Friday, September 30, 2005

World Championship Info

The FIDE World Chess Championship is well covered online. As always, ChessBase has great photos and reports, with games. is a good place to find the games also in java applet form. The Week in Chess also has coverage and games. Dennis "The Chess Mind" Monokroussos promises some annotations at his blog. So it is a regular feast for anyone following this event.

For live viewing of the games, nothing beats the ICC (starting at 2 EDT), which you can now combine with Chess FM for the full audio-visual effect (though most of the idiotic kibitzing there I can do without). I hear Playchess is doing good work with Seirawan and showing the games, so you can likely get the same effect there. I have also viewed which offers one game live in an easy-access format plus, as I mentioned, all the games once they have been played.

This is good stuff! Today's games seem to feature some fascinating prepared lines, especially in the games between Polgar and poor Kasimdzhano and Anand and poor Adams. You can tell by the clock alone that this is home cooking!

Modern Horowitz Variation of the Max Lange Attack

I have posted a file that may be of interest to some on what I like to call "The Modern Horowitz Variation of the Max Lange Attack" which goes 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Bc4 Nf6 5. O-O Bc5 6. e5 d5 7. exf6 dxc4 8. fxg7! Rg8 8. Bg5! I will be writing more here about it later today and including a bibliography of sources. For now I present you with the java applet and PGN.

Lasker Defense Lecture Notes

FM Steve Stoyko gave an excellent lecture last night at the Kenilworth Chess Club on the Lasker's Defense to the Queen's Gambit Declined. It was well attended (about a dozen people came) and well received by all. For those who missed the lecture and for those who attended and want to review, I have posted a PGN file of Lasker Defense Lecture Notes. I may be able to create that as a Java Applet over the weekend for easy viewing. More games and links can be found in my previous post.

Steve returns to lecture two weeks from yesterday, again from 7-8 p.m.

Next week, Scott Massey gives his annual lecture from 8 (or probably 8:15) until 11 on Moscow 1925. The fee for all lectures is $5. I will be posting more information about Scott's lecture in the coming days.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Lasker Defense to the QGD

diagram Black to play.
On Thursday, September 29, from 7:00-8:00 p.m. at the Kenilworth Chess Club, FM Steve Stoyko will lecture on The Lasker Defense to the Queen's Gambit Declined (1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.Nf3 O-O 6.e3 h6 7.Bh4 Ne4) which he has studied and played for decades. Tomorrow night's talk is actualy the first in a series devoted to the Lasker running every two weeks (beginning Thursday) at the same time and covering the main line and all related lines (including the Exchange Variation and Catalan). The cost of the lecture is $5 (but I am willing to pick up the tab on the first one for anyone who cannot afford it!)
Personally I am very interested in the lecture for several reasons: (1) because I always learn a lot from Steve about chess no matter what his topic; (2) because I want to learn more positional lines where things happen more slowly in order to improve my overall understanding of the game; and (3) because I want to expand my repertoire so that I have something more than the Albin Countergambit when facing 1.d4 d5 2.c4. I am sure anyone who comes will not be disappointed.

As part of my preparation, I have been looking at GM Andy Soltis's book on the Lasker and annotating some games with the line on the computer (as I typically do as part of learning a new line). I have been focusing on the games of chief practitioners, such as Guimard, Eliskases, and Jussupow (or Yusupov -- who famously played the line against Karpov in a candidate's match). I ended up compiling and posting an annotated PGN of 42 interesting games (including one of Kasparov's). I'd also recommend that you review the games Steve has played this year with the Lasker against NM Mark Kernighan, including Kernighan-Stoyko, KCC Club Championship 2005 and Kernighan-Stoyko, Hackettstown 2005.

The game Guimard - Eliskases, Mar del Plata 1941 is interesting mostly because it features two of the chief practitioners of the Lasker pitted against each other. It also has a very cute conclusion (see diagram above). As usual, you can play the game over online, download the PGN, or get the PGN as text below.

[Event "Mar del Plata"]
[Site "Mar del Plata"]
[Date "1941.??.??"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Guimard, Carlos E"]
[Black "Eliskases, Erich Gottlieb"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D57"]
[PlyCount "78"]
[EventDate "1941.??.??"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 O-O 7. e3 Ne4 8. Bxe7 Qxe7 9. cxd5 ({This and the line beginning} 9. Nxe4 dxe4 10. Nd2 { are the most forcing choices for White.}) 9... Nxc3 10. bxc3 exd5 {This game be tween two Lasker Defense experts can tell us a lot about what might be the best strategy for both sides.} 11. Qb3 Qd6 $5 ({More common is} 11... Rd8 12. c4 dxc4 13. Bxc4 Nc6 14. Qc3 Bg4 $11 {when White cannot retreat with} 15. Nd2 $2 {as in the game due to} Rxd4 $1) 12. c4 (12. Bd3 $5 Nd7 13. Qc2 Nf6 $11) 12... dxc4 13. Bxc4 Nc6 14. Qc3 Bg4 15. Nd2 $1 { Preventing Black from damaging his kingside with 15...Bxf3 16.gxf3.} Rad8 16. O-O Ne7 17. Rfc1 $5 b6 ({Premature is} 17... c5 $6 18. Ne4 $1 cxd4 $1 19. Nxd6 dxc3 20. Nxb7 $14 {and White appears to win a pawn.}) 18. Ne4 $1 Qd7 (18... Qg6 19. Ng3 c6 20. Bd3 $1 $14) 19. Ng3 c6 20. Qa3 $5 { This piece attack seems less effective than one with a pawn starting} (20. a4 $1 Rfe8 21. a5 {since Black cannot advance} b5 $2 22. Bb3 { without leaving his c-pawn dreadfully weak.}) 20... Ra8 21. h3 $6 {White begins to drift without a definite plan. This move drives the Bishop to where it wants to go.} Be6 22. Be2 ({Better} 22. Bxe6 Qxe6 23. Rc2) 22... Rac8 23. Nh5 Ng6 24. Qb2 $5 f5 $1 { Defending the g-pawn while beginning a kingside offensive.} 25. a4 {Too late.} f4 $6 {Likely premature, though Black has the right idea.} ({ An interesting idea might be} 25... Bd5 26. a5 b5 $5 {weakening the Queenside structure but stopping White's queenside play in preparation for the attack on the kingside.}) 26. Bd3 $6 ({White misses a nice tactical trick in} 26. d5 $1 cxd5 (26... Bxd5 27. Bg4 $1) (26... Qxd5 $4 27. Qxg7#) 27. Rxc8 Rxc8 28. Bd3 Qf7 29. Bxg6 Qxg6 30. Nxf4 $14) 26... Bf5 $1 ({Also possible was} 26... fxe3 $5 27. fxe3 $1 (27. Bxg6 Rxf2 $1 28. Rc2 Bf5 $1 29. Bxf5 Qxf5 $40) 27... Nh4 28. Nf4 Bd5 $13) 27. e4 $2 {Part of Black's plan! Now the fireworks begin.} Bxh3 $1 28. f3 (28. gxh3 Qxh3 $17 {wins the wayward Knight at h5.}) 28... Qe7 $5 29. a5 Nh4 30. axb6 axb6 31. gxh3 (31. Ba6 Nxf3+ $1 (31... Qg5) (31... Bxg2) 32. gxf3 Qg5+ 33. Kh2 Qxh5 34. Bxc8 Bxc8+ 35. Kg1 (35. Kg2 Qh3+ 36. Kf2 $4 Qh2+) 35... Qxf3 $40 {and Black has a winning attack for only the Exchange.}) 31... Qg5+ 32. Kh1 Qxh5 33. Be2 Kh8 34. Ra3 Rf6 $1 ({Black is not ready yet for} 34... Nf5 $6 35. exf5 Qxh3+ 36. Kg1 Rxf5 37. Bf1 Rg5+ 38. Bg2 $13) 35. Rg1 (35. Qxb6 Nf5 $1) 35... Nf5 $1 36. Kh2 Ne3 (36... Ng3 $1) 37. Ra7 $2 ({More unclear is} 37. Qxb6 $1 Rcf8 (37... Rg6 38. Ra5 $1 Qh4 39. Rxg6 Qf2+ 40. Kh1 Qxe2 41. Qb7 Qxf3+ 42. Kh2 $13) 38. Qc7 R6f7 39. Qxc6 Qh4 40. Ra2 Qf2+ 41. Kh1 Qh4 42. Kh2 $11) 37... Rg6 $1 38. Qa1 Rg5 39. d5 $4 Qxh3+ $3 1-0

World Championship Viewing

Well, the FIDE World Chess Championship is starting up at 2:00 ET today. Where can you view it live?

1. ICC
This is by far the best place to view the games live, hands down, and justifies completely my membership. The Leko-Topalov first-round match up is interesting.

If you are looking for a quick fix and do not want to get involved with downloading stuff, then the Chessgames site offers one game live.

3. Chess FM
Promises live coverage starting Friday, September 30.

4. World Chess Network
They promise to offer live coverage. I could not be bothered messing with their interface when I have ICC.

Chess Live and USCF also promise coverage. You apparently can also pay to view them at the official site (ha!) There will also be good news coverage in the local paper (which requires free registration).

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Volokitin-Nakamura, Lausanne 2005

diagram White to play after 18...Nxh5.
The second Nakamura-Volokitin game (with the infamous 1.e4 c5 2.Qh5?!? opening) has received a lot of attention on the net, but it was actually their first encounter at Lausanne that deserves the most attention. Jon Speelman has recently annotated it in his excellent Guardian chess column. You can play over the game online at the excellent site (with various added kibitzing). I think it is one of the most thoroughly well-played GM games I have seen in a while.

Paulsen Variation of the Petroff

diagram White to play after 15...Nxe3
One of the main reasons I started playing the Bishop's Opening (1.e4 e5 2.Bc4) was to avoid the annoying Petroff's Defense (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6) which always seemed to me rather equalizing. You can't even be sure of getting a Urusov Gambit against it since after 3.d4 Black does not have to play 3...exd4(?!) 4.Bc4! but could simply play 3...Nxe4, which is pretty dull looking. Likely if I looked at some lines deeply enough I'd find something to like about White, but it is all such well-theorized territory that it sort of puts me off trying.

Recently, though, I stumbled upon a game with the Paulsen Variation (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nc4!?) which intrigued me enough to annotate it closely and to think that facing the Petroff might actually be interesting with a line like this. Some of the variations remind me of the Saemisch Variation of the Alekhine's (with 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.Nc3 Nxc3 4.bxc3) which I have played on occasion, and though Black certainly has chances you get lots of unusual positions with lots of interesting strategic and attacking play.

According to the book by Forintos and Haag, this line was "first played by Louis Paulsen in 1887, and then resuscitated by Yugoslav players in the 1950s." After that, to judge from the archive, it more or less vanished. They seem to think that Black "obtains comfortable play" and that may be why there is relatively little theory on it out there. Several other Petroff books I've thumbed through, in fact, relegate it to practically a footnote if they even mention it at all. And a search through databases turns up remarkably few games (under 100, in fact). This last fact may be the most attractive aspect of the Paulsen Variation since it suggests there is still a lot to discover in it (an idea reinforced by an intriguing recent victory by Navara over Kostiniuk playing the line in very unusual fashion).

The following game between the young Andrija Fuderer and old-timer Boris Kostic must have been part of the Yugoslav revival mentioned by Forintos and Haag. It is also quite suggestive of the type of deep attacking ideas that are available to White in this line. You can play over the game online in a java applet or download the PGN (or get the PGN as text below).

[Event "Yugoslavia"]
[Site "Yugoslavia"]
[Date "1950.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Fuderer, Andrija"]
[Black "Kostic, Boris"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C42"]
[Annotator "Goeller,Michael"]
[PlyCount "53"]
[EventDate "1950.??.??"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nc4 Nxe4 5. Nc3 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Be7 7. d4 Nd7 8. Bd3 Nb6 (8... Nf6 $1 9. O-O O-O 10. Rb1 $13) 9. Ne3 d5 10. O-O O-O 11. f4 f5 12. Qh5 g6 13. Qf3 c6 14. g4 $5 ({Better perhaps is} 14. a4 a5 15. c4 $36) 14... Nc4 $6 ({Necessary was} 14... fxg4 15. Nxg4 Kh8 (15... Bxg4 16. Qxg4 Kh8 17. f5 $1 gxf5 18. Qh3 $36) 16. Ne5 Bd6 17. Qg3 $13) 15. gxf5 $1 Nxe3 (15... Bxf5 16. Nxf5 gxf5 17. Bxf5 $1 $36) 16. fxg6 $3 Ng4 ({a)} 16... Nxf1 $4 17. Qh5 $18) ({b)} 16... Nf5 $5 17. Qh5 hxg6 18. Qxg6+ Kh8 19. Qh5+ (19. Kh1 Rf6) 19... Kg7 $1 (19... Kg8 $2 20. Kh1 $1 $40) 20. Rf2 $3 (20. Kh1 $2 Ng3+ $1) 20... Rg8 $1 (20... Qe8 21. Rg2+ Kf6 $8 22. Qg4 $1 $36) 21. Rg2+ Kf6 $1 22. Rg5 Be6 $13 ( 22... Qe8 23. Qh7 $1 Rg6 24. Kh1 $1 Qf7 25. Qh8+ Qg7 26. Qe8 Qh7 27. Ba3 $18) 23. Kh1 Qc8 24. Bd2 $1 $40) 17. f5 Nf6 18. Bh6 Re8 19. gxh7+ Kh8 (19... Kxh7 20. Kh1 $3 $40) 20. Kh1 $1 Bf8 (20... Nxh7 21. f6 $3 Nxf6 22. Bg5 $18) 21. Bg5 Bg7 22. Rg1 Qe7 23. Rg2 $16 Bd7 24. Rag1 $18 Rf8 25. Bh4 Rf7 26. Rg6 Raf8 27. Qg2 1-0

Monday, September 26, 2005

Susswein-Demetrick, WOCC at KCC 2005

Black to play and get the advantage
after 12.O-O?

Joe Demetrick sent me the PGN file of his game from the West Orange-Kenilworth Match this past Thursday, and I have created a java applet version to play online. The game certainly has flaws and both players missed some things (as Joe missed a chance for advantage right out of the opening in the diagram above), but the ending was interesting, as it often is in Joe's games. Joe ended up with a Knight and two pawns versus a Rook, with other pawns on the board. The Knight had a powerful position supported by a pawn and standing in the center at d5, which gave Black at least a slight edge. His opponent, thinking incorrectly that he should press for a win up the Exchange, played recklessly and handed Joe a winning chance that he did not miss.

Everyone agrees that the two matches we have had this year with West Orange have been a lot of fun and we hope that indeed it might be "the beginnings of a league" (as more than one person suggested).

Teaching Chess to Kids

I recenly began teaching chess to a dozen 6-to-8-year-olds. It is a sometimes chaotic scene, especially since they all have varied skill levels. Many of them did not even know how the pieces moved, while others have played a lot (though generally without knowing the more obscure rules--such as the one where you never capture your opponent's King!) I think I did OK since reports are that friends of theirs who heard about our "club" want to get involved. But we are limiting membership for now. Chess, you see, is only for the "cool" kids...

I gave my approach to teaching a lot of thought, since I knew that if I did not create an active learning environment that I'd lose them pretty quickly. So as I introduced each piece I also presented a game or two to go with it. Playing these games allowed the more experienced kids to demonstrate their knowledge while helping the others to learn.

I started with the Rook because I think that is the easiest to explain ("it moves like a train"), and the first game we played was a "Rook Maze" that required them to get from one corner of the board to the other with several of the Rook's own pieces and some of the opponent's in the way. The trick to the maze was that capturing enemy pieces was allowed, and finding the right capture created the fastest path (sort of like having a trap door).

For the King, I first offered them checkmate with two Rooks versus King as a way of reinforcing the Rook's moves while explaining "Checkmate" to them (as best I could, since Checkmate is a hard concept for kids this age to wrap their minds around). Then we did a puzzle where a White Rook delivered a Check on the Black King and they had to find every way available to escape check (including interposing a Rook or using a Rook to capture the checking White Rook).

Finally, we played a game of "Sumo Kings" with the twelve of them against me. I got the idea from Fritz and Chesster, though I imagine chess teachers have used it forever. The idea is to teach the concept of "the opposition" and the movement of the Kings generally. The game involves setting up two Kings on opposite sides of the board with the object being to force your way from one side to the other or to stop your opponent from getting to your side (in which case it could be a draw). As you might expect, even though I presented them with a winning position to start (Kings at e1 and e8, with them as White and moving first), they lost the first game, drew the second, and did not win until the third. Then I moved their King to e2 and secured a draw, which made no sense to them at all. But we discussed the strategy and I explained (as best I could get across to them) the concept of "the opposition." At the very least they all knew how the King moved after that! I tried to keep it fun by acting like a Sumo wrestler as I moved my King, and by saying things like "Victory is mine!" or "You shall never pass me!" or "I am defeated!"

The most fun was teaching Pawns, when we broke up into pairs and played "Pawn Battle." GMs Roman Pelts and Lev Alburt call it "The Pawn Game" and you can find a summary of their description online at the wonderful Chess Corner site. Here are the instructions I wrote up for my students as part of my handout (which are different in only one important way):

" Pawn Battle."
  • Exercise 6: Pawn Battle (teaches “Promotion,” “Stalemate,” “Zugzwang”)
    Set up the pawns as they are in the opening position (along the 2nd and 7th ranks as shown in the diagram below). Take turns moving your pawns forward—and remember all the rules of how Pawns work! They can move two squares on their first move or one, and then they move one square at a time. They capture diagonally, so watch out! And don’t forget the “en passant” rule!
  • The first player to get a Queen wins. It is a draw if either side has no legal move. But if you can make a legal move you must move (there are no “passes” in chess)!
  • Strategy: There are three basic ways to win this game if your opponent is not careful. (1) You could win if your opponent makes a mistake and allows you to win a Pawn. (2) You could also win if you can get a “passed Pawn,” meaning one you’re your opponent cannot stop from Queening, or a “Pawn majority” which will lead to a passed Pawn. (3) The game can also be won because of the “compulsion to move” or “Zugzwang.” Near the end of the game, if you time things right, your opponent might have to make a move he does not want to make once most Pawns are blocked but some can still move. Play the game long enough (and without making obvious errors) and you’ll discover what “Zugzwang” means!

I notice that Alburt and Pelts say that you can win by depriving your opponent of moves while you still can move, but that does not seem to me as effective at teaching the concept of "stalemate" as having it be a draw as soon as either player can no longer move. The object is to avoid a total lock unless you can make it a zugzwang position, where the opponent must advance into a capture.

This game proved wildly popular. Once they had played it once or twice (depending on their speed), I encouraged them to play Sumo Kings against each other, trying out different starting positions. We then returned to the lesson to review what they had learned from "Pawn Battle" about how pawns work and to finish discussing the other pieces.

I then covered the Bishop, Queen, and Knight. For the Bishop there was another "Chess Maze" that required them to get across the board with blocked pawns in the way. For a Queen I put a number of pawns on the board and asked them to add up how many the Queen could capture from its starting position. And for the Knight there was another maze and then a smothered mate in one.

That all took about an hour and then we just had a free-for-all of open play until their parents came to take them home. It was a lot of fun and I look forward to lesson number two. Maybe I'll even get to play some more "Pawn Battle," which I actually enjoy and recommend to you as a fun chess variant (sort of the chess equivalent of tic tac toe).

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Two Knights Modern

White to play and win after 28...Re6.

As someone who plays the Urusov Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nf3), I often have to face the Two Knights Defense (after 4...Nc6). In my website devoted to the Urusov, I have written extensively on the Perreux Variation for White (5.Ng5!?) which is especially forcing and relatively obscure. I actually never play the Perreux myself, however, except occasionally in skittles. I chose to write about the Perreux for a number of reasons--including that it was not often covered by theory, had relatively limited subvariations, and that it was featured in the Dimock Theme Tournament (which I had used to illustrate the Urusov with anotated games)--none of which had anything to do with its value for the theory of the Two Knights! I have also done some analysis on a rather obscure variation of the Max Lange Attack (which Pete Tamburro discusses online), and I may post that analysis here some time. But I have not played the Max Lange since I was a kid, mostly because the Anti-Lange (5.O-O Nxe4!) is pretty much equal. No, I almost always meet the Two Knights with the Modern Variation (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d4 exd4 5.e5!) which I think is White's best hope for an edge.

I may put together a bibliography specifically devoted to the Modern Variation. You can find many of the references I'd cite either in the Perreux Links & Acknowledgments or in the Opening Theory Links at the Kenilworth Chess Club site listed under "Two Knights Defense." There are a few good pieces I know about that are available online:

  • C55 from the Tromso Sjakklubb
    Offers good coverage of the Keidanz lines for the club player in java applet format for easy viewing online.
  • Lost Variations by Mark Morss
  • More about the Two Knights Modern by Mark Morss
    Morss is a correspondence player well known for his research skills. He gives some great stuff mostly from Black's perspective, mostly in his notes to Maxfield-Morse 1992 and Danzanvilliers-Morss.
  • "Opening Preparation" by Sunil Weeramantry, in Chess Cafe's The Chess Coach #13. Download a zip file with all the articles as text files. This was Weeramanry's last article for Chess Cafe and he did a wonderful job, offering up many of his games with the Modern Variation that can be found nowhere else.

My game with the late NM Eugene Shapiro (from which the diagram above is drawn) is an excellent illustration of White's strategy in the Modern Variation, which typically centers around dominating the dark squares and winning in the ending. It is also one of my most thoroughly solid performances over the board. You can view the game online or download the PGN. You can also find the PGN as text below, containing also the complete score of a second win of mine with the same line.

[Event "North Jersey Chess League"]
[Site "West Orange, NJ USA"]
[Date "1988.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Goeller, Michael"]
[Black "Shapiro, Gene"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C55"]
[Annotator "Goeller,Michael"]
[PlyCount "63"]
[EventDate "1988.04.??"]

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nf3 Nc6 {All players rated 2000 or over play the Two Knights Defense with 4...Nc6; and most players below 2000 grab the pawn with} (4... Nxe4 5. Qxd4 Nf6 6. Nc3 Nc6 7. Qh4 Be7 8. Bg5 d6 9. O-O-O $44) 5. e5 {The Modern Variation is White's best hope for an edge against the Two Knights once d4 has been played.} d5 (5... Ng4 6. O-O $1 d6 (6... Ngxe5 $4 7. Nxe5 Nxe5 8. Re1 $18) 7. exd6 Bxd6 (7... Qxd6 8. Na3 $1 $44) 8. Re1+ Kf8 9. Bb5 $5 (9. Na3) 9... Nce5 10. Bf4 Nxf3+ 11. Qxf3 Bxf4 12. Qxf4 c6 13. Bc4 Qf6 14. Qg3 $44) (5... Ne4 $5 6. Bd5 Nc5 (6... Bb4+ 7. c3 dxc3 8. O-O $1) 7. c3 dxc3 8. Nxc3 Nb4 $1) 6. Bb5 Ne4 7. Nxd4 Bd7 8. Bxc6 bxc6 9. O-O Bc5 (9... Qh4 $5 10. Be3 $13) 10. Be3 (10. f3 Ng5 11. Be3 O-O (11... Ne6 12. c3) 12. Nc3 Rb8 13. f4 Bxd4 14. Bxd4 Ne6 15. f5 (15. Bxa7 $5) 15... Nxd4 16. Qxd4 Qg5 17. f6 Bh3 18. Rf2 gxf6 19. exf6 Rbe8 20. Kh1 Bc8 21. Rf3 Kh8 22. Qxa7 $1 Rg8 23. Qf2 d4 24. Rg3 $1 Qh6 $2 25. Rxg8+ Kxg8 26. Qxd4 c5 27. Qf2 Bb7 28. Qg3+ Kh8 29. Qg7+ $5 Qxg7 30. fxg7+ Kxg7 31. Kg1 Re6 32. Rd1 Rg6 33. g3 h5 34. Kf2 h4 35. Rd7 hxg3+ 36. hxg3 Rf6+ 37. Ke2 Rb6 38. b3 c4 39. Rxc7 cxb3 40. cxb3 $1 Ba6+ 41. Ke3 Rg6 42. Ne4 Re6 43. Kd4 Be2 44. Ng5 Rf6 45. Rxf7+ $5 Rxf7 46. Nxf7 Kxf7 47. Kc5 Ke7 48. b4 Kd7 49. a4 Bd1 50. a5 Kc7 51. b5 Bf3 52. a6 $1 Kb8 53. b6 $1 Be2 54. a7+ $1 Kb7 55. Kd6 $1 Bf3 56. a8=Q+ Kxa8 57. Kc7 $1 $18 { 1-0, Goeller-Napoli, Hillside at West Orange 1986?}) 10... O-O $6 (10... Qe7 $1 11. Re1 $13) (10... Bb6 $5 11. Nd2 $14) 11. f3 Ng5 12. f4 Ne4 13. Nd2 Qe7 $2 ( 13... Nxd2 14. Qxd2 Qe7 15. Qc3 $14 {xc5}) 14. Nxe4 $1 dxe4 { Black's bad pawns give him grief.} 15. Qe1 $1 { Dominating the dark squares and threatening Nb3 and Qc3.} Kh8 $6 (15... Bb6 $5) 16. Nb3 Bxe3+ 17. Qxe3 f5 {The only way to defend the pawn at e4.} 18. Qc5 $1 Qf7 (18... Qxc5+ 19. Nxc5 Bc8 20. Kf2 $16 {hands White what should be a winning ending since the powerful Knight at c5 completely dominates the Bishop at c8 and Black's pawns are permanently compromised.}) 19. Rad1 g5 $2 { Desperate measures. Black strives for some kingside counterplay before White's position is overwhelming.} (19... Rfb8 20. Rf2 Be6 21. Qxc6 $16) 20. fxg5 Rg8 21. e6 $1 {A thematic counter-sacrifice to open up lines.} Bxe6 (21... Qxe6 $4 22. Qc3+ Rg7 23. Nc5) 22. Nd4 Rae8 23. Nxf5 Bxf5 24. Rxf5 Qg7 25. Qxc6 (25. b3) 25... Qxb2 26. Qf6+ $1 Qxf6 27. gxf6 Rgf8 28. Rd7 { White's goal is now to invade the 7th.} Re6 29. Rh5 Rfxf6 30. Rhxh7+ Kg8 31. Rdg7+ Kf8 32. Rxc7 $18 1-0

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Meinders-Hart, WOCC at KCC 2005

diagram White to play after 15.d5! Bc8

One of the most thoroughly well-played games in the Kenilworth-West Orange match was that of candidate-Expert (or rising A-player) Brian Meinders who showed a surprising depth of positional understanding in his game. Younger players like Brian (who is a student at Rutgers) have added a lot of depth to our club and made it possible for us to field a strong team even when we did not have Massey or Stoyko available. The following game, which you can download as a PGN file or play online as a java applet, is worth seeing even if you are likely never to face (or to try) the Schlechter Defense to the Queen's Gambit.

[Event "West Orange CC at Kenilworth CC"]
[Site "Kenilworth, NJ USA"]
[Date "2005.09.22"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Meinders, Brian"]
[Black "Hart, Charlie"]
[Result "1-0"]
[PlyCount "63"]
[EventDate "2005.??.??"]

1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. e3 g6 5. Nc3 Bg7 6. Bd3 O-O 7. O-O h6 $6 { Black prepares to play ...Be6 without allowing White Ng5 in response. But Ng5 would be a wasted tempo for White, so . ..h6?! here is itself a wasted tempo and one that weakens the Black kingside.} 8. Ne5 Be6 { Typical of the Schlechter Variation.} 9. b3 Nfd7 $6 {This only make s sense if Black can follow with ...f6 driving away the Knight, but due to the weakening of the g6 pawn the ...f6 advance is no longer possible.} 10. f4 $1 $14 Nxe5 11. fxe5 dxc4 12. bxc4 Qa5 $6 ({Better} 12... c5 13. Be4 Bxc4 14. Bxb7 Bxf1 15. Qxf1 Nd7 16. Bxa8 Qxa8 17. Ba3 $5 $14) 13. Bd2 Qa6 14. Qe2 b6 (14... Qa3) 15. d5 (15. Nd5 $5 Qb7 16. Nf4 $16) 15... Bc8 (15... Bd7 16. e6 Be8 17. d6 Qa3 18. c5 fxe6 19. Rxf8+ Bxf8 20. Qg4 $18) 16. e6 $1 f5 17. e4 (17. a4 $1 $40) 17... cxd5 18. cxd5 Qa3 19. Rac1 (19. Nb5 $1 Qa4 20. e5 $1 Ba6 21. Rf4 $1 $18) 19... f4 $2 (19... Ba6 $1 20. exf5 $16) 20. Nb5 $1 Qa4 21. Nc7 Qd4+ 22. Kh1 Na6 23. Bc3 Qe3 24. Qxe3 fxe3 25. Rxf8+ Bxf8 26. Nxa8 Nc5 27. Be2 Nxe4 28. Bd4 Bb7 29. Nc7 Nf6 30. Bf3 e2 31. Bxf6 exf6 32. Bxe2 $18 1-0

Radomskyj-Kernighan, WOCC at KCC 2005

diagram White to play and win after 29...Qa7

On Thursday night, the Kenilworth Chess Club played host to the West Orange Chess Club in a team match on ten boards. The most exciting game of the night must have been that between long rivals Mark Kernighan and Peter Radomskyj, two life masters who have met often in local tournaments. As Mark said, the game was a perfect illustration of their contrasting styles: Peter playing quickly for the attack and searching for the breakthrough while Mark playing more slowly and defensively, waiting for his opponent to over-extend so that he could counter-attack. After Radomskyj missed his best attacking chance (see diagram above), Mark took command. And when Radomskyj blundered later on, Kernighan won the Exchange and, despite having very little time on his clock (only a minute by my estimate for his last 20 moves!) played with flawless technique to bring home the victory. The last five minutes or so of the game attacted a crowd of about 20 observers who gathered around the pit to see the final act of the match (see photos here, here, and here).

diagram Kernighan and Radomskyj in "The Pit"

You can view the game online as a java applet or get the PGN below with my notes (based on comments by Stoyko and Kernighan after the game, with some help from Fritz).

[Event "West Orange CC at Kenilworth CC"]
[Site "Kenilworth, NJ USA"]
[Date "2005.09.22"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Radomskyj, Peter"]
[Black "Kernighan, Mark"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D52"]
[Annotator "Goeller,Michael"]
[PlyCount "136"]
[TimeControl "G90"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 c6 5. Bg5 Nbd7 6. e3 Qa5 7. Nd2 dxc4 (7... Bb4 8. Qc2 $14) 8. Bxf6 Nxf6 9. Nxc4 Qc7 10. a3 $6 ({Stoyko says the best plan is} 10. g3 $5 Be7 11. Bg2 O-O 12. O-O $14 ) 10... Be7 11. Be2 O-O 12. Rc1 Rd8 13. b4 Bd7 ({ Black should break out of the bind immediately with} 13... a5 $1 14. Nxa5 e5 $1 $132) 14. O-O Rac8 15. Qb3 (15. Bd3 $5) 15... Be8 16. Rfd1 Nd5 17. g3 (17. e4 Nf4 $11) 17... Nb6 $6 (17... f6 $5 18. Bf3 Bf7 $11) 18. Ne5 Qb8 19. e4 $6 { "Moves like this look good but are not good" remarked Stoyko after the game.} Nd7 $1 20. Nxd7 (20. Nd3 e5 $15) 20... Rxd7 21. Bg4 Rdc7 $5 {The Rook seems misplaced here, but Kernighan felt he needed to oppose on the c-file in case it ever were opened.} 22. e5 Bg5 $5 { Egging White on in typical rope-a-dope fashion.} 23. f4 Be7 {Black's idea was to lure White's pawns forward and thus weaken White's Kingside. Notice that there are now lots of open lines leading to White's King, and this with all of Black's long-range pieces still on the board. However, it is difficult not to favor White's initiative.} 24. Ne4 (24. f5 $5) 24... a5 $6 { An interesting idea, but likely premature. Maybe instead} (24... Rd8) ({or} 24... Kh8) 25. f5 exf5 26. Bxf5 Rd8 27. bxa5 Bd7 28. Bxd7 $6 { This only helps Black.} ({Better} 28. Rf1 $1 Bxf5 (28... Qa7 29. Qb6 $16) 29. Rxf5 Rxd4 (29... Rf8 $5 30. Rcf1 Qa7 31. Qc4 Qxa5 32. Rxf7 Qd5 33. Rxf8+ Bxf8 34. Qxd5+ cxd5 35. Nd6 Bxd6 36. exd6 Rd7 37. Rb1 Kf7 38. Rb6 $16) 30. Rxf7 (30. Rxc6 $5 Bf8 (30... Rxc6 $2 31. Qxf7+ Kh8 32. Qxe7 Rc8 33. Nd6 $18) 31. Ng5 $5 $40) 30... Rd5 31. Rxc6 $3 Qa7+ 32. Rb6 Qxa5 33. Rf1 $16) 28... Rcxd7 29. Rf1 ( 29. a6 $5) 29... Qa7 (29... Rf8 30. e6 Rxd4 31. exf7+ Kh8 $14) 30. Nc5 $2 { Watching the game from the wings I did not understand how White could pass up the opportunity to grab the f-pawn, and analysis reveals that taking with either the Rook or the Queen likely wins.} ({The silicon monster discovers a fascinating win for White that relies upon a skewer, a pin, and an amazing zugzwang:} 30. Rxf7 $3 Qxd4+ (30... Rd5 31. Rxe7 Qxd4+ 32. Nf2) 31. Nf2 $1 Qd5 (31... Kh8 $2 32. Rxe7 $1 (32. e6 $18) 32... Rxe7 33. Rd1 $18) 32. Qxd5 cxd5 33. e6 {and though Black can still create some complications there is no way for him to get out of the awful pin on the Bishop without losing material, yet he must break the pin eventually because otherwise White will be able to bring in his Knight either to pile up on the Bishop or overprotect the Rook at f7. It appears that White gains at least doubled Rooks on the 7th with a killer passed pawn at e6:} d4 34. Nd3 h6 (34... Ra8 $5 35. a6 $1 bxa6 36. exd7 $1 Kxf7 37. Rc8 $18) 35. Ne5 (35. Nf4 $5 d3 36. Nxd3 $1 Rxd3 37. Rxe7 $18) 35... Rd5 36. Rxe7 Rxe5 37. Rcc7 $18) ({Also strong is} 30. Qxf7+ Kh8 31. e6 $16) 30... Rd5 $1 31. Qf3 Rf8 32. Qf2 Qxa5 33. Nxb7 Qa7 $1 34. Nc5 Qxa3 $11 { Now the material balance has been restored and Black has the initiative.} 35. Ne4 Qd3 36. Nd2 $4 {This blunder loses at least the exchange. Kernighan had about three minutes on his clock at this point while Radomskyj had about 30 minutes or so. Kernighan wryly observed afterward that his opponents often get a tremendous time advantage but don't make good use of their time when it counts. Necessary was} (36. Nc3 $1 Ra5 (36... Rdd8 37. Ne2) (36... Rxd4 37. Rfd1) 37. Rfd1 $11 { though White has clearly gone from being the attacker to the defender.}) 36... Bg5 $1 37. Nc4 Bxc1 38. Rxc1 Qxd4 39. Qxd4 Rxd4 40. Na5 Rd5 (40... Ra8 $5 41. Nxc6 Rd2 $19) 41. Nxc6 Kh8 {avoiding fork tricks} 42. Kf2 Rd2+ 43. Ke3 Rxh2 44. Rf1 Rh6 45. Nd4 Re8 46. Rxf7 Rxe5+ 47. Kd3 Rf6 48. Ra7 h5 49. Ra1 Rd6 $1 $19 50. Kc4 Re4 51. Rd1 Kh7 $1 52. Kc5 Rexd4 $1 {An excellent decision, especially considering that Black has less than a minute left on his clock.} 53. Rxd4 Rxd4 54. Kxd4 Kg6 55. Ke4 Kg5 56. Kf3 Kf5 57. Ke3 Kg4 58. Kf2 Kh3 $1 59. Kf3 g5 60. Kf2 g4 61. Kg1 Kxg3 62. Kh1 Kf2 63. Kh2 g3+ 64. Kh3 g2 65. Kh4 g1=Q 66. Kxh5 Qg7 $1 67. Kh4 Qg6 68. Kh3 Qg3# {You must admire Kernighan's cold-blooded technique, especially considering that the last 20 moves of the game, all flawless on Black's part, were made in about a minute in sudden death!} 0-1

Friday, September 23, 2005

Kenilworth CC (7) - West Orange CC (3)

West Orange CC at the Kenilworth Chess Club
September 22, 2005

There is always a "home field advantage," even in chess, as proven by last night's runaway victory by the Kenilworth Chess Club team over the visiting West Orange Chess Club. One advantage of home field is that all of your players will show up: we got two wins by forfeit. I was disappointed not to play, but I'll take one for the team!

I collected several games from the match, including victories by Mark, Ari, Brian, and Joe. The first-board match-up between Kernighan and Radomskyj (masters who meet each other at least once per month in local tournaments) was especially exciting as Mark tried to score the win with seconds left on his clock and over 20 people watching from the wings. I should post those games and more photos over the weekend. For now, here is the final score:

Kenilworth (7) - West Orange (3)
Mark Kernighan - Peter Radomskyj 1-0
Mike Goeller - Richard Kmiec 1-0 Forfeit
Ari Minkoff - Jose Fernandez 1-0
Brian Meinders - Charlie Hart 1-0
Geoff McAuliffe - Roger Pedersen 1-0 Forfeit
John Moldovan - Walter Stephen 1/2-1/2
Greg Tomkovich - Victor Rojas 0-1
Mike Wojcio - Bryan Cohen 1/2-1/2
Joe Demetrick - Harvey Susswein 1-0
Umar Ali - John Power 0-1

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

A Challenge to the Anti-Saemisch KID?

Black to play and win after 34.Rg4?

FM Steve Stoyko was discussing the King's Indian Defense with one of the members of the club last week. I asked him what he suggested playing against the Saemisch Variation, and he replied, "No one plays the Saemisch these days because of the following gambit..." and he showed us the line that goes 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. f3 O-O 6. Be3 c5 7. dxc5 dxc5 8. Qxd8 Rxd8 9. Bxc5 Nc6 with compensation for the pawn.

Wouldn't you know it, but in Sunday's New York Times Chess Column, Robert Byrne annotates the game Bischoff-Radjabov, Mainz 2005, from the Ordix Open, which began exactly this way, only White declined the gambit with 7.Nge2. Black got a good game and a clear initiative on the kingside. Interested in finding out more about the gambit, I looked at some games online and found an interesting one from the recent European Team Championship featuring KID author GM Joe Gallagher as Black against Frode Elsness's strong home preparation. It was quite a struggle for Black to hold his own a pawn down through most of the ending and if it were not for a series of weak moves near the end of the game White surely should have won.

I do not think this is the line for me against the Saemisch, unless Steve can help me improve over Gallagher's play!

You can play over both of these games online or download the PGN file.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Torre Plays the Torre at Moscow 1925

diagram White to play and win after 24...Qb5?

In anticipation of NM Scott Massey's annual lecture, which is now set for October 6th at the Kenilworth Chess Club, I have been looking at some games from the Moscow 1925 tournament that will be his subject. Scott is most interested in seeing Moscow as the site where Soviet chess domination began. As with any great tournament, though, there are a number of lessons to be drawn from it. I prefer to focus on the story of Carlos Torre, one of the many lost American chess talents, which I touched on in a previous post. Here I want to look at his rather simple opening system, which has practically as great a following among amateurs as the Colle.

Torre achieved an impressive 3.5-.5 score with his patented Torre Attack (with d4, Nf3, and Bg5) at the Moscow 1925 tournament. But it is clear that it was not the opening but rather his imaginative tactical play that won his games. The famous game below against Lasker is a case in point. If Lasker had found the right moves from move 20 to the fateful moment following move 24, there was little chance that Torre would have won this game. You can play over the game and notes online (which includes all of Torre's games with the Torre at Moscow 1925) or download the PGN or get it as text below.

[Event "Moscow International Tournament"]
[Site "Moscow"]
[Date "1925.??.??"]
[Round "12"]
[White "Torre, Carlos"]
[Black "Lasker, Em"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A46"]
[Annotator "Goeller"]
[PlyCount "85"]
[EventDate "1925.??.??"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 (2... b6 3. Bg5 Bb7 4. Nbd2 d5 (4... c5 $1) 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 e6 $6 7. Ne5 $1 a6 $6 8. f4 $1 Be7 9. O-O c5 10. c3 O-O 11. Qf3 Nxe5 $2 12. fxe5 Nd7 $2 13. Qh3 $1 g6 (13... h6 $2 14. Bxh6) 14. Bh6 c4 $6 15. Bc2 b5 16. Rf2 Qb6 17. Raf1 f5 18. exf6 Rxf6 19. Nf3 Re8 20. Qg3 Nf8 21. Ne5 Qd8 22. h4 ( 22. Ng4 $1) 22... Rf5 23. Bxf5 Bxh4 24. Bxg6 $3 Bxg3 25. Bf7+ Kh8 26. Bxe8 Bxf2+ 27. Rxf2 Qxe8 28. Rxf8+ {1-0 Torre-Verlinsky/Moscow 1925 (28)}) 3. Bg5 { I had never been a great believer in the Torre Attack and the openingpositions that Torre achieved with it were rarely impressive (with the exception of the game with Verlinsky above) at Moscow 1925. At the same time, though, he achieved a 3.5-.5 score with it!} c5 4. e3 cxd4 $5 (4... Nc6 5. Nbd2 b6 6. c3 Bb7 7. Bd3 cxd4 8. exd4 Be7 9. Nc4 Qc7 10. Qd2 Rc8 11. O-O h6 12. Bf4 d6 13. Rfe1 Nd8 14. Qd1 Nd5 15. Bg3 O-O 16. Nh4 g5 17. Qh5 Kg7 18. Rxe6 Nxe6 19. Nf5+ Kg8 20. Nxh6+ {1-0 Torre,C-Saemisch,F/Moscow 1925 (20)}) (4... Qb6 $5) 5. exd4 Be7 6. Nbd2 d6 7. c3 Nbd7 8. Bd3 b6 9. Nc4 (9. O-O Bb7 10. Re1 O-O 11. Nf1 $6 Re8 12. Ng3 Qc7 13. Bc2 Nf8 14. Qd3 Rac8 15. Rad1 Nd5 16. Nh5 $6 (16. Bxe7 $11) 16... Nb4 17. cxb4 Qxc2 18. Bxe7 Qxd3 19. Rxd3 Rxe7 20. d5 Ng6 $6 21. dxe6 Rxe6 22. Red1 Bxf3 23. gxf3 Nh4 24. Kf1 Nf5 $6 25. Ng3 Nxg3+ 26. hxg3 Rd8 27. Rc1 Kf8 28. f4 Rd7 29. Rc8+ Re8 30. Rc4 { 1/2-1/2 Torre,C-Gruenfeld,E/Moscow 1925 (30)}) 9... Bb7 10. Qe2 Qc7 11. O-O O-O 12. Rfe1 Rfe8 13. Rad1 Nf8 14. Bc1 $5 {This is the beginning of a very imaginative if somewhat artificial plan to bring his pieces to the kingside for an attack. Better perhaps to contest the d5 square with something like} ( 14. Ne3 h6 15. Bxf6 Bxf6 16. d5 $5) 14... Nd5 15. Ng5 $5 b5 $1 16. Na3 b4 17. cxb4 Nxb4 18. Qh5 Bxg5 19. Bxg5 Nxd3 20. Rxd3 {One can only assume that Torre has here achieved his goal as conceived on move 14. But Lasker has seen further, at least up to this point!} Qa5 $1 {A powerful move that points up the awkward placement of White's pieces. The Queen here attacks the Rook at e1, pins the Bishop at g5 (threatening ...f6) and even keeps the wayward Knight at a3 from getting back in the game easily. Torre is forced to sacrifice a pawn to keep from losing more material.} 21. b4 Qf5 $6 {According t o a story told by Lasker biographer Hannak and repeated by Torre biographer Velasco, Lasker here had opened a telegram informing him that a play he had written was to be produced. He was therefore distracted from his game and made the following series of compounding errors that basically handed the game to Torre. It is not widely known, by the way, that Lasker was a creative writer. In fact, the Cleveland Library has an unfinished novel of Lasker's in their collection.} ({Best according to Nimzovich in "My System" is} 21... Qd5 $1 22. Rg3 (22. Qg4 e5 $17) 22... h6 $1 23. Bf6 Ng6 24. Rxg6 fxg6 25. Qxg6 Qxg2+ $1 26. Qxg2 Bxg2 $17) ({ Accepting the pawn only helps White coordinate his forces after} 21... Qxb4 $6 22. Rb1 Qa5 23. Nc4 $44) 22. Rg3 h6 $2 (22... f6 $1 23. Nc4 Re7 24. Nxd6 Qd5 25. Ne4 fxg5 $17) 23. Nc4 $1 Qd5 $2 ({A likely draw follows} 23... hxg5 24. Nxd6 Qg6 25. Qxg6 Nxg6 26. Nxb7 Reb8 27. Nc5 Rxb4 28. Rxg5 Rxd4 $11) 24. Ne3 Qb5 $2 ({Relatively better was} 24... Qxd4 25. Rd1 Qe4 26. Bxh6 Ng6 27. Bg5 $16 {though White has a clear advantage due to the open h-file.}) 25. Bf6 $3 { The beginning of Torre's famous "windmill sacrifice"! All other moves hand Black the edge.} Qxh5 26. Rxg7+ Kh8 27. Rxf7+ Kg8 28. Rg7+ Kh8 29. Rxb7+ Kg8 30. Rg7+ Kh8 31. Rg5+ (31. Rxa7+) 31... Kh7 32. Rxh5 Kg6 33. Rh3 (33. g4 $1) 33... Kxf6 34. Rxh6+ Kg5 35. Rh3 { and the win is easy as White is up three pawns.} Reb8 36. Rg3+ Kf6 37. Rf3+ Kg6 38. a3 a5 39. bxa5 Rxa5 40. Nc4 Rd5 41. Rf4 Nd7 42. Rxe6+ Kg5 43. g3 1-0

Friday, September 16, 2005

Kenilworth CC Calendar Update

Last night we hashed out some of the Kenilworth Chess Club Calendar for the remainder of the year. We have decided to begin opening at 7:00 p.m. to accommodate weekly lectures by Masters Steve Stoyko and Scott Massey. Scott will deliver his annual theme lecture on "Moscow 1925" October 6, which will occupy the club for the night. A rated tournament is planned for the first two weeks of November, to be advertised in Chess Life. Here is the plan for the next three weeks:

September 22 - Match with West Orange Chess Club. Starts promptly at 8:00 p.m. Please arrive by 7:45 p.m. if you wish to participate. All those who played at West Orange will be reserved a seat. Other openings based on rating.

September 29 - First lecture by FM Steve Stoyko from 7 p.m.-8 p.m. on the Main Line Lasker's Defense (1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e3 O-O 6.Nf3 h6 7.Bh4 Ne4). Open to all, $5 per person. After the lecture there will be open play and skittles from 8:00 p.m. to closing.

October 6 - Special Lecture by National and Life Master Scott Massey beginning at 8:15 p.m. on "The Moscow 1925 Tournament and the Beginnings of Soviet Chess Domination." Admission TBA. This promises to be one of the best events of the calendar year. Scott has delivered several memorable annual lectures, including an excellent one last year on Bobby Fischer and His Games.

More information available at our Calendar page.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Torre-Saemisch, Moscow 1925

diagram White to play and win after 17...Kg7?

It has been a busy week for me, so I have not been playing or studying as much chess. But I have found time to annotate a nice short game by Carlos Torre, from which the diagram above is taken. It is from the Moscow 1925 tournament, which will soon be the subject of a lecture by NM Scott Massey at the Kenilworth Chess Club. Torre played the "Torre Attack" against Saemisch, who overestimated his chances at the critical moment and so allowed the young star a chance for a powerful knock-out blow. As usual, you can play the game over online or download the PGN file. But try to solve the puzzle before you do.

If I have a chance (before moving on to other things), I may come back to annotate some other games of Torre's from the tournament. After all, he had a very strong performance there, finishing 6th in a very strong field and actually leading the tournament at the halfway mark, before losing to the eventual winner Bogoljubow.

Carlos Torre Carlos Torre at Moscow 1925 (in "Chess Fever")

Like Morphy and Fischer, Torre is one of the many lost American chess talents. Many at the time expected him to be another Capablanca. According to his biographer Gabriel Velasco, after the game with Saemisch Emmanuel Lasker commented: "These first steps of the young Torre are undoubtedly the first steps of a future champion." But for all his promise he could barely scrape by. Though it is widely reported (following Reuben Fine) that he gave up chess because of "a nervous break down," I think the truth may have had more to do with "a crisis of career." After all, though he had performed brilliantly at the game from 1925 to 1926, he had very little to show for it monetarily. It was simply much safer for him to return to his native Mexico (from which he had immigrated with his family to New Orleans) to become a pharmacist, working for his brother the doctor, than to continue on the precarious course of being a "professional chessplayer."

The 1920's were something of a turning point in the professionalization of the game: FIDE was founded in 1924, Frank James Marshall was helping organize a group of New York "chess philanthropists" to make it possible for the U.S. Champion at least to earn a living from the game, and the Soviets were just starting to organize the system that would eventually make it possible for a large number of people to be chess professionals (in much the same way that they made it possible for supposedly "amateur" Olympians to succeed at other sports). Moscow 1925 is something of a watershed in the Soviet's "professionalization" of chess, in fact, and so it is interesting that it was against this back-drop that Torre performed so brilliantly for a man his age only to vanish from the scene because he could not earn a decent living.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Summer Chess Party

Founding member Andy Wolman hosted a "summer chess party" at his house on August 14, attended by members of the Kenilworth Chess Club and the Roselle Chess Club (at which Andy also plays). The pictures below show some of our members in action.

Founding member and host Andy Wolman
with his lovely wife.

In the foreground, 2004 KCC blitz champ
Mauricio Camejo plays 2005 KCC champ Steve Stoyko.

NM Scott Massey brought two of his students.

Kenilworth Chess Club President Mike Stallings.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Capablanca-Ilyin Zhenevsky, Moscow 1925

White to play and win after 24...Nde5

I have been looking at the games from Moscow 1925 in Bogoljubow's book of the tournament ever since I picked up the German Olms edition from Fred Wilson at the recent New Jersey Open. Scott Massey will be giving a lecture on the tournament at the Kenilworth Chess Club later this month focusing on how it marked the beginning of Soviet interest in chess and potentially the development of the "Soviet School" of chess. I think he was inspired to give the lecture after seeing "Chess Fever" at the club, which was filmed at and takes place during the tournament. Among the games he is planning to discuss is Capablanca-Genewski (a.k.a. Ilyin Zhenevsky), which is a famously deep strategic game where Black's counter-attack on the Queenside is more effective than White's direct assault on the Kingside. I was using Fritz to look at the critical moments of the game and I feel rather certain that I've stumbled upon a way for Capablanca to have won from the diagram above. He played 25.Qf2?! which met with 25...Ng4! Capa had the right idea but probably the wrong move (though I show he likely still could win).

This is such a rich game that I'm sure Scott won't mind my posting it with my analysis ahead of his lecture. After all, you really have to play this game over several times to understand it.

I would not be surprised to learn that I am not the first to claim a win for Capablanca in this famous game. After all, I am sure the Soviet analysts have gone over it for years, though I think it would take someone working with Fritz or a similar program to crack the case. Didn't Capa miss it? Knowing it is there (and, in fact, there may be three ways to win) should make your task easier even if you choose to go it on your own "without a calculator."

You can play over the game online, download the PGN or get it as text below. .

[Event "Moscow International Tournament"]
[Site "Moscow"]
[Date "1925.??.??"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Capablanca, Jose Raoul"]
[Black "Zhenevsky, Ilyin A"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B25"]
[PlyCount "74"]
[EventDate "1925.??.??"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. g3 g6 $1 {"Black wants to control the d4 square for as long as possible" writes Bogoljubow.} 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. Nge2 d6 6. d3 Nf6 7. O-O O-O 8. h3 a6 ({"More energetic is} 8... Rb8 {" writes Bogoljubow.}) 9. Be3 Bd7 10. Qd2 Re8 {"In order to avoid the exchange of Bishops by Bh6."} 11. Nd1 Rc8 12. c3 Qa5 13. g4 Red8 14. f4 Be8 15. g5 Nd7 16. f5 {"White plays all out to attack on the Kingside, while Black plays equally to attack the Queenside." Who will break through first?} b5 17. Nf4 b4 18. f6 Bf8 (18... exf6 19. Nd5 fxg5 20. Bxg5 f6 $1 21. Nxf6+ Bxf6 22. Bxf6 Nxf6 23. Rxf6 $36) 19. Nf2 $6 { As my notes suggest, this move is not as bad as most claim. Bogoljubow writes that "this loses at least two tempi in developing the attack, but it is difficult to suggest how the front line is to be supplied."} ({If} 19. h4 { with the idea Bh3 then} Nde5 $1) ({Fritz suggests} 19. Qf2 e5 (19... e6 $5 20. Nxe6 fxe6 21. f7+ Kh8 22. fxe8=Q Rxe8 $13) (19... exf6 $6 20. Nd5 $40) 20. Nd5 Nb6 21. Bd2 bxc3 22. bxc3 Rb8 23. N1e3 $14 { and suddenly White's pieces are working well together.}) 19... bxc3 20. bxc3 e6 21. h4 Rb8 22. h5 Rb6 23. hxg6 hxg6 24. Nd1 ({ "White must begin to move the Rook!" writes Bogoljubow. Perhaps instead} 24. Rab1 Rdb8 (24... Rb5 $5) 25. Rxb6 Nxb6 26. Ng4 $13) 24... Nde5 25. Qf2 $6 ({ Bogoljubow writes: "Capablanca indicates that better was} 25. Bh3 $6 { but if Black answers simply} Rdb8 $1 {it is difficult to see how White develops his attack or averts catastrophe on the Queenside."}) ({White appears to have a winning resource here, which I found with the aid of Fritz:} 25. Qe1 $1 Ng4 $1 (25... Rdb8 $2 26. Qh4 $1 Rb1 27. Rxb1 Rxb1 28. Kf2 $3 $18) 26. Rf3 $1 ({also possible is} 26. Qh4 $5 Nce5 27. Re1 { followed by Nf2 as described below}) 26... Rdb8 27. Rc1 $3 {The critical move--creating a line of defense at c1 that prevents Black's Queenside attack from penetrating to the Kingside.} (27. Rh3 Rb1 28. Rxb1 (28. Qh4 Nh6 29. Rxb1 Rxb1 30. gxh6 Rxd1+ 31. Kh2 Kh7 $17) 28... Rxb1 29. Bf1 $5 Qxa2 30. Be2 Nce5 31. Qh4 Nh6 32. gxh6 Ba4 $1 $17) 27... Rb1 (27... Qa4 28. Rh3 Rb1 29. Qh4 Nh6 30. Nf2) 28. Rh3 Qa3 29. Qh4 Nh6 30. Ne2 $3 $18 Qxa2 31. gxh6 $1 {White has eno ugh time to let the defensive line collapse, though he could instead hold fast with} (31. Bf1 $5 Rxc1 32. Bxc1 Rb1 33. Nf2 $1 $18) 31... Qxe2 32. h7+ Kh8 33. Bh6 $18 { and the deadly threat of Bg7+ forces Black to suffer large material losses.}) 25... Ng4 26. Qh4 Nce5 (26... Nxe3 $2 27. Nxe3 Qxc3 28. Rac1 Qb2 29. Nc4 $18) 27. d4 $2 {"Out of despair, White tries to get a Tower to the h-file before he is finished" writes Bogoljubow.} (27. Re1 $3 { with the idea of Nf2 still holds out hope for the attack.} Rdb8 28. Nf2 Nxe3 $2 (28... Nxf2 29. Kxf2 $18) (28... Nxf6 29. gxf6 Qxc3 30. N4h3 $1 (30. Rac1)) ( 28... Nf3+ 29. Bxf3 Nxe3 30. Rxe3 Qxc3 31. Bd1 $3 $18) 29. Rxe3 $18) 27... Nxe3 $19 28. Nxe3 Qxc3 29. dxe5 { "Eliminates the last hinderance to the afformentioned plan."} Qxe3+ 30. Kh1 dxe5 $3 31. Rf3 exf4 $1 {"The Queen sacrifice destroys the last mate hope; now Capablanca must believe in the overwhelming power of the Black position!"} 32. Rxe3 fxe3 33. Qe1 Rb2 34. Qxe3 Rdd2 35. Bf3 c4 36. a3 { "Black's doubled Rooks are an awesome power which cannot be fought off."} Bd6 37. Qa7 c3 {"A sensational game of the first rank! Zhenevsky excellently conducted the defense as well as the counter-attack. He fully earned the point over Gandmaster Capablanca. Why this game remains little-known is beyond me."} 0-1

Friday, September 09, 2005

Tournament Wrap-ups

White to play and mate in six after 23...b6?

At the club last night I learned how the New Jersey Open and the KCC Summer Tournament wrapped up.

I was not able to attend the last day of the NJ Open and friends playing did not stay until the end. It turns out that Tom Bartell won for a second year in a row after drawing as Black with Kapengut in the last round. His third round game with Bady was featured last week. I was hoping he would come by the club last night so I could get another one of his games from the event for the blog to do a proper wrap-up. (If you are reading this, Tom, maybe you can send me one!)

I have also been waiting on the final game from the Kenilworth Chess Club's Summer Tournament, which concluded last week with a victory by Mark Kernighan against Greg Tomkovich to decide first and second. Inching me out for third place was Devin Camenares, who won two games against Pat Mazzillo -- including one where Pat again tried 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe4 Nxe5?! (hey Pat, don't you read my blog?)

The Kernighan-Tomkovich game could be put in a textbook, especially with its pretty finish (which could have been even prettier as you can see from the notes). White to play and mate in six or less from the diagram above. Hint: it involves a Queen sac (or two if Black declines the first time). You can view the game online, download the PGN or get it below.

[Event "KCC Summer Tourney"]
[Site "Kenilworth, NJ USA"]
[Date "2005.09.01"]
[Round "9"]
[White "Kernighan, Mark"]
[Black "Tomkovich, Greg"]
[Result "1-0"]
[PlyCount "53"]
[TimeControl "G60"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Be7 5. e3 O-O 6. Nf3 h6 7. Bh4 Ne4 8. Bxe7 Qxe7 9. Rc1 Rd8 $6 ({More standard is} 9... Nxc3 10. Rxc3 dxc4 11. Bxc4 b6 12. O-O $14) 10. Qc2 f5 $6 {Too weakening of e5. White's plan now is to finish development and then move his Knight at f3 to allow Pf3, kicking the Black Knight back, followed by e3-e4 with a much better game.} 11. Bd3 c6 {As Kernighan put it, "these moves do not combine well." If Black wants a Stonewall position, he should not also play h6 and Rd8.} 12. O-O Nd7 13. a3 $5 {A temporizing move, hoping Black wil play Ndf6 allowing Ne5!} Ndf6 $6 14. Ne5 $1 Bd7 15. f3 Nd6 16. c5 $5 { White has a growing space advantage.} Nf7 17. Ng6 $1 Qe8 18. e4 fxe4 $2 { It is a mistake to open the f-file, which becomes the main avenue for White's attack.} 19. fxe4 Ng5 20. e5 Nfh7 21. Rf4 (21. h4 $5 Nf7) 21... Bc8 22. Rcf1 Qd7 23. Qf2 b6 $2 ({Necessary was} 23... Qe8 {- now Black can force mate.}) 24. Rf8+ $1 Nxf8 25. Qxf8+ Rxf8 ({The better} 25... Kh7 26. Ne7+ Ne4 27. Nxe4 $3 Rxf8 28. Nf6+ Kh8 29. Ng6# {would have made for a prettier finish.}) 26. Rxf8+ Kh7 27. Rh8# 1-0

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Adding Java Applets to Your Chess Site

Based on my own experience and conversations with others, I think many chessplayers these days look at more games on their computers than they do with an actual set and board. That means that fewer and fewer players are likely to print out a game they find online or set up a board next to their computers to play along. There might be exceptional cases, such as the excellent annotated games at Chess Cafe, which I regularly print out to play over (though, frankly, I probably print out three for every one I actually find time to play through). But for the most part, speaking now to my fellow-chessbloggers and chess site managers, unless the games you post are in an electronically accessible format, they are unlikely to be played over by most visitors to your site. The most likely to be played over are those that appear with java applets for online viewing, since anyone who can click a link can look at them almost immediately.

So how do you get those java applets? Well, it's really not that hard. And if you already have a blog or website, you likely have all the basic knowledge needed to learn how, with one caveat: If you are a blogger who is reliant on Blogger or some other free blog-space, you will need to establish some web space for posting your java applet HTML files (since you cannot post files to Blogger). You can find some advice on that at my links pages on Web Publishing and Computer Chess. There are many inexpensive and free web servers out there. The one thing I'd emphasize, though, is "you get what you pay for": free web space is not always a good deal.

You will also need to pick a good java applet or pgn viewing program and master it with the aid of their help files. I don't intend to offer an exhaustive list of free java applet programs. That seems to have been done already at the wonderful long-standing page from En Passant on "Chess Diagrams and Java Applets" which lists the best freeware and shareware programs. Rather, I've tried to create a simplified listing for chess bloggers and those new to managing chess websites, along with some links to how these applets are actually being implemented.

Here is a selection:

1) Palview I have found this to be a wonderfully robust FREE program for creating java applets. I have also used it extensively at the Kenilworth Chess Club site (see here, here, here, and here for example) and at my Urusov Gambit website (see here and here). It is an extremely versatile program as you can see from their Demo Pages and Palview Links. I cannot speak highly enough of this excellent program. Be sure to also get the indispensible Palmate program which makes using Palview fast and easy.

2) ChessBase 7+ There are so many free java applet chess programs out there that I think you'd be crazy to buy ChessBase9 just to make webpages. But if you already have the program or you have other good reasons to buy it (and there are many), then it will make your life easier to some extent. It is the method of choice for The Chess Mind, ChessBase (of course), and many others on the web. I especially like the way the Spanish-language Inforchess site uses it. There is a lot of help that comes with the program and you can find more online from Mig Greengard and Steve Lopez.

3) PGN2Web This program is free and comes with lots of help files. It is the progam that DreadPirateJosh uses to post his games. It looks easy to use and appears to deal very well with annotations.

4) LT-PGN-Viewer The preferred method of Der Alter Goniff, who has also written a useful piece titled "The Quick and Dirty Method of Using LT-PGN-Viewer." Der Alter Goniff posts his games at a website but then embeds them into his blog using an I-frame. The idea is attractive since it does present your game to your readers for immediate viewing (zero-clicks away). However, this method introduces several problems of usability. For one, the page will be very slow and quirky since Blogger itself has a slow server, but on top of that those people who access your page may be using a Mozilla-based browser on which I-frames do not work or they may have a slow connection. So I would not recommend imitating Der Alter Goniff on the way he uses it. But the program itself looks good.

5) ChessViewer 2.1 by Andrew Gove at the Internet Chess Club Preferred viewer of J'adoube. It's not clear to me whether or not the program can show annotations but it seems perfectly usable for posting games.

6) Misty Beach PGN Viewer One of the first PGN viewers and still quite usable for those with either the knowledge or the time to master it. Its chief advantage is that it is small and therefore quite usable for readers with only dialup access. A good example of this classic PGN vewer in action is available at Sarah's chess blog featuring Morphy's Games. Its chief drawback is that it is no longer in active development and therefore could easily develop compatability problems that go unrepaired, and its help files require some computer knowledge to use.

Let me know what you would add to this list-or if you want to recommend any of these to readers.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Wang Hao

Black to play after 16.Qxg7

The incredible performance of Wang Hao, who finished 2 full points ahead of the GM-filled field at the Malaysian Open, suggests that the next rising star of chess is likely to come from the East. There is excellent coverage of the recently concluded tournament at the ChessBase site by Edwin Lam Choong Wai. There you can download the games as Zipped PGN or play over the incredible game Rogers-Hao, Malaysian Open 2005 (from which the diagram above is drawn). You can also get the PGN of the Rogers-Hao game below as text:

[Event "2nd Dato' Arthur Tan Malaysian Open"]
[Site "Kuala Lumpur MAS"]
[Date "2005.08.26"]
[Round "11"]
[White "Rogers, I."]
[Black "Wang Hao"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A28"]
[WhiteElo "2569"]
[BlackElo "2512"]
[PlyCount "54"]
[EventDate "2005.08.19"]
[EventType "swiss"]
[EventRounds "11"]
[EventCountry "MAS"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2005.09.05"]

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. e3 Bb4 5. Qc2 d6 6. a3 Bxc3 7. Qxc3 e4 8. Ng1 Ne5 9. b4 b6 10. f4 exf3 11. Nxf3 Ne4 12. Qd4 Nxf3+ 13. gxf3 Qh4+ 14. Ke2 Qf2+ 15. Kd3 Qxf3 16. Qxg7 Bf5 17. Qxh8+ Ke7 18. Qg7 Rg8 19. Qxg8 Nf6+ (19... Nc5+ 20. Kc3 Na4+ 21. Kb3 Qd1+ 22. Ka2 Qc2+ 23. Bb2 Qxb2#) 20. Kc3 Nxg8 21. Rg1 Qf2 22. Rxg8 Qxf1 23. e4 Be6 24. Rg3 Qxc4+ 25. Kb2 Qxe4 26. Rc3 Kd7 27. d3 Qe2+ 0-1

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

United States Chess League

White to play and win after 19...Bxd4?

The United States Chess League could easily become one of the most valuable institutions in U.S. chess, especially thanks to their robust and interesting website which tries to position chess as a sport. And why not? Chess does appear on ESPN from time to time. The USCL's logo, which recalls that of Major League Baseball, suggests the model they have in mind for building involvement and a fan base. There are teams with logos, cool names, and regional city associations (likely to promote some partisan rooting and involvement). There are player profiles with pictures, bios, and "stats." There are weekly standings and feature stories covering the games. And most importantly there are games that you can follow live on ICC and play over later online at the USCL site. I'd say it beats watching the playoffs on Tivo.

Accompanying the bios of several players are well annotated games to play over online. As most of these games were played in non-international events, they are not likely to be familiar to most readers. Especially nice was Irena Krush's victory over J. Estrada Nieto from a 2001 tournament, from which the puzzle above is drawn. Below are some others:

Perelshteyn - Stripunsky, USCL 2005

Shahade - Ehlvest, New York Masters 2003

Yudasin - Bonin, NY Masters 2005

Donaldson - Kudrin, Sattle 2003

Ehlvest - Bhat, San Francisco 2000

Ivanov - Zilberstein, San Diego 2004

McCambridge - Hjartarson, Grindavik 1984

Hat tip to DG for mentioning this excellent website.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Tukmakov-Nikolaevsky, USSR Ch. 1971

Black to play after 29.d8=Q. Just find the best move.

I was playing through some old games and came upon this minor masterpiece of Nikolaevsky's. It's amazing to think that the two players of this game finished 18th and 19th in the tournament, just three spots out of last place (spots filled by Grigorian, Dzindzinhashvili, and Tseitlin)! In fact, they were probably the least known players in the tournament, which was won by Savon ahead of Smyslov, Tal, Karpov and others. When you look at the number of powerful Soviet players in 1971 (and all of them did not even play in the championship), you realize how amazing was Bobby Fischer's World Championship victory the following year.

You can download the PGN or get it as text below. I hope to post a version to play online soon.

[Event "39th USSR Championship"]
[Site "Leningrad"]
[Date "1971.09.19"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Tukmakov, Vladimir"]
[Black "Nikolaevsky, Yuri"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E80"]
[PlyCount "74"]
[EventDate "1971.??.??"]

1. d4 g6 2. c4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. e4 c6 5. Be3 a6 6. Bd3 b5 7. Nge2 Nf6 8. f3 bxc4 9. Bxc4 d5 10. Bb3 dxe4 11. fxe4 (11. Nxe4 {Botvinnik-Smyslov, Match 1958} ) 11... Ng4 12. Qd3 (12. Bg1 $1 e5 13. h3 exd4 14. Bxd4 $14) 12... Nxe3 13. Qxe3 O-O 14. O-O-O (14. e5 $5) 14... Bg4 $1 (14... e5 $5 15. d5 Qh4 $13) 15. h3 Bxe2 16. Nxe2 Nd7 17. h4 c5 18. h5 c4 $1 (18... cxd4 $5 19. Nxd4 (19. Qh3 $1 g5 $1 20. h6 $13) 19... Qc7+ 20. Kb1 Qe5 21. hxg6 hxg6 22. Qh3 Nf6 $11) 19. Bc2 Qa5 20. hxg6 hxg6 21. Nc3 $6 (21. Qh3 $142 Rfd8 (21... Nf6 $2 22. e5 Nh5 23. Kb1 $1 $18) 22. e5 $5 Qxa2 23. Bxg6 Rab8 $13) 21... Rfb8 22. Rd2 e5 $1 23. d5 Nc5 24. Qh3 Ra7 25. d6 Rab7 26. d7 Ne6 27. Rd6 Nf8 28. Rhd1 Rxb2 $1 29. d8=Q $2 (29. R1d5 $142 $1 Qa3 $1 30. Kd1 Rd8 31. Na4 Qxh3 32. gxh3 Rxa2 $17) 29... Qa3 $3 30. Rh1 $6 ({a)} 30. Nb5 $1 Qxa2 (30... Rxc2+ 31. Kxc2 Qxa2+ 32. Kc3 Rxd8 33. Rxd8 axb5 $13) 31. Na3 Rxd8 32. Rxd8 c3 $1 33. Rh1 $1 (33. Qxc3 Bh6+ $1 34. R1d2 Qa1+ 35. Bb1 Rxd2 $3 36. Qxa1 Ra2+ 37. Kd1 Rxa1 $19) 33... Qa1+ 34. Nb1 Rxb1+ 35. Bxb1 Qb2+ 36. Kd1 Qxb1+ 37. Ke2 Qxe4+ 38. Kf2 Qc2+ $17) ({b)} 30. R1d3 Rb1+ $3 31. Kd2 Qc1+ 32. Ke2 Qf1+ 33. Ke3 Re1+ 34. Kd2 Qf2+ 35. Ne2 Rxe2+ 36. Kc1 Rxc2+ 37. Kd1 Qe2#) ({c)} 30. R1d5 Rb1+ {etc.}) ({d)} 30. Kd2 Rxc2+ $3 31. Ke1 Rxd8 32. Rxd8 Rxc3 $19) ({e)} 30. Qxf8+ $1 Rxf8 $1 31. Rxa6 $3 Rxc2+ 32. Kxc2 Qxa6 $17) 30... Rxd8 31. Rxd8 Rb8+ 32. Kd2 Rxd8+ 33. Nd5 Qc5 34. Ke2 Ne6 35. Qh7+ Kf8 36. Rf1 Nf4+ 37. Nxf4 exf4 $19 {and Black won on time.} 0-1

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Bady-Bartell, NJ Open 2005

Black to play and equalize after 20.Bc5.

Remind me never to make predictions.... This morning, Steve arrived at the tournament just before 12:00 noon (the time play began on Saturday) only to find that he had been forfeited in Round 3 which had started at 11:00 a.m. I suppose there is one risk in living so close to the venue: you may wait to the last minute (or what you think is the last minute) to arrive.... Since there was bound to be good competition for first place, with Thomas Bartell (2373), Albert Kapengut (2360), Edward Formanek (2336), and now Anatoly Volovich (2400+ and playing the two-day schedule), he saw there was no chance of coming in first and therefore withdrew.

The Round 3 game on Board 1 was a rather interesting Sicilian Dragon by transposition. Though it ended in a draw, it was not without some tactical fireworks (see position above after 20.Bc5). Tom Bartell, who was last year's co-champion and a recent repeat visitor to the Kenilworth Chess Club, played Black against Glenn Bady of Pennsylvania. You can play over the game online or download the PGN or get it as text below.

[Event "New Jersey Open"]
[Site "Somerset, NJ USA"]
[Date "2005.09.04"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Bady, Glenn"]
[Black "Bartell, Thomas"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[PlyCount "50"]
[TimeControl "40/2"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 g6 ({A good method of avoiding} 2... Nc6 3. Bb5) 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 ({The Queen becomes a target after} 4. Qxd4 $6 Nf6 5. e5 $6 Nc6 6. Qd1 $2 (6. Qa4 Nd5 $11) 6... Nxe5 $1) 4... Bg7 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Nb3 {A cautious line.} (7. Qd2 Ng4) (7. f3 O-O 8. Qd2 d5 $13) 7... O-O 8. Be2 d6 {We have now transposed to the Classical Dragon, which was played by Karpov with some success.} 9. f4 a5 10. a4 Be6 11. O-O Bxb3 $5 12. cxb3 e6 13. Bf3 Qe7 14. Qe2 Rad8 15. Qb5 $5 Rfe8 16. Rad1 h5 $5 {The Knight l soon need an escape square, and this move opens up two possible spots.} 17. e5 Ng4 18. Bxg4 (18. Bb6 $5) 18... hxg4 19. exd6 (19. Bb6) 19... Rxd6 20. Bc5 { This appears to win material, but Black has other ideas.} Bd4+ $1 { The beginning of an interesting combination that keeps the balance.} 21. Rxd4 ( 21. Bxd4 Nxd4 22. Qxa5 Nxb3 $11) 21... Nxd4 22. Qc4 ({No better is} 22. Bxd6 Nxb5 23. Bxe7 Nxc3 24. bxc3 Rxe7 $13) 22... Rc6 $1 (22... Qd8 23. Bxd6 Qxd6 24. Ne4 Qd8 25. Kh1 $14) 23. Bxe7 Rxc4 24. bxc4 Rxe7 25. Rd1 Nb3 {and Black offered a draw, which White accepted. The position is equal, though Black should have at least a psychological edge given the way he managed to get out of danger.} 1/2-1/2

Kernighan-Stoyko, Hackettstown 8-27-2005

Black to play and begin a winning attack.

One reason I want to follow the NJ Open this year is because I think that Kenilworth Chess Club Champ Steve Stoyko has excellent chances. Of course, in some ways the odds are against him. After all, Steve won the State Championship in 1973 and 1983, so it would be very unusual for him to win again over three decades later. But there is a lot in his favor too. The tournament is being held very near to his home, allowing him to go there for meals and rest between rounds. He has been going to the gym and is in good physical condition. And, most importantly, he has been on a roll of late playing in a lot of local tournaments.

His game against Kenilworth regular Mark Kernighan at last week's "Tiger Quads" suggests that Steve really has "the eye of the tiger" going into the NJ Open. You can play over the game online for the solution. The PGN is pasted below or available online to download. It is definitely a game worth looking at--and the puzzle above is worth puzzling over...

[Event "Hackettstown Tiger Quads"]
[Site "Mt. Arlington, NJ USA"]
[Date "2005.08.27"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Kernighan, Mark"]
[Black "Stoyko, Steve"]
[Result "0-1"]
[PlyCount "50"]
[TimeControl "G90"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bg5 O-O 6. e3 h6 7. Bh4 ({ In the Kenilworth Chess Club Championship this year, Mark played} 7. Bf4 $6) 7... Ne4 {Steve's favorite Lasker Defense.} 8. Bxe7 Qxe7 9. Nxe4 $5 dxe4 10. Nd2 e5 $1 11. d5 f5 12. Qc2 (12. g4 $5) 12... Nd7 13. Be2 $5 { Steve thought this had the idea of Pg4} (13. O-O-O) 13... Nf6 {Stopping what Steve thinks is White's idea. But White may have planned to castle kingside. E.g.:} (13... Nc5 14. O-O $1 a5 15. f4 $1 $13) 14. O-O-O c6 $6 (14... Rd8 $5) ( 14... a5) 15. dxc6 $6 ({White misses} 15. d6 $1 Qxd6 16. Nxe4 $14) 15... bxc6 16. c5 Be6 17. Ba6 $6 (17. g4 $5) 17... Rab8 18. a3 Nd5 19. b4 $2 { Typical of Mark's style, he has no regard for his King's safety.} Rxb4 $3 { A powerful move and fitting punishment for White's crazy pawn advance!} 20. axb4 Nxb4 21. Qa4 (21. Qc3 $4 Na2+) 21... Qxc5+ 22. Kb1 (22. Kb2 $5) 22... Rb8 $19 {There is no good defense.} 23. Nb3 $2 Qc2+ 24. Ka1 Qc3+ 25. Kb1 Bxb3 { and Black forces checkmate.} 0-1

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Hart-Selling, NJ Open (u-1800) 2005

White to play after 26...Qe3.

I watched the end of the game between Kenilworth Chess Club regulars Glen Hart and Ed Selling in Round 1 of the under-1800 section of the New Jersey Open. I was especially interested in the moment depicted above, since I saw the best move and hoped Glen would find it. But Glen was in time trouble so he chose the "safest-looking move," breaking the pin on his Rook by moving the King to b1, which ironically gets him into trouble. You can play over the game online or download the annotated PGN file (or see it as text below) for the solution. We went over the game together in the skittles room and I think it is worth playing over. White's play might have been improved by including Pf3 at some point (in English System fashion) to strengthen his e-pawn.

Glen Hart (left) playing Ed Selling.

[Event "New Jersey Open (u-1800)"]
[Site "Somerset, NJ USA"]
[Date "2005.09.03"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Hart, Glen"]
[Black "Selling, Ed"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B48"]
[Annotator "Goeller,Michael"]
[PlyCount "68"]
[TimeControl "40/2"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 Qc7 7. Qd2 b6 8. O-O-O Bc5 9. Be2 $6 { This move may be too slow.} (9. Bf4 $5 Ne5 10. Nf3 Nxf3 11. gxf3 (11. Bxc7 Nxd2 12. Rxd2 Bb7 13. e5 Rc8 14. Bd6 f6) 11... Qc6 12. Rg1 $14) ({Best may be} 9. Nxc6 $1 Bxe3 10. Qxe3 dxc6 11. e5 Ne7 12. Ne4 $16) 9... Nf6 10. g4 $5 h6 11. h4 ({Better} 11. Nxc6 $1 Bxe3 12. Qxe3 dxc6) 11... Bb7 12. g5 $6 ({ White first must take a moment to strengthen his center:} 12. f3 $142 O-O-O $5 13. g5 hxg5 14. hxg5 $14) 12... Nxd4 ({Even better may be} 12... Nxe4 $1 13. Nxe4 Nxd4 14. Bxd4 Bxe4 15. Bxg7 Bd6 $1 16. Kb1 Bf4 17. Qc3 Qxc3 18. Bxc3 Rh7 $11) 13. gxf6 Nxe2+ 14. Qxe2 Bxe3+ 15. Qxe3 gxf6 16. Rhg1 $44 {White is down a pawn but he has excellent compensation: Black's King is still in the center with lines opening up, White has good chances of gaining a grip on the dark squares, and the extra pawn is doubled and vulnerable to attack.} Rc8 $5 { It seems at first unwise of Black to completely forego castling. But Ed thought he was "content" to have his King sit in the center, especially since he has good counterplay on the Queenside.} (16... O-O-O $6 17. Rg7 d6 18. Qd4 $1 $14) (16... Qc5 $1 17. Qd2 Bc6 18. Qf4 Qe5 $11) 17. f4 $6 {Too slow.} (17. Qd4 $142 $1 $36) 17... b5 18. Rd2 $5 (18. a3 Qc5 19. Qd2 Bc6 $15) 18... Qc5 $1 $15 19. Qe1 $6 Ke7 $6 ({Black could win White's weak e-pawn immediately by} 19... b4 $1 {xe4} 20. Nd1 Bxe4 $1 $19) 20. e5 $5 (20. a3 a5) 20... fxe5 21. fxe5 Rcf8 $2 (21... b4 $142) 22. Qd1 $6 (22. h5) (22. Rg4 $5 Bc6 23. b4 $5) 22... Rd8 23. Qe1 {White begins to get into time trouble here.} d5 $6 24. h5 $5 ({Easier was} 24. Qf1 $1 Rdf8 25. Qf6+ Ke8 26. Rg7 $36) ({or} 24. exd6+ Rxd6 25. Rxd6 Qxd6 26. Qe3 $44) 24... Rdf8 $6 (24... Rdg8 $1 $11) 25. Qh4+ (25. Ne4 $3 Qc4 (25... dxe4 26. Qh4+ $40) (25... Qb6 26. Nd6 Rhg8 27. Rdg2 Rxg2 28. Rxg2 Ba8 29. Qb4 $40) 26. Qh4+ Kd7 27. Rg3 $1 b4 28. Nf6+ Kc6 29. Qxc4+ dxc4 30. Rd6+ Kb5 31. Nd7 $16) 25... Ke8 26. Rgd1 Qe3 27. Kb1 $6 (27. Ne4 $3 Kd7 28. Re1 $1 Qb6 29. Nd6 $16 { and Black is tied up while White can build up his attack on the kingside.}) ( 27. Re1 Qg5 28. Qd4 $132) 27... Qxe5 28. Ne4 $2 {Right idea but too late!} (28. Re2 Qg5 29. Qd4 $44 {would still give White play for his pawns.}) 28... Qxe4 $1 29. Qxe4 dxe4 30. Rd8+ Ke7 31. R1d7+ Kf6 32. Rxf8 Rxf8 33. Rxb7 Rd8 34. Kc1 Rd6 $19 {and White's flag fell.} (34... e3 $1 { of course would have been more immediately conclusive.}) 0-1

Stoyko-Cole, New Jersey Open 2005

White to play and begin his attack.

I decided some time this week not to play in the New Jersey Open as I had originally planned. I have been so busy with the beginning of school that I am simply too exhausted to play my best. I have also had no time to prepare. Besides, it is sometimes more fun to visit a tournament than to play in it.

I stopped by to observe Round 1 this afternoon, just as Steve Stoyko was showing his game with David Cole (which you can play over online or download as a PGN or get below).

Steve showing his game in the lobby.

I hope to have a chance later to annotate it more fully and post it as a java applet, since it is a wonderful example of a well-developed and sustained kingside attack. Black's only mistake is that he plays a bit too passively. And there are really no stunning moves in White's assault. He simply builds up on the kingside--first posting his Knight powerfully there, then advancing his pawns, then bringing over his Rooks, then opening up lines, and finally invading. And there appears nothing that Black could do to stop him. In fact, Black became so discouraged by his inability to generate counterplay that he resigned before Steve had secured a material advantage. Black's position is surely lost and it is just painful to continue.

[Event "New Jersey Open"]
[Site "Somerset, NJ USA"]
[Date "2005.09.03"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Stoyko, Stephen"]
[Black "Cole, David"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C41"]
[PlyCount "63"]
[TimeControl "40/2"]

1. Nf3 d6 2. e4 e5 3. d4 Nf6 4. Nc3 Nbd7 5. g3 $5 (5. Bc4) 5... Be7 6. Bg2 c6 7. a4 O-O 8. O-O b6 $6 (8... Qa5) 9. Re1 Qc7 10. h3 Bb7 11. Be3 (11. Nh4) 11... a6 12. Nh4 Rfe8 13. Nf5 Bf8 14. g4 (14. d5) 14... Kh8 (14... d5) (14... h6) 15. g5 Ng8 16. d5 g6 17. Ng3 c5 18. b3 (18. h4) 18... Bg7 19. h4 Ne7 (19... f6) 20. Bh3 $1 Nf8 21. h5 Kg8 22. Kg2 Rad8 23. Rh1 Bc8 24. Qe2 f5 25. gxf6 Bxf6 26. Rag1 Kf7 $2 27. Qf3 Bxh3+ 28. Rxh3 Ng8 29. hxg6+ hxg6 30. Rgh1 Rd7 31. Rh8 $1 Qd8 32. Bg5 1-0

Lithograph of New York 1857

A scan of the souvenir lithograph from the First American Chess Congress, New York 1857. Click on the picture to see a larger version (which should automatically resize for your screen). You can also see the original book scan (recommended only if you have a speedy internet connection).

The lithograph shows all of the members of the congress, both those who played in the main tournament and those who did not. Top row: Colonel Charles D. Mead (chairman), George Hammond, Frederic Perrin, Daniel Willard Fiske, Hiram Kennicott, and H. Philips Montgomery. Left column: Hubert Knott, Louis Paulsen, and William Allison. Bottom row: Theodore Lichtenhein, James Thompson, Charles H. Stanley, Judge A. B. Meek, S. R. Calthrop, and Napoleon Marache. Right column: W.J.A. Fuller, Paul Morphy, and Dr. B.I. Raphael.