Thursday, November 24, 2011

Bobby Fischer's Sicilian Dragon

Cleveland US-Open 1957
Sicilian Defense: Dragon Variation, Yugoslav Attack

1. e4, c5
2. Nf3, d6
3. d4, cxd4
4. Nxd4, Nf6
5. Nc3, g6
6. Be3, Nc6
7. f3, Bg7
8. Qd2, 0-0
9. Bc4 ....

The Yugoslav Attack of the Dragon Variation.  This opening results in extremely tactical and decisive battles. White keeps a firm grip on the center while advancing aggressively towards the enemy king with f2-f4-f5 and even g2-g3-g4. However, danger exists in overextending and allowing Black to gain the initiative with a deadly counter-attack. Black's strategy is centered around the half-open c file and his ability to push the a and b pawns. Throughout the entire course of the battle, Black will be looking to break the center with an advance from d6-d5. Black can even sometimes obtain a winning endgame even after sacrificing the exchange, because of White's h-pawn sacrifice, doubled isolated c-pawns and most importantly the lack of mobility of the white Rooks compared to the Black minor pieces.  (Source:  Wikipedia)

9. .... a6
10. 0-0-0, Qc7
11. Bb3, b5
12. Nxc6, Qxc6
13. Nd5, Kh8

White threatens 14. Nxe7 double-check. 

14. Nxf6!! ....

Far more powerful than 14. Nxe7 Qb7, 15. Nxc8 Raxc8, and Black gains control of the open c-file.

14. .... e6

Blocking 15. Bd5.  Now, White has gained a piece!

15. Bh6, Bb7
16. Bxg7+, Kxg7
17. Ng4, f5
18. exf5, Rxf5
19. Qxd6, h5
20. Qe7+, Rf7
21. Qxf7, Kxf7
22. Ne5+, Ke7
23. Nxc6+, Bxc6
24. Rhe1, Bd7
25. Rxd7+, Resigns

With material and strategic advantage, White will ultimately capture Black's remaining pawns.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Evans Gambit

Riga, 1995

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

The Evans Gambit, the purpose of which is the control of d4.

4. .... Bxb4
5. c3, Be7
6. d4, Na5
7. Be2!? ....

White would rather not part with the Bishop rather than gain a pawn by 7. Nxe5 Nxc4  (not 7....f6, 8. Bf7+ Kf8, 9. Bxg8 fxe5, 10. Bb3 ...), 8. Nxc4 ....

7. .... exd4

Black gains a piece after 7....Nf6, 8. dxe5 Nxe4, 9. Qa4 ....

8. Qxd4, Nf6?!
9. e5, Nc6
10. Qh4, Nd5
11. Qg3, g6

If 11.....0-0, then 12. Bh6 ....

12. 0-0, Nb6
13. c4, d6

If 13.....d6, then 14. cxd5 Qxd5, 15. Nc3 ....

14. Rd1, Nd7

If 14.....Be6, then 15. c5!! ....

15. Bh6, Ncxe5
16. Nxe5, Nxe5
17. Nc3 ....

White does not desire the outcome after 17. Bg7 Bf6, 18. Bxh8 Bxh8, 19. Nc3 b6.  Black, with his Bishop Pair, gains equality.

17. .... f6
18. c5!, Nf7
19. cxd6, cxd6
20. Qe3!, Nxh6
21. Qxh6, Bf8
22. Qe3+, Kf7
23. Nd5, Be6?!
24. Nf4!, Qe7
25. Re1!!, Resigns

White's pressure on the center would be too much for Black to handle, i.e. 25....d5, 26. Bf3.   If 25....Bh6, then 26. Bc4.

Any attempt by Black to remove the beleaguered Bishop would also prove futile. If 25....Bd7 or Bf5, then 26. Bc4+ Ke8 27. Qxe7+ Bxe7 28. Nd5 and White gains a Bishop.

Subtle yet elegant!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Power of Two Bishops

Garry Kasparov demonstrates for us the power of the Bishop Pair.  Two Bishops working in tandem constitute one of mightiest forces in chess.

Barcelona, 1989

1. d4, d6
2. e4, g6
3. c4, e5

An attempt by Black to destroy White's central pawn structure.

4. Nf3, exd4
5. Nxd4, Bg7
6. Nc3, Nc6
7. Be3, Nge7
8. h4!?, h6
9. Be2, f5
10. exf5, Nxf5
11. Nxf5, Bxf5
12. Qd2, Qd7
13. 0-0, 0-0-0
14. b4!, Nxb4?!

Black took the poisoned pawn.  Now the fight tension is increased.

15. Nb5!, Nc2

Black does not like 15....Bxa1, 16. Qxb4 Bg7, 17. Nxa7+....

16. Bf3! d5
17. Bxd5, Nxa1
18. Nxa7+, Kb8
19. Qb4! ....

Now, White threatens mate at b7.

19. .... Qxd5

Black has no choice.  If 19....b6, then 20. Bxb6 cxb6, 21. Qxb6+ with a mating attack.  If 19....c6, then 20. Bxc6 Qf7, 21. Bf4+ Ka8, 22. Qa5! and mate next move.

20. cxd5, Nc2
21. Qa5, Nxe3
22. fxe3, Rhe8
23. Nb5, Rxd5

If 23....Re7, then 24. d6! Rxd6, 25. Nxd6 cxd6, 26. Qd8+ and White's attack becomes overwhelming.

24. Qxc7+ Ka8
25. Qa5+, Resigns

Black loses after 25....Kb8, 26. Qa7+ Kc8, 27. Qa8+ Kd7, 28. Qxb7+ Ke6, 29. Qc6+ and White captures either Rook.

Kasparov's Might

Garry Kasparov proved once again that he can demolish an opponent in a short time.  The following game is a fine example.

Malta, 1980
King's Indian Defense

1. d4, Nf6
2. c4, e6
3. Nf3, b6
4. g3, Bb7
5. Bg2, Be7
6. 0-0, 0-0
7. d5! ....

White intends to post his Knight at f5, and he can only do that if the e6 pawn is eliminated.

7. .... exd5
8. Nh4!, c6

The c4 pawn cannot be taken because of the Bishop's pin on d5.

9. cxd5, Nxd5
10. Nf5, Nc7
11. Nc3!, d5
12. e4, Bf6
13. exd5! ....

White dismantles Black's pawn structure.  Connected pawns at the center poses a serious threat.

13. .... cxd5
14. Bf4, Nba6
15. Re1, Qd7?

A bad place for the Queen, as will be shown by Black's next move.

16. Bh3!, Kh8

Black prevents a double-check. The move also immobilizes White's Knight because of a pin by Black's Queen, threatening Qxh3.

17. Ne4! ....

Fantastic!  The move threatens 18. Nxf6.

17. .... Bxb2
18. Ng5! ....

Effectively removing White's pin on f5.  Now White threatens 20. Nxg7.

18. .... Qc6
19. Ne7, Qf6
20. Nxh7! ....

If the Knight is taken, as in 20.... Kxh7, White threatens mate by 21. Qh5+!

20. .... Qd4
21. Qh5, g6
22. Qh4, Bxa1
23. Nf6+, Resigns

Black realizes futility after 23... Kg7, 24. Qh6+ Kxf6, 25. Bg5 mate.
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