

18. Ba3+, Re7
19. Bxh7!!, Qb6+
20. Kh1, Ke8

Faced with a mating threat at g8, Black sought an escape square for his King.

21. Rd1, Resigns

The escape square is blocked!  There is no way Black could prevent the mating move 22. Qg8.  Superb play. This game is listed as one the best chess games of all time.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

King's Gambit Accepted

Once again, we are posting an article on the King's Gambit.  In the gambit, the f4 pawn is being offered so that White could build up a strong center with d2-d4.  Theory has shown that in order for Black to maintain his f4 pawn, he must weaken his king-side.

Paris 1858
King's Gambit Accepted, Kieseritzky Gambit Berlin Defenese

1. e4, e5
2. f4, exf4
3. Nf3, g5
4. h4, g4
5. Ne5 ....

The Kieseritzky Gambit, said to be stronger and positional in nature. The Gambit was used by Boris Spassky to beat Bobby Fisher in a famous game during the year 1960.

5. .... Nf6
6. Nxg4, Nxe4
7. d3, Ng3
8. Bxf4 ....

White sacrifices a Rook in exchange for an attack on the uncastled Black King.

8. .... Nxh1
9. Qe2+, Qe7

If 9....Be7 then 10. Nf6+ Kf8, 11. Bh6+ mate.

10. Nf6+, Kd8
11. Bxc7!!, Kxc7
12. Nd5+, Kd8
13. Nxe7, Bxe7
14. Qg4, d6
15. Qf4, Rg8
16. Qxf7, Bxh4+
17. Kd2, Re8
18. Na3, Na6
19. Qh5 ....

Threatening both Bishop and Knight.

19. .... Bf6
20. Qxh1, Bxb2
21. Qh4+, Kd7

If 21....Re7 then 22. Re1!! with a great attack.

22. Rb1, Bxa3
23. Qa4+, Resigns

With material and positional advantage, White wins after 23....Kd8, 24. Qxa3.  A simple yet elegant finish.

To see the POPULAR VARIATIONS of this opening, visit  KING'S GAMBIT ACCEPTED.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Alekhine Defense

The Alekhine Defense was featured in a previous post (Adams vs. Kline). The following game again illustrates the capability of the opening to provide avenues of attack for aggressive players.

USSR 1977
Alekhine Defense: Modern Variation

1. e4. Nf6
2. e5, Nd5
3. d4, d6
4. Nf3, Bg4
5. Be2, c6
6. c4, Nb6
7. Nbd2, N8d7
8. Ng5!, Bxe2
9. e6!! ....

Threatening mate at f7.

9. .... f6
10. Qxe2, fxg5
11. Ne4, Nf6

If 11....h6. then 12. Qh5+ mate.

12. Nxg5, Qc7

Black avoids a fork by the White Knight and creates an escape square for his King.

13. Nf7, Rg8
14. g4!, h6
15. h4, d5

Black hoped to free his Queen, but it was not to be.

16. c5, Nc8
17. g5, Ne4

Black correctly avoided 17....hxg5, 18. hxg5 allowing White to activate his h1 Rook.

18. gxh6, gxh6
19. Qh5, Nf6
20. Nd6+!!, Kd8

The Knight cannot be captured because of the double-check.

21. Qe8+!!!, Resigns

A dazzling finish reminiscent of medieval times. If Black's Knight captures the Queen, then White's Knight mates with 22. Nf7+.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Polish Opening

The Polish Opening or The Sokolsky Opening (also called The Orangutan) is an uncommon chess opening in which White opens with 1.b4. According to ChessBase, in master level chess, out of the twenty possible first moves from White, 1.b4 ranks ninth in popularity.

Vienna 1895

1. b4, e6
2. Bb2, Nf6
3. a3, c5
4. b5, d5
5. d4, Qa5+
6. Nc3? ....

Why not c3? If Black continues 6.....Ne4, then 7. Qd3.

6. .... Ne4!
7. Qd3, cxd4
8. Qxd4, Bc5

 9. Qxg7, Bxf2+
10. Kd1, d4!!

White cannot take the Knight because of a mating threat at e1.

11. Qxh8+, Ke7
12. Qxc8, dxc3
13. Bc1, Nd7

This move secures the d file for Black's attack.

14. Qxa8, Qxb5
15. Bf4, Qd5+
16. Kc1, Be3+
17. Bxe3, Nf2!!!

The move that clinches victory for Black.

18. Bxf2 ....

Forced, since Black threatens mate at d1.

18. .... Qd2+
19. Kb1, Qd1+
20. Ka2, Qxc2 mate

The culmination of a brilliant attack.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Zukertort / Reti Opening

The Zukertort Opening is also known by another term "Reti Opening" and is characterized by the opening move 1. Nf3 although most sources define the RĂ©ti more narrowly by the sequence 1.Nf3 d5 2.c4.

It Bled, 1961
Zukertort Opening: Sicilian Invitation

1. Nf3, c5
2. g3, Nc6
3. Bg2, g6
4. 0-0, Bg7
5. d3, e6
6. e4, Nge7
7. Re1, 0-0
8. e5, d6
9. exd6, Qxd6
10. Nbd2, Qc7
11. Nb3, Nd4
12. Bf4, Qb6
13. Ne5, Nxb3
14. Nc4 ....

A tempo move.

14. .... Qb5
15. axb3, a5

The pawn advance prevents 16. Ra5.

16. Bd6, Bf6

If 16. ... Re8 then 17. Be5! ... creating a potential fork attack on d6 by Knight.

17. Qf3, Kg7
18. Re4 ! ....

Fischer commented at this point that Petrosian is preparing for a very beautiful finish.

18. .... Rd8
19. Qxf6+!!

19. .... Kxf6
20. Be5+, Kg5

If 20....Kf5, then 21. Ne3+ Kg5, 22. Bg7 ... with the same outcome as in the actual game.

21. Bg7, Resigns

There is no hope after 21....Nf5, 22. h4+ Nxh4, 23. gxh4+ then 24. Bf3+ or Bh3+ whichever way the Black King goes.

If 21….h5, then 22. h4+ Kf5, 23. Bh3 or Ne3 mate.

If 21….f5, then 22. h4+ Kh5, 23. Bf3 mate.

A gem of a game!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Nimzo-Indian Defense, Classical Variation

The Nimzo-Indian Defence is a chess opening characterized by the moves:
1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 e6
3. Nc3 Bb4
This opening was developed by Aron Nimzowitsch who introduced it in the early 20th century, though the opening was played between Steinitz and Englisch in 1882. Unlike most “Indian” openings the Nimzo-Indian Defense does not involve an immediate fianchetto, although Black often plays b6 and Bb7. It can also transpose into lines of the Queen's Gambit or Queen's Indian Defense. The Nimzo-Indian is a very popular and sound defense to 1. d4.

The following game is also known as the "Atalik Immortal Game".

Maroczy Mem, 1997

1. d4, Nf6
2. c4, e6
3. Nc3, Bb4
4. Qc2, d5
5. a3, Bxc3+
6. Qxc3 ....

Stronger for White is 6. bxc3 dxc4, 7. e4! ... and followed by 8. e5!!

6. .... Ne4
7. Qc2, Nc6
8. e3, e5
9. cxd5, Qxd5
10. Bc4, Qa5+
11. b4, Nxb4
12. Qxe4, Nc2+
13. Ke2 ....

If 13. Kd1 then Black replies with Qa4 and White's Bishop would be in danger.

13. .... Qe1+
14. Kf3, Nxa1
15. Bb2, 0-0
16. Kg3 ....

Moving the King away from possible checks.

16. .... Kh8
17. dxc5, Be6
18. Nf3, Qxh1
19. Ng5, g6
20. Nxf7+ ....

20. .... Rxf7

If 21.... Bxf7 then 22. e6+!! Kg8, 23. e7!! Rfe8, 24. Qd4!! with a mating attack.

21. Bxe6, Rg7
22. Bf7 ....

Securing the promotion square...  White would make the same move if the g7 Rook is in e7.

22. .... Rxf7
23. e6+!!, Kg8
24. Qd4, Kf8
25. exf7, Kxf7
26. Qd7+, Resigns

White wins after 26....Kf8, 27. Bg7+ Kg8, 28. Bh6!! and mate next move. A truly magnificent game.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Pirc Defense

The Pirc Defense looks a lot like the Philidor defense, but it is very different.  The point of the Pirc Defense is to open up both bishops and attack the center with knights, not pawns.  You fianchetto kingside which is normally followed by a castle.  The light bishop is opened up.  This defense strategy is not bad.  In fact, it is tied with the Sicilian Defense for number one.  The main line reads 1. e4, d6.  That is the whole line.  There are many variations to this, but this is where it begins.

The following game between GM Wenzhe of China and GM Donner of Germany is also called the Chinese Immortal Game.

Buenos Aires 1978
Pirc Defense, Chinese Variation

1. e4, d6
2. d4, Nf6
3. Nc3, g6
4. Be2, Bg7
5. g4, h6
6. h3, c5
7. d5, 0-0
8. h4, e6
9. g5, hxg5
10. hxg5, Ne8
11. Qd3, exd5
12. Nxd5, Nc6
13. Qg3, Be6
14. Qh4!! ....

14. .... f5
15. Qh7+, Kf7
16. Qxg6, Kxg6

If Black's King retreats to g7 then 17. Qh7+ Kf7, 18. g6+ mate.

17. Bh5+, Kg7
18. Bf7+, Bh6
19. g6+!, Resigns

Black cannot stop mate. 19….Kg7 is answered by 20. Bxh6+ Kh8, 21. Bxf8 mate.  Splendid ending of a brilliant game!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Caro-Kann Defense, Modern Variation

TCh-Republic of Russia 2005

1. e4, c6
2. d4, d5
3. Nc3 ....

The modern variation of Caro-Kann.  This move allows White greater mobility for the Knights and eventual neutralization of Black's Bishop.

3. .... dxe4
4. Nxe4, Bf5
5. Ng3, Bg6
6. h4, h6
7. Nf3, Nd7
8. h5, Bh7
9. Bd3, Bxd3
10. Qxd3, e6
11. Bf4, Qa5+
12. Bd2 ....

Also possible is 12. c3.  The text move keeps the tension going.

12. .... Bb4
13. c3, Be7
14. c4, Qa6
15. 0-0, Rd8
16. b4 ....

Detecting a weakness on the queenside, White decides to advance the pawns.

16. .... Ngf6
17. a4, b6
18. Rfe1, 0-0
19. Nf5 ....

A prelude to a devastating attack.

19. .... Rfe8
20. Nxg7!! ....

White is attacking on both sides of the board!

20. .... Kxg7
21. Rxe6!!, fxe6

Black was not able to find anything better.  If 21....Nxh5, then 22. Rxh6 Ndf6, 23. Rg6+ fxg6, 24. Ne5! and White threatens 25. Qxg6 with an overwhelming attack.

22. Bxh6, Kh8

If 22....Kf7 or 22.....Kxh6 then 23. Qg6 mate.

23. Bg7+, Kxg7
24. Qg6+, Resigns

There is no stopping mate at g7 after the pawn advances to h6.  If 24....Kh8, then 25. Ng5 Rf8, 26. h6 and Black cannot parry simultaneous mating threats at the same time.

An amazing game.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Attack of the Traxler

The following game features a variation of the Two Knights Defense known as Traxler Counterattack. The combination brought about an amazing victory and the game was henceforth known as the "Attack of the Traxler".

Hostoun, 1890
Italian Game: Two Knights Defense, Traxler Counterattack

1. e4, e5
2. Nf3, Nc6
3. Bc4, Nf6
4. Ng5, Bc5

The Traxler Counterattack, an original combination that is better than it looks.  Traxler in his own annotation said that a small mistake by White can give Black a decisive attack.

5. Nxf7 ....

If 5. Bxf7, then Black replies with 5....Kf1, 6. 0-0 h6! and Black gets an extra piece.  (If 6. Bb3 Bxf2+, 7. Kxf2 Nxe4+! with a decisive attack.)

5. .... Bxf2+

 6. Ke2, Nd4+
7. Kd3, b5
8. Bb3, Nxe4
9. Nxd8 ...

A Queen now or never!  If 9. Kxe4 Qh4+ with a good attack.

9. .... Nc5+
10. Kc3, Ne2+
11. Qxe2, Bd4+
12. Kb4, a5+!
13. Kxb5 ....

No choice. If 13. Ka3, then 13....b4 mate.

13. .... Ba6+
14. Kxa5, Bd3+

Whether or not Black takes the White Queen is immaterial.

15. Kb4, Na6+
16. Ka4 ....

If 16. Ka5, Black would have the same reply...

16. .... Nb4+
17. Kxb4, c5 mate

A horrendous attack that added brilliancy to the game.

Monday, June 7, 2010

French Defense, Tarrasch Variation

Halle, 1053

1. e4, e6
2. d4, d5
3. Nd2, c5

The Tarrasch variation of the French Defense.  Black threatens to break White's central pawn structure by the c5 move, in the process isolating the d-pawn, an important feature which determines the rest of the game.

4. exd5, Qxd5
5. Ngf3, cxd4
6. Bc4, Qd6
7. 0-0, Nc6
8. Re1, a6
9. a4, Qc7
10. Ne4 ....

The move exposes the pawn at d4. Now, if Black tries 10....e5, then 11. Neg5 with a good attack.

10. .... Bd7
11. Nxd4 ....

Finally, White regains the pawn.

11. .... Be7
12. Nf5!! ....

This move threatens to post a Knight at d6 at the same time attacks the pawn at g7.

12. .... exf5
13. Nd6+, Kf8
14. Nxf7!, Be8
15. Qd5, Qa5!

Black tries to neutralize White's mating attack by engaging White's Queen and attacking the e1 Rook.

16. Qe6 ....

White continues the attack and protects the Rook.

16. ... Nd4
17. Ng5, Bxg5

The game is drawn after 17...Nxe6 18.Nxe6+ Kf7, 19.Nf4+ Kf8 etc., since 19...Kf6?? loses to 20.Re6+ Kg5, 21. Nh3+ Kh5 or Kg4, 22. Be2+ Kh4, 23. Bf4 and mate next move.

18. Qd6+!!, Be7
19. Rxe7, Resigns

If 19....Nxe7, then 20.Qf6+ gxf6, Bh6 mate.   A peculiar yet beautiful ending.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Garry Kasparov

Every chess player living today knows Garry Kasparov.  He is the first world champion to have an official website.  Just go there in order to see some of the games he played.  The following game, which he played against Adams in 2005, stands out in unique brilliancy.

XXII Torneo Ciudad de Linares, 2005

1. e4, c5
2. Nf3, d6
3. d4, cxd4
4. Nxd4, Nf6
5. Nc3, a6

The Najdorf Variation of Sicilian Defense.  Black's fifth move (a6) aims to deny White the b5 square to his knight and light-squared Bishop while maintaining flexibility in development.

6. Be3, e6
7. Be2, Qc7
8. Qd2 ....

White prepares for Queen-side castling.

8. .... b5
9. a3, Bb7
10. f3, Nc6
11. 0-0-0, b4
12. axb4, Nxb4
13. g4, Be7
14. g5, Nd7
15. h4, Nc5!

Black prepares for Queen-side attack.

16. Kb1, Rb8!
17. h5, 0-0
18. g6, Bf6
19. Rdg1, Ba8

Black opens the b-file...

20. Bg5, Be5
21. gxh7+, Kxh7
22. Nb3, Nxc2

23. Nxc5 ....

If 23. Qxc2 then 23. .... Rxb3 which is good for Black.

23. .... Na3+
24. Ka2, Qxc5
25. Na4, Nc2!!
26. Kb1 ....

If 26. Nxc5, then 26. .... Rxb2 mate.

26. .... Qa3!!

White resigns.  If 27. Qxc2, then 27. ... Rfc8+, 28. Qd1 Rxb2+ and mate next move.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Capablanca's Blindfold Immortal

Havana Blindfold Exhibition, 1922

1. d4, d5
2. e3, e6
3. Bd3, c6
4. Nf3, Bd6
5. Nbd2, f5
6. c4, Qf6
7. b3 ....

This move has a dual purpose.  It supports the c4 pawn and at the same time giving a way for the c1 Bishop.

7. ... Nh6
8. Bb2, 0-0
9. Qc2, Nd7
10. h3, g6
11. 0-0-0, e5?

This opens the long diagonal, in which White has a better control.

12. dxe5, Nxe5
13. cxd5 ....

Better than 13. Nxe5 Bxe5, 14. Bxe5 Qxe5.  The latter gives Black the opportunity to neutralize the a1-h8 diagonal.

13. .... cxd5

Better than 13....Nxd3, 14. Qxd3 Qe7.

14. Nc4 ....

Remember that Capablanca played this game blindfolded.  Could any other player visualize this move blindfolded?

White's aim is to open the d file, and he has to sacrifice a piece to do that.

14. .... dxc4
15. Bxc4+, N6f7

If 15....Kg7 or Kh8, then 16. Rxd6 Qxd6, 17. Nxe5 with a strong attack.

16. Rxd6!!, Qxd6
17. Nxe5, Be6
18. Rd1, Qe7
19. Rd7!!, Bxd7
20. Nxd7, Rfc8

If 20....Qxd7 then 21. Qc3 and mate next move.  Black thought that his last move (Rfc8) would pin White's Queen.

21. Qc3, Rxc4
22. bxc4,  Resigns

There is no more hope.  After 22....Ng5, then 23. Qh8+ Kf7, 24. Ne5+ Ke6, 25. Qxa8 and White has a tremendous positional and material advantage.

A gem of a game. One of Capa's finest.
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