Monday, April 27, 2009

More Left Hook Grand Prix Games

I have been analyzing More Games with the Left Hook Grand Prix (1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.a3!?), two of which cover the critical variations following 5...e6 6.b4!? (White's "left hook" punch -- though 6.d4 is also interesting): 6....d5 (hitting back immediately in the center) and 6...b6 (refusing to give up the center even to gain a pawn). I especially enjoyed looking at Igor Glek - Daniel Stellwagen, Wattenscheid GER 2007, which I had previously discounted but which I now consider one of the most important games for Left Hook theory. And I couldn't resist throwing in some of my own games, including a few I've played at my new favorite play site Buho21 (where I should soon break the 2200 barrier playing as "urusov").

Related articles include:

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Hess - MacIntyre, USATE 2009

Hess - MacIntyre, USATE 2009
White to play.

If they gave a "Brilliancy Prize" at the US Amateur Teams East and World Amateur Teams (held in Parsipanny in February), Hess - MacIntyre, USATE 2009 would surely be most deserving. Yet it is only one of many tactical gems strewn in the wake of 17-year-old Robert Hess, whose meteoric success is nicely chronicled by Jennifer Shahade at the USCF website in an "Interview with GM-elect Robert Hess."

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Chess Tourist in Princeton

One of my most popular blog posts has been A Chess Tourist in New York City, and I have made several other "chess tourism" posts over the years. On a recent jaunt I realized I ought to add Princeton, New Jersey, to my list of attractive destinations for chess fans.

Princeton University's Firestone Library

If you are as much a fan of libraries as I am and enjoy doing chess research, you will want to make a trip down to Princeton's Firestone Library, located at the corner of Nassau Street (Route 27) and Washington Road across from the Princeton Garden Theatre. They have one of the most extensive chess collections in the country, and while it's not worth comparing with the Cleveland Public Library, it's still one of the top five collections not in private hands. Before you go, be sure to read up on their access policies: anyone can purchase access at $29 per week (about the price of a chess book these days), and you can get free access if you have an academic affiliation (as a student or faculty at many institutions, with a current ID).

The Firestone Library houses quite a large number of volumes, including historic and rare books from the Eugene B. Cook and William Spackman chess collections. They seem to have stopped making significant additions to the collections after about the year 2000, but there are still quite a few more recent volumes (including Kasparov's books, NIC Yearbook, and many historical works). It is a very useful collection and offers access to a wide range of reference works, including ECO, Informant, Chess Results, and many expensive historical and out of print books. I have been visiting the library for almost 18 years and still wish I could spare several days to explore it more fully (especially its periodicals). If you enjoy rare and historical chess books, be sure to visit their Special Collections which were featured in an exhibition called The Art of Chess in 1997. Before I go, I usually spend some time searching the Princeton University Library catalog, assembling a list of specific texts and their locations. This is worth doing even if you have more time than I do, since you will then be better able to relax with the books you pick out in one of many excellent places throughout the library.

Still a formidable collection.

The bulk of the collection can be found in the area of GV1439-GV1450 (located on the B-level, to the left as you come down the stairs), but there are also volumes in oversize and in the 4280s (on the C-level below). I recommend you get a map of locations, available on every floor. In recent years, many books have been shipped off to the annex for storage and visitors need to "recap" or request certain titles. I have only done this once but found no problem in gaining access to a book with only 48 hours notice (calling ahead and speaking to a reference librarian). Despite the fact that accessible volumes seem to have been cut considerably since I began visiting the library, it is still a formidable collection.

Lots of New in Chess Yearbooks

I have gotten the most use out of the Informants (only through 2002), New in Chess Yearbooks (current, but with recent volumes usually checked out), and older periodicals like American Chess Quarterly and BCM. For those interested in openings, there are lots of excellent but older volumes and NIC Yearbook. I most recommend searching through the article listings for NIC Yearbook to identify particular articles of interest, since thumbing through volumes will waste a lot of time. On my most recent visit, I photocopied an extensive two-part article by Glek on the Glek Four Knights featured in NIC Yearbook volumes 42 and 43.

Lots of pre-2002 opening theory.

Since I have limited time these days, I have to plan my trip to the library as though it were a bank heist. I have had excellent luck finding parking on Nassau Street, usually right in front of the library, where it costs $2 in quarters for 2 hours. You cannot feed the meters, so I have learned to keep my visits to exactly two hours; if you want to spend more time (and you definitely will on a first visit) then you will have to pay for municipal parking.

Copy cards can be purchased in denominations of $5, $10 or $25 from the circulation desk as you come in. It is 10 cents per copy, plus a $1 surcharge for new cards (though there is no place to add value to cards in the library itself). I find I don't have time for more than $10 worth of copying in my 2 hour visits, but you could easily spend much more. The machines on the B-level are excellent and generally not in use during early weekday hours.

Either before or after hitting the library, I recommend you also drop by the Barnes & Noble store in Market Fair Mall on Route 1. This has got to be one of the nicest big retail bookshops I've visited in a while, and they have the most extensive chess section I have come across in Central New Jersey.
Barnes & Noble at Market Fair

Though Steve Stoyko told me he had visited the shop the day before I did, I still found about 250-300 titles from a pretty good variety of publishers, including Gambit, Everyman, and New in Chess. Even in this age where the best place to shop for chess books is definitely online, nothing beats being able to thumb through recent books to see what they contain. I doubt, for instance, that I would have bought Endgame Virtuoso Anatoly Karpov online, despite its great reviews; but seeing it in the store, I recognized its value. Besides, I had a $50 B&N gift card burning a hole in my pocket....

Two of seven chess-related shelves.

If you go to the bookstore before going to the library (as I did on my last visit), I recommend taking the Canal Pointe Boulevard to Alexander Road/Street as the most direct route to campus and to Nassau Street. It's a pleasant and scenic route.

If you are serious about exploiting the full chess tourist potential of the area, you might also consider dropping by the Hamilton Chess Club, which meets on Wednesdays and Saturdays at the Ray Dwier Recreation Center, 392 Church Street, Groveville NJ 08620, less than 30 minutes drive south. Basic information about the club can be found at their old website, and current Wednesday activities are listed at the club's forum and Saturday tournaments in Chess Life. Take Route 1 South to I-295 South (6.9 miles) to exit 61A, Arena Drive toward White Horse and Yardville (1.5 miles), right at Hempstead Road (0.3 mile) left at South Broad Street (3.3 miles) and right at Church Street (0.2 mile). Directions can also be found at the Central NJ Camera Club's website.

The Ray Dwier Recreation Center

Of course, there are lots of other touristy things to do in Princeton. You'll find upscale shopping at the Market Fair Mall and downtown around Palmer Square. If you are into books, I recommend Labyrinth Books which has a wide range of mostly academic titles. If you are into the arts, there is the Princeton University Art Museum (free admission, open Tuesday through Saturday 10-5 and Sunday 1-5), the McCarter Theatre (for plays and performances), and Princeton Garden Theatre (for off-beat films). If you are into the outdoors, there are lots of great hikes along the Raritan & Delaware Canal and through several other parks. And simply strolling around Princeton's historic campus on a nice day is very relaxing. In other words, there are lots of things to keep your significant-other busy while you hang out in the basement of the Firestone Library!

As always, I welcome reader input and additions.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Glek's Old Main Line King's Indian with 7...exd4, a Bibliography

For a brief period in the 1990s, Igor Glek became the chief proponent of a variation considered "The Old Main Line" of the King's Indian Defense: 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 O-O 5.e4 d6 6.Be2 e5 7.O-O exd4 8.Nxd4 Re8 9.f3 Nc6. It is an attractive shortcut through the Classical Variation, presenting some interesting tactics and open piece play while skirting the immense thicket of theory associated with 7.O-O Nc6 8.d5 Ne7, and even making it easier to meet 7.Be3 since 7...exd4 8.Nxd4 Re8 9.f3 Nc6 basically transposes. This line has been especially attractive to me due to its similarities with my simplified Open Game repertoire built around ...g6, where it is even possible to reach it by transposition from the anti-Scotch line 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 g6 if White plays 5.c4!? However, as pointed out by Gary Lane in Opening Lanes #39 at ChessCafe and by John Emms in Dangerous Weapons: 1.e4 e5 (Everyman 2008), p. 157, Black can avoid the direct transposition to the King's Indian by delaying ...d6 as shown in Richter - Juergens, Dortmund 1993; Moiseenko - Odendahl, Netherlands 2001 (by an odd transposition); and Nakamura - Perelshteyn, New York 2001.

Glek has since switched to 7...Na6 (which is what most people mean these days when they refer to "the Glek Variation of the King's Indian") and his old line with 7...exd4 and 9...Nc6 is only rarely seen at the highest levels, even though Glek himself had a great win/loss ratio with the Black side. The "old Glek" being out of fashion and nearly forgotten, however, should make it only more interesting for players 2200 and below looking for a surprise weapon or offbeat approach. It is quite playable and there is no silver bullet for White, though recent attention has focused on 10. Be3 Nh5 11. Qd2 f5!? (Black's most ambitious but also most risky alternative) 12. Nxc6! bxc6 13. c5! which appears to put Black in danger of heading into an ending with significant structural challenges. Joseph Gallagher (in Starting Out: King's Indian Defense) suggests that this line leads to a draw after 13...d5 14. exd5(?) Bxc3 15. bxc3 Qe7 16. Kf2 Qh4+ 17. Kg1 Qe7 18. Kf2 Qh4+ etc. (as in Piket - Nedev, Ohrid 2001), but analysis by Alexander Khalifman claims a big White edge after 13...d5 14.Bg5! as in Weetik - Kruschiov, St Petersburg 2001 or more recently Popov - Plenkovic, European Ch 2009. This seems hardly the end of the story, and Black can risk much less by 11...Nf4 or 11...Nxd4 as demonstrated, for example, in Topalov - Mamedyarov, Amber Rapid 2008.

I have listed in reverse chronological order the few sources I own that discuss this line. As usual, I welcome reader additions and suggestions. Where possible, I have linked to games available at or my new favorite site (which really does have as huge a database as they advertise).

Khalifman, Alexander (2006). Opening for White According to Kramnik, 1.Nf3: Modern Lines in the King's Indian Defence (Chess Stars): pp. 38-60.
I have been thoroughly impressed by all of Khalifman's books from Chess Stars and this must be among the best. Anyone who plays the Classical KID as White or Black should own a copy. Written from the White perspective, Khalifman's analysis presents a significant challenge to Black in the Old Main Line, especially with the enterprising 11...f5 favored by Glek. However, Khalifman's analysis and even his selection of games seems biased toward White, so there are bound to be improvements by resourceful players. Games include Schermer - Meyerhold, Pinneberg 2002; Savinov - Johnsen, Tromsoe 2000; Ruzele - Royer, Cappelle la Grande 1997; Shneider - Gadjily, Linares 1998; Vukusic - Armanda, Split 1999; Trettin - Kassebaum, Germany 1995; Petschar - Rogetzer, Austria 2003; Shipov - Gelashvili, Internet 2002; Werle - Jianu, Heraklio 2002; Grigore - Nannelli, Montecatini Terme 2000; Hesse - Hoepfl, Germany 2004; Dornauer - Enoeckl, Austria 1999; Teloeken - Kassebaum, Germany 1997; Rasin - Braunlich, Boston 2001; Malakhatko - Kernazhitsky, Ukraine 2000; Peek - De Saegher, Amsterdam 2002; Savchenko - Taeger, Bad Wiessee 2002; Loseries - Kistella, Germany 1995; Arlandi - Gaido, Montacatini Terme 1999; Benkovic - Kosanovic, Backa Palanka 2001; Verduyn - De Wit, Belgium 2003; Jankovic - Ljubicic, Pula 2005; Ionov - DeJong, Wijk aan Zee 1998; Gustafson - Seibold, Fuerth 1998; Vitiugov - Khairullin, Cheboksary 2006; Strayer - Becerra Rivero, Dos Hermanas 2004; Le Quang - Nguyen Van Huy, Malaysia 2004; Nill - Lauterbach, England 2001; Galyas - Pachow, Budapest 2002; Landescheidt - Hamburg, Ruhrgebiet 1999; Tratar - Rezan, Rijeka 2001; Niederwieser - Rogetzer, Austria 2005; Pelletier - Reichenbacher, Germany 2000; Pedersen - Borbjerggaard, Denmark 1999; Farrago - Arribas, Balaguer 2005; Hoerstmann - Pachow, Germany 1999; Cifuentes Parada - Borbjerggaard, Malaga 2003; Summerscale - Littlewood, Telford 1997; Lindner - Schmaltz, St Ingbert 1995; Gavrikov - Dvoretzky, Bad Wiessee 1997; van Wely - Glek, Wijk aan Zee 1997; Gleizerov - Blehm, Cappelle la Grande 1998; Krivoshey - Lefranc, Sautron 2001; Belichev - Banikas, Tallinn 1997; Iskusnyh - Riazantsev, St. Petersburg 1997; Yermolinsky - Ashley, Philadelphia 1997; Atalik - Blehm, Cappelle la Grande 1999; Rau - Schlichthaar, Winterberg 2002; Ionov - Shliahtin, Smolensk 2000; Nadanian - Matikozian, Yerevan 1999; Krivoshey - Pihlajasalo, Polanica Zdroj 1999; Nielsen - Volokitin, Esbjerg 2002; Gyimesi - Kahn, Balatonlelle 2004; Farago - Heck, Bad Zwesten 2002; Weetik - Kruschiov, St Petersburg 2001; Mokos - Salai, Slovakia 2003; Akimov - Rybenko, Novokuznetsk 2001; Spiess - Hoffmann, Germany 1997; Kreiman - Maurer, Bad Wiessee 1997; Pelletier - Becerra, Lucerne 1997; Atalik - Kilicaslan, Istanbul 2006; Nikolov - Ciglic, Ljubljana 2000; Nosenko - Korobkov, Mariupol 2003; Malinin - Dashko, Krasnodar 2002; Maksimenko - Kilicaslan, Chalkidiki 2002; Kober - Hoffmann, Germany 2003; Giemsa - Juhnke, Germany 1997; Goldin - Khalifman, Elista 1997; Janssen - Golod, Dieren 1998; Shipov - Noritsyn, Guelph 2005; Psakhis - Manion, Chicago 1997.

Martin, Andrew (2004). King's Indian Battle Plans. (Thinkers Press): pp. 283-313.
Martin offers 240 annotated games focused on the ideas behind the opening. Highly praised by Steve Stoyko who thinks it offers good material on the Glek system -- though material that puts the line into question also.

Gallagher, Joseph (2002). Starting Out: The King's Indian (Everyman): pp. 37-40.
Clearly Gallagher only mentions the old main line KID for the sake of coverage. In other books he does not mention the line. Here he offers only Piket - Nedev, Ohrid 2001 and mentions Wells - Gallagher, England 2001 and Krivoshey - Gutman, Rovno 2000. Gallagher only intends a basic introduction to the line for a general reader, so this is an insufficient resource for anyone serious about learning the intricacies of the line. The book is otherwise quite good for its intended audience.

Kalinin, Alexander (1999). King's Indian Defence, Modern Practice. (Convekta, Moscow): pp. 80-85. Annotated Informant style, this book offers an interesting repertoire and several interesting improvements on classic games in the Glek line. Games include Beliavsky - Miles, Biel 1992; Ruban - Poluljahov, Elista 1994; Gleizerov - Kovalev, Skorping 1994;Shirov - Sherzer, Paris 1995; Van der Sterren - Glek, Germany 1995; Greenfeld - Svidler, Haifa 1996; Bareev - Kingermann, Vienna 1996; Ivanchuk - Shirov, Yerevan 1996; Kramnik - Glek, Berlin 1996.

Gufeld, Eduard and Nikolai Kalinichenko (1997). An Opening Repertoire for the Positional Player (Cardogan): pp. 145-153.
Gufeld and Kalinichenko provide the most optimistic introduction to the old Glek system and their book is a worthwhile addition to your library even if it is not as detailed as other sources on this particular line. The rest of the repertoire is quite solid and includes the King's Indian and Classical Sicilian as Black and c3 Sicilian, Scotch Game, Tarrasch French, and Short System vs the Caro-Kann as White. Games with the Glek line include Rossetto-Larsen, Amsterdam 1964; Chuchelov - Glek, Leuven 1995; Vam der Sterren - Muehlebach, Zurich 1995; Sakaev - Glek, Elista 1995; Notkin - Nevostruev, Elista 1996; Cebalo - Lane, Cannes 1995; Sosonko - Ftacnik, Polanica Zdroj 1995; Pokorny - Manik, Lazne Bohdanec 1996; Ivanchuk - Shirov. Yerevan 1996; Van der Wely - Glek, Hoogovens 1997; Gyimesi - Miljanic, Mataruska Banja 1996; Khuzman - Svidler, Haifa 1996; Kramnik - Glek, Berlin 1996; Shirov - Sherzer, Paris 1995; Lobron - Glek, Germany 1995; Karpov - Glek, Biel 1996; Greenfeld - Glek, Haifa 1996; Alpert - Neuman, Ceske Budejovice 1996; Van der Sterren - Glek, Germany 1995; and Solozhenkin - Glek, France 1994.

Nunn, John and Graham Burgess (1997). The New Classical King's Indian (International Chess Enterprises): pp. 73-83.
In ten pages of densely packed text, Nunn and Burgess (though one presumes mostly Burgess for this chapter) offer some of the most balanced and wide-ranging coverage of the Glek Variation. I'd say this is practically a must-have resource for those serious about the line, especially since they have clearly reviewed all published material up to 1997 (including Informant and NIC Yearbook, from which they quote frequently). Games considered include Ftacnik - Glek, Bundesliga 1994-1995; Chuchelov - Glek, Leuven 1995; Sakaev - Glek, Elista 1995; Psakhis - Slutzky, Herzliya 1993; Zagorskis - Glek, Boblingen 1994; Epishin - Svidler, Russia 1996; Zlochevsky - Morozevich, Alushta 1993; Sosonko - Ftacnik, Polanica Zdroj 1995; Ftacnik - Hangweyrer, Vienna 1996; Tisdall - Hakki, Erevan Olympiad 1996; Sokolov - Piket, Groningen 1995; Trettin - Kassebaum, Germany 1995; Krivoshei - Golubev, Nikolaev 1995; Aseev - Moingt, European Clubs Cup 1996; Oliwa - Pedzich, Polish Ch 1996; Korchnoi - Gi. Hernandez, Merida 1996; Sakaev - Belov, Cappelle la Grande 1995; Ivanchuk - Shirov, Erevan Olympiad 1996; Schneider - Sokolov, Reykjavik 1994; Kalesis - Mastrokoukos, Karditsa 1994; Gyimesi - Miljanic, Mataruska Banja 1996; Kalesis - Banikas, Aegina 1996; Dautov - Glek, Bundesliga 1996; Kramnik - Glek, Berlin 1996; Azmaiparashvili - Jacimovic, Struga 1995; Ruban - Glek, Russican Ch Elista 1996; Shirov - Miles, Horgen 1994; Pigott - Horner, British Ch Portsmouth 1976; Lobron - Glek, Bundesliga 1994-1995; Novikov - Glek, Vilnius 1984; Karpov - Glek, Biel 1996; Van der Sterren - Glek, Germany 1995; Solozhenkin - Glek, France 1994; Halkias - Tzermiadianos, Kavala 1996; Piket - Svidler, Groningen 1995; Rechlis - Kantsler, Tel Aviv 1995; Haritakis - Banikas, Greek Ch 1996; Vaganian - Svidler, Erevan 1996; Ftacnik - Glek, Wijk aan Zee 1995; Bogdanovski - Haritakis, Kavala 1996; Greenfeld - Svidler, Haifa 1996; Bareev - Kindermann, Vienna 1996; and Greenfeld - Glek, Haifa 1996.

Glek, Igor (1996). "King's Indian Defense, Classical System." New in Chess Yearbook 41: 161-165.
A useful article by Glek, where he (or perhaps the editors) suggest that the variation be named after him. Main games include Greenfeld - Glek, Haifa 1996; Karpov - Glek, Biel 1996; Chuchelov - Glek, Leuven 1995; Van den Doel - Polzin, Dresden 1995; Sakaev - Glek, Elista 1995; Van der Sterren - Muhlebach, Zurich 1995; Epishin - Svidler, St Petersburg 1996; Sosonko - Ftacnik, Polanica Zdroj 1995; Michaelsen - Appel, Germany 1995; Pokorny - Manik, Lazne 1996; Sokolov - Piket, Groningen 1995; Sakaev - Belov, Cappelle la Grande 1995; Ivanchuk - Shirov, Erevan 1996; Gyimesi - Miljanic, Mataruska Banja 1996; Khuzman - Svidler, Haifa 1996.

_______ (1995). "A Novelty - Ten years later - 7...exd4 8.Nxd4 Re8." New in Chess Yearbook 37. pp. 152-157. Ten years afer Novikov - Glek, Vilnius 1984, Glek revisits his system, focusing on the key idea of Nh5 to encourage f3-f4 weakening the e4 pawn, after which the Knight returns to its post at f6 to attack the weakened e-pawn and threaten a possible Ng4. Features Van der Sterren - Glek, Germany 1995; Ftacnik - Kovalev, Passau 1994; Gleizerov - Kovalev, Skorping 1994;Ruban - Poluliakhov, Elista 1994; Riemersma - Hvenekilde 1988; Halldorsson - Thorsson, Kopavogur 1994; Ftacnik - Glek, Germany 1994; Gunawan - Lodhi, London 1994; Chuchelov - Kovalev, Eupen 1994; Psakhis - Slutsky, Herzliya 1993; Taimanov - Kirpichnikov, Yumala 1978; Weglarz - Jaworski, Bielsko Biala 1991; Danielian - Miles, Cappelle la Grande 1994; Zlochevsky - Morozevich, Alushta 1994; Brglez - Bukic, Ljuljana 1994; Nowak - Pedzich, Lubniewice 1994; Schneider - Sokolov, Reykjavik 1994; Tisdall - Hagesaether, Gausdal 1995; Shirov - Miles, Horgen 1994; Stocek - Banikas, Hania 1994; Sosonko - De Saegher, Netherlands 1994; Solozhenkin - Glek, Le Tourquet 1994; Ftacnik - Glek, Wijk aan Zee 1995; Lukacs - Kjeldsen, Budapest 1995.

I am sure there are other resources and welcome reader additions in the comments.