Monday, May 30, 2011

Game of the Century Revisited

"The Game of the Century" (with JavaScript gameboard) is revisited at ChessBase, which has posted the wonderful section of Frank Brady's Endgame that tells the story of Fischer's famous masterpiece (with some great pictures not in that book), accompanied by GM Sergey Shipov's first-rate annotations of the game.  See "Frank Brady's Endgame: Review and Webliography" for my comments on Dr. Brady's masterpiece, which I heartily recommend. 

Friday, May 27, 2011


White to play.
I have annotated the game Lahno - Khotenashvili, European Women's Individual Championship, Tbilisi 2011.  It received passing reference from Malcolm Pein and was brought to my attention by Caveman aficionado Michelangelooo.  It is a pleasure to see GM Kateryna Lahno playing the Caveman Caro-Kann, which I have written about here a number of times.  GM Lahno may be the highest rated player to have used this tricky line, which invites her opponent to chase after a Rook with her Queen at the risk of falling into a wooly mammoth trap in the process.  Though Khotenashvili did not test her preparation fully, Lahno played a very nice game and concluded things in stunning fashion (see diagram above).  Previous pieces on the Caveman Caro-Kann include:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Candidates Ends and It Will Be Gelfand vs Anand

I never would have predicted that Boris Gelfand would win the FIDE Candidates matches to decide the World Championship challenger.  He will now play Vishinathan Anand in 2012.  His final game against Grischuk may have been the best game of the entire Candidates cycle and it has already been widely annotated.  I will post additional links and video as it becomes available.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Winning with a Forced Draw in the Petroff

Black to play after 6.Nxf7!?
I have annotated the game Mangion - Kernighan, KCC Quads 2011, which featured the Petroff line 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 Nxe4 4.Bd3 d5 5.Nxe5.  I have previously analyzed 5.dxe5 in my "Anti-Petroff Repertoire with d4."  However, 5.Nxe5 is the more popular move, and though it leads to more symmetrical positions it can be very sharp and interesting.  Kernighan's response 5...Nd7 was recently analyzed in "Plugging Away at the Petroff" (Chess Life, March 2011), where Andy Soltis told how the famed Harvard economist Ken Rogoff developed the line, which theory had previously frowned upon, and helped make it the most popular response to 5.Nxe5.  Soltis also points out that Mangion's surprising 6.Nxf7!? (shades of The Cochrane Gambit) was first played in Zaitsev - Karpov, Leningrad 1966 (a "GM draw" frequently repeated, including in a 2009 US Championship game).  

Mangion had looked over these lines and felt secure in being able to force a draw with 6.Nxf7!? against his higher rated opponent.  After 6....Kxf7 (Karpov's 6....Qe7! is probably more interesting -- see my annotations) 7.Qh5+ Ke6!? 8.Qe2 (threatening f3 to regain the piece with attack), Kernighan likely should have chosen 8...Kf7 when White simply repeats with 9.Qh5+ etc. splitting the point.  Instead, he chose the more "principled" but losing continuation 8....Kd6? when followed a typical Kernighan king walk and speedy victory for Mangion.

With his win over NM Kernighan, Mangion (rated 1971) has beaten two masters in as many weeks (having defeated KCC Champion Ken Chieu in the first game of the quad).  If he has success in his final game, he should break the 2000 rating barrier.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fun with Don and Arnold

Don Carrelli has posted an excellent video at the Kenilworth Kibitzer, which includes commentary by Arnold Schwarzeneger.  How Arnold found time to comment on chess with all that he's going through this week I'll never know....

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Slay the Spanish!

I have been working through Tim Taylor's recent Slay the Spanish! Weapons against the Ruy Lopez (Everyman Chess 2011), along the way creating a Slay the Spanish game collection at focused on the most sound lines in his repertoire.  You can find the table of contents and introductory overview online in various places.  My plan was to write a review, but Tim Harding has done a thorough job in today's "Slaying the Spanish and Other Matters" (Kibitzer #180 at ChessCafe) and John Donaldson gives a nice overview, so I hardly see the need to add much more myself.  Slay the Spanish! offers a very interesting repertoire with a nice mix of choices, both very sound (for serious games) and a little less so (for internet blitz and other fun occasions).  I bought the book because I had already started looking at the Steinitz Deferred as a more reliable method than the Smyslov Variation of gaining the sort of fianchetto positions I've been seeking in the Open Games (as discussed in A Black Fianchetto System in the Open Games Part I and Part II).  Similarly, I have been trying out Mihail Marin's preferred approach (analyzed in ChessBase Magazine #128) to the fianchetto vs the Italian Game with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 d6!? rather than 3...g6, which also feels a little more sound.  Against the Ruy Lopez, I have always chosen to sidestep the Exchange Variation by varying on move three (even flipping the Bird at the Spanish Bishop with 3...Nd4); but Taylor offers some very interesting ways of countering the Exchange, especially with Larsen's 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 bxc6!? where Black gets the two Bishops without the typical structural concession of the weaker majority.  The coverage of the Siesta Variation (with ...f5) and the Yandemirov Gambit (with ...Bg4, meeting h3 with ...h5!?) are a nice bonus and I'm sure those who play most of their chess as online blitz will find these lines a lot of fun.  I find the more solid lines more interesting, and I appreciate most how Taylor focuses on high class games played by World Champions and contenders (especially Keres), making Slay the Spanish! one of those rare opening books where you really get a lot out of playing through the games themselves.  Highly recommended.