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.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sicilian Defense, Richter-Rauzer Attack

Budapest, 1955

1. e4, c5
2. Nf3, Nc6
3. d4, cxd4
4. Nxd4, Nf6
5. Nc3, d6
6. Bg5 ....

This reply of White is known as the Richter-Rauzer Attack (invented by Kurt Richter), threatening to double Black's pawns after Bxf6 and forestalling the Dragon by rendering 6....g6 unplayable.

6. .... e6
7. Qd2 ....

Prepares for castling on the queen-side.

7. .... Be7
8. 0-0-0, 0-0
9. f4, a6
10. e5, dxe5
11. Nxc6, bxc6
12. fxe5, Nd7

If 12....Nd5, then 13. Bxe7 Qxe7, 14. Ne4... then 15. Nd6 with a good position for White.

13. h4, Rb8
14. Qe3, Re8
15. Rh3!, Qa5
16. Bxe7, Rxe7
17. Rg3, Re8
18. Rxd7, Bxd7
19. Bd3, h6
20. Qf4 ....

If 20. Qxh6, then 20.....Qxf4.  Clearly, White has a better plan.

20. .... Kf8
21. Rxg7, Kxg7
22. Qf6+!!, Kf8

If 22….Kg8 then 23. Qxh6 f5, 24. exf6 and mate next move.
23. Bg6, Resigns

Black cannot defend his f7 pawn without losing.  If  23....Re7, then 24. Qh8 mate.  A superb ending.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bishop's Opening

The Bishop's Opening is characterized by the opening moves

1. e4 e5
2. Bc4

White attacks Black's f7-square and prevents Black from advancing his d-pawn to d5. By ignoring the beginner's rule, "develop knights before bishops", White leaves his f-pawn unblocked allowing the possibility of playing f2-f4. This gives the Bishop's Opening an affinity to the King's Gambit and the Vienna Game, two openings that share the same characteristic.

London, 1841
Bishop's Opening: Lewis Gambit

1. e4, e5
2. Bc4, Bc5
3. d4, Bxd4

The Lewis Gambit. White sacrifices the d-pawn in order to weaken Black's central pawn structure.

4. Nf3, Nc6
5. 0-0, Nf6
6. Nxd4, Nxd4
7. f4, d6
8. fxe5, dxe5
9. Bg5, Be6
10. Bxe6, Nxe6
11. Qxd8+, Rxd8
12. Bxf6, gxf6
13. Rxf6, Nf4
14. Nc3, Rd2!!
15. Rd1 ....

White avoided 15. g3 Nh3+, 16. Kh1  (if 16. Kf1 then 16....Rxh2) Nf2+,  17. Kg1 Ng4 and Black wins the exchange.

15. .... Rxg2+
16. Kh1, Rhg8
17. Rf5, f6!

Black correctly decided to protect the e5-pawn. If 17....Nh3; then 18. Rxe5+ Kf8, 20. Rd8+ Kg7, 21. Rxg8 and Black's attack collapses.

18. Rxf6, Nh3!!

 19. Rff1, Rg1+
20. Rxg1, Nf2+ mate.

A marvelous finish.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

English Opening

New York, 1924
English Opening; Agincourt Defense, Bogoljubov Defense

1. Nf3, d5
2. c4, e6
3. g3, Nf6
4. Bg2, Bd6
5. 0-0, 0-0
6. b3, Re8
7. Bb2, Nbd7
8. d4!, c6
9. Nbd2, Ne4

Rubinstein recommends 9....e5, a liberating move.

10. Nxe4, dxe4
11. Ne5, f5
12. f3 ....

White changes the closed game into an open one, in order to liberate his own g2 Bishop.

12. .... exf3
13. Bxf3 ....

Not 13. exf3, because the pawn is intended for e4.

13. .... Qc7
14. Nxd7, Bxd7
15. e4, e5

Necessary in order to prevent 16. e5, followed most probably by a breaking maneuver by means of d5 or g4.

16. c5, Bf8
17. Qc2 ....

White maintains the threat at e5 while adding another threat at f5.

17. .... exd4
18. exf5, Rad8

If 18....Qe5, then 19. Qc4+, Kh8; 20. Bxd4.

19. Bh5!!, Re5
20. Bxd4, Rxf5

Not 20....Rd5 because of 21. Qc4 Kh8, 22. Bg4 giving White a superior position.

21. Rxf5, Bxf5
22. Qxf5, Rxd4
23. Rf1 ....

23. .... Rd8

Black may play 23....Qe7, but still left without defense after 24. Bf7+ Kh8, 25. Bd5 Qf6, 26. Qc8.

24. Bf7+, Kh8
25. Be8, Resigns

There is no defense against 26. Qxf8+ and mate next move.  Now if 25....h6, then 26. Qxf8+ Kh7, 27. Qf5+ Kh8, 28. Qg6 Qe7, 29. Rf7 and mate on either f8 or g7.

A sparkling combination.  The game was awarded the first brilliancy prize in the tournament.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

King's Indian Defense

The King's Indian Defense was already discussed in previous postings. It is a hypermodern opening, where Black deliberately allows White control of the centre with his pawns, with the view to subsequently challenging it with the moves ...e5 or ...c5. It is a dynamic opening, exceptionally complex, and a favourite of players such as former world champions Garry Kasparov, Bobby Fischer, and Mikhail Tal.

Liepzig Olympiad Prelim 1960

1. d4, Nf6
2. c4, g6
3. Nc3, Bg7
4. e4, 0-0

The normal continuation is 4....d6.  Fischer decided to complicate the opening in order to break loose White's central pawn structure.

5. e5, Ne8
6. f4, d6
7. Be3, c5
8. dxc5, Nc6
9. cxd6, exd6
10. Ne4, Bf5
11. Ng3, Be6
12. Nf3, Qc7
13. Qb1?? ....

An odd move. It does not help White in any way. It even imprisoned his own Rook!

13. .... dxe5
14. f5 ....

Black's position is unassailable after 14. fxe5 Nxe5, 15. Nxe5 Bxe5.

14. .... e4!!
15. fxe6, exf3
16. gxf3, f5
17. f4, Nf6
18. Be2, Rfe8!
19. Kf2, Rxe6
20. Re1, Rae8
21. Bf3, Rxe3!!

22. Rxe3, Rxe3
23. Kxe3, Qxf4+!!
White resigns (0:1).

White loses if he takes the Queen (24. Kxf4 Bh6+ mate).

If 24. Kf2, then 24....Nd4, 25. Qd1 Ng4+, 26. Kg2 Ne3 double-check, and Black wins.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fischer Uses the Pirc Defense

US Championship, 1963

1. e4, g6
2. d4, Bg7
3. Nc3, d6
4. f4, Nf6
5. Nf3, 0-0
6. Bd3, Bg4
7. h3, Bxf3
8. Qxf3, Nc6
9. Be3, e5
10. dxe5, dxe5
11. f5!! ....

The move is intended to weaken Black's king-side pawn structure.

11. .... gxf5
12. Qxf5, Nd4
13. Qf2, Ne8
14. 0-0, Nd6
15. Qg3, Kh8
16. Qg4, c6
17. Qh5 ...

Strategically, Fischer wanted this position.  His Queen has to travel from f2 to h5.

17. .... Qe8
18. Bxd4, exd4
19. Rf6 ....

 19. .... Kg8

If 19.... Bxf6, then 20. e5!... with a mating threat at h7.

20. e5, h6
21. Ne2, Resigns

If 21. exd6 Bxf6, 22. Qf5 Qe3+, 23. Kh1 Rfe8, 24. Qxf6 dxc3...and White's attack fizzles out.

Definitely not 21. Rxd6 Qxd5 and Black neutralizes the position.

With his last move, White gains a tempo.  Now if 21....Qe7, then 22. Raf1 Rfe8, 23. exd6 Qe3+, 24. Kh1 Bxf6, 25. Rxf6 Re7, 26. Rxh6!! ... and White wins.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Scandinavian Defense

The Scandinavian Defense is also known as Center Counter Defense, which was discussed in a previous blog.  The opening is characterized by the moves 1. e4, d5. 

Credit Suisse, Biel SUI 1997

1. e4, d5
2. exd5, Qxd5
3. Nc3, Qa5
4. d4, Nf6
5. Nf3, c6
6. Bc4, Bf5
7. Ne5, e6
8. g4, Bg6
9. h4, Nbd7
10. Nxd7, Nxd7
11. h5, Be4
12. Rh3, Bg2
13. Re3, Nb6
14. Bd3, Nd5
15. f3 ....

This innocent-looking move actually provides escape square for White's King.

15. .... Bb4

If 15....Nxe3, 16. Bxe3 0-0, 17. Kf2... then White gets some compensation for material loss in addition to mobility of his pieces (bishop-pair).

16. Kf2, Bxc3
17. bxc3, Qxc3
18. Rb1, Qxd4
19. Rxb7, Rd8
20. h6, gxh6
21. Bg6!! ....

A surprise move! At this point, the table is suddenly turned. White is now the attacker.

21. .... Ne7

Not 22....Qxd1, for then 23. Rxe6+ Kf8, 24. Bxh6+ Kg8, 25. Bxf7 mate.

22. Qxd4, Rxd4
23. Rd3, Rd8

Not 23....Rxd3, 24. Bxd3... and after 25. Kxg2 White's position is far superior.

24. Rxd8+, Kxd8
25. Bd3, Resigns

Black's Bishop will be taken.  In addition, White threatens 26. Rb8+ giving White overwhelming material and positional advantage.
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