Monday, October 31, 2005

Korchnoi-Karpov, Baguio 1978 (21)

White to play after 14...e4.

I did a little research and analysis on the line that Steve Stoyko recommended the other day in his lecture. There are surprisingly few games in the databases, so I decided to analyze Korchnoi-Karpov, Baguio City World Championship Match 1978, Game 21, where Karpov tried out 10...Re8!? as Steve suggests. He lost the game, likely because he followed too soon with 11...e5? -- but it is still very much worth looking at if you are interested in these lines as Black or White. So far I have posted the PGN file of my analysis for you to download and you can also view it online as a java applet.

Club Photos from Thursday, October 27

Taking notes on Steve's lecture.

Round 3 games among the top contenders.

Mike Wojcio surprises Greg Tomkovich.

Ari Minkov pulls off a stunning upset of expert
Ken Chieu in the last round to win the event.

Ari celebrates his victory in the
Kenilworth Classic G-30 Tournament.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Notes on Steve Stoyko's Lasker Variation Lecture #3

Black to play after 18.Rd5.

FM Steve Stoyko's Third Lecture on the Lasker Defense to the Queen's Gambit Declined was excellent, focusing on various White alternatives to the Lasker proper, including Bf4 and Bxf6. I have posted both a java applet and PGN online. You can find my notes on Lectures One and Two online as well.

This third lecture focused on an old game that Steve played in the U.S. Amateur Teams (presumably in 1978, when Steve's team won, though he actually did not say), from which the diagram above is taken. Black to play and keep the initiative and likely gain the advantage, though Steve took a draw for the team. Let me warn you on this one: when you think you see an interesting move, look a little more and you might just see Steve's stunner (which was home preparation, based on ideas he got directly from GM Beliavsky).

Friday, October 28, 2005

Ari Minkov Wins Kenilworth Classic

White to play after 25...Rge8.

Ari Minkov was the surprise winner of this year's Kenilworth Classic Game-30 tournament, which concluded last night at the Kenilworth Chess Club. Ari finished with 3.5 points and probably should have scored a perfect 4.0 but for falling a few seconds short to finish mating one opponent with King and Queen versus lone King before his flag fell (when it was declared a draw based on insufficient material for his opponent). The prize-winners were as follows:

First -- Ari Minkov (1951) - 3.5
Second -- Mark Kernighan (2212) - 3.0
Third -- Kenneth Chieu (2027), Maricio Camejo (2032), and Cesar Sorto (1942) - 2.5

Three interesting games from the final two rounds can be downloaded in PGN (with improved annotations since Friday). I hope to post a java applet Tuesday. The most interesting game of the night was that between Cesar Sorto and Kenneth Chieu, where the players braved the insane complications of the Anti-Meran, Botvinnik Variation. In the diagram above it is White to play and save the game...

Pictures to follow...

Thursday, October 27, 2005

NM Scott Massey Lecture and Other Contributions

diagram Black to play after 25.Qg3.
What's the best move and why?

NM Scott Massey lectured last week on "How to Analyze," and I have finally been able to post notes on that lecture and on the game he analyzed (Rosenthal - Steinitz, Vienna 1873, in which the position above arises). Since I missed most of the lecture, the notes are based mostly on his handout and on game annotations from various sources. I have always tried to add a little something to the lectures, but in this case I am practically reconstructing it (or making it up....) Scott lectures again next Thursday, November 3, from 7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at the Kenilworth Chess Club on endgame themes. All are welcome and the fee is $5 per person.

I have also recently posted Scott's lecture on "Moscow 1925 and the Origins of the Soviet School of Chess" and his list of "Most Impressive Chess Books" --both of which still need some editing, but people have been inquiring about them so I've posted what I have so far.

Reading and playing through Scott's most recent contributions to our website, I realize how much chess knowledge is created at our club every week. As with many things, it's not until you write them down that you recognize their value.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Apocalypse Attack Update

I wrote an article at our site on what I called "The Apocalypse Attack" in the Caro-Kann, which goes 1.e4 c6 2.Nf3 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Ne5! I was recently tipped to some related links:

Zadruzny-Margvelashvili, Herceg Novi 2005
An interesting game that features the "outpost" plan of reinforcing the Knight at e5 by d4, c3, and f4 with a lock on the dark squares.

Marie Sebag - XU Yuanyuan, Cannes 2004 annotated by Faruk Tairi
Probably the first important game of the line receives some good analysis here.

Caro-Cann, 1.e4 c6 2. Sf3 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4. Se5... by Faruk Tairi
A fascinating miniature that illustrates why Black should not play ...Bf5 in this line!

There is also an article in Jeroen Bosch's Secrets of Opening Surprises #2 (New in Chess 2005).

Hat tip to TalJechin at the excellent Forum for the info.

Monday, October 24, 2005

King's Indian Attack Bibliography

While going over FM Steve Stoyko's games with the King's Indian Attack, I was inspired to do a little research on the line myself and may return it to my repertoire. I actually played it on occasion as a teenager before recognizing that it was too difficult for me. Steve himself said that it is not an opening he would recommend to developing players. As I try to add a bit of positional complexity to my e4-based repertoire, though, it now looks like a good choice.

The following bibliography is necessarily an incomplete list of references. The fact that the KIA can arise via 1.e4, 1.Nf3, 1.g3, or even 1.d3 makes classification difficult and there are likely a number of sources (including repertoire books on the French or Sicilian) where it at least gets a mention. From personal experience, I can recommend Angus Dunnington's The Ultimate King's Indian Attack and John Hall and Jan R. Cartier's Modern King’s Indian Attack: A Complete System for White. Both would make excellent additions to anyone's library. Many of the rest (excluding web sources) I only know from my research and therefore can say little about besides the basic facts.

Angus Dunnington, The Ultimate King’s Indian Attack (London: Batsford 1993 / 1998 / 2001)
I think this is the best opening book I have seen from Dunnington, who is rather prolific. He does the best job I have seen of trying to sort through the lines to systematize the KIA for opening theory. He also offers some excellent commentary on the games he gives, which tend to be a bit more contemporary than those offered by Hall and Cartier and much updated over earlier versions of this book (which have appeared under various titles).

Mark Dvoretsky and Artur Yusupov, Opening Preparation (Batsford 1994 / 2003)
Features a deep discussion of positional themes in the KIA.

Roman Dzindzichashvili, Roman's Lab 28 - Easy Way to Learn The King's Indian Attack
Gives an overview of the system by examining five games in some detail.

Heiko Eggers, Königsindischer Angriff (Eigenverlag 2005)

John Emms, Attacking with 1.e4 (Everyman 2001)
Emms offers the KIA as his repertoire choice against the French Defense, mentioning that it is not quite as effective against other lines – especially not against the Caro-Kann. Good coverage for a repertoire book. The rest of the selections--on the Bishop's Opening, Closed Sicilian, and others--fit together well.

John Emms, Starting Out: The King’s Indian Attack (Everyman 2005)

Exeter Chess Club, Introduction to The King's Indian Attack
A good introduction for club players to the basic patterns of this line.

Ron Henley, The King's Indian Attack (R&D Publishers 1993)

King's Indian Attack Games at -- A07 and A08

Don Maddox, King’s Indian Attack CD (Chessbase 2002)
This CD has received rather mixed reviews and so I have not picked it up. It is always useful, though, to have a collection of games in electronic format to look at on the computer.

Malcolm Pein, How to Play the King's Indian Attack (Chrysalis 1999)

Pitt Archives, King's Indian Attack PGN file
A PGN file to download from the Pitt Archive.

Ken Smith, King's Indian Attack (Chess Digest 1976)

Steve Stoyko, Steve Stoyko Lecture (2005)
Discusses the game Stoyko-Formanek, U.S. Amateur Teams 1997.

Steve Stoyko, King's Indian Attack (2005)
An analysis of the author's games.

Eric Tangborn, An Opening Repertoire for White: The King's Indian Attack
A discussion of 10 games by Petrosian, all well annotated and worth looking at, with the promise of more.

Eric Tangborn, A Fischer Favorite: The King´s Indian Attack (Chess Enterprises 1992)

John Watson, Play the French 3rd Edition (Everyman 2003)
After offering several good lines for Black, Watson endorses the Karpov system with Nc6, Bd6, Nge7, and Qc7 in his 16-page chapter on the line.

Norman Weinstein, The King's Indian Attack (Chess Digest 1976)
A small pamphlet of under 50 pages in descriptive notation.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

The King's Indian Attack a la Stoyko

chess players
White to play and win after 23...Nb3.

Earlier this year, FM Steve Stoyko gave a talk on the King's Indian Attack (generally with 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d3), using his games for illustration. The theme of the talk was that every piece has its place in the KIA "tabia" or formation...except the dark-squared Bishop. But as soon as you know where that Bishop should go, you usually have a decisive edge. It was remarkable to note how often the Bishop enters the game with powerful effect, just as Steve said.

You can play over the games from the talk online (with my notes mostly) or download the PGN. The puzzle above is taken from the first game, Stoyko-Farrell, with White to play and win. Notice that the dark-squared Bishop still has not developed.

Steve will lecture on the Exchange Variation of the Queen's Gambit Declined this Thursday from 7:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. at the Kenilworth Chess Club. The cost of the lecture is $5 and it is open to all. At 8:30 p.m. play begins for Rounds 3 and 4 (the last two rounds) of the Kenilworth Classic Game-30 tournament.

D'Amore-Valvo, New York 1990

chess players
White to play and win after 13.Bg5! Nde7?

I finally got around to putting together the games from Steve Stoyko's King's Indian Attack lecture from earlier this year (see next post). While annotating the games, I looked at some books on the opening and came upon this cute miniature with the late New Jersey IM Mike Valvo on the losing side.

In the diagram above, it is White to play and win. You can play over the game online or download the PGN for the answer.

Pictures from the Tournament

I took a few pictures from the KCC Classic Game-30 Tournament the other night at the club.

chess players
Tomkovich vs. Kernighan in Round One.

chess players
Other Round One games.

chess players
Socializing in the skittles room during the games.

chess players
Blitz play in the skittles room during the tournament.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Game-30 Tournament

Black to play after 10.Ng5?

The resuts of the first two rounds of play in the "Kenilworth Classic Game-30" tournament which began last night are as follows:

Kenneth Chien (2027) - 2
Cesar Sorto (1942) - 2
Maurice Camejo (2032) - 1.5
Ari Minkov (1951) - 1.5
Mark Kernighan (2212) - 1
Ted Mann (1435) - 1
Laukik Gadgil (U) - 1
Patrick Mazzillo (1320) - 1
Umar Ali (U) - 1
Greg Tomkovich (1723) - 0
Mike Wojcio (1601) - 0

Due to an odd number of players, the lowest scoring / lowest rated player receives a full point bye each round.

The final two rounds will be held next week beginning at 8:30 p.m. Pairings for Round 3 will be:

Sorto - Chien
Kernighan - Camejo
Minkov - Gadgil
Mazzillo - Mann
Ali - Tomkovich

Wojcio will have the bye.

You can play over the more interesting games online or download them as PGN. The diagram above is taken from Camejo-Minov with Black to move (see files linked above or text below).

[Event "Kenilworth CC Classic"]
[Site "Kenilworth, NJ USA"]
[Date "2005.10.20"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Camejo, Mauricio"]
[Black "Minkov, Ari"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C42"]
[Annotator "Goeller,Michael"]
[PlyCount "80"]
[EventDate "2005.??.??"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Nd5 Nxd5 5. exd5 O-O 6. c3 Bc5 7. b4 $6 ({ At first it appears unwise to open the e-file by} 7. Nxe5 $1 Re8 { but White is better after} 8. d4 d6 9. dxc5 Rxe5+ 10. Be3 dxc5 11. Qf3 Rxd5 12. Bc4 Rd7 13. O-O $44) 7... Bb6 8. d3 Re8 $5 9. Be2 (9. Bg5 f6 10. Be3 Bxe3 11. fxe3 e4) 9... e4 10. Ng5 $2 {Hoping for 10...exd3? 11.Qxd3.} (10. dxe4 Rxe4 11. O-O $14) 10... Qf6 $5 {An interesting idea, though the resulting material imbalance leads to unclear play.} ({Better was} 10... e3 $1 11. Ne4 f5 $17) 11. Nxe4 Rxe4 {The only logical follow-up.} 12. dxe4 Qxf2+ 13. Kd2 Qe3+ (13... d6 14. Kc2 Qxg2 $44) 14. Kc2 Qxe4+ 15. Qd3 Qxg2 16. Be3 d6 17. Rag1 Qh3 18. Rg3 Qf5 19. Rf1 Qxd3+ 20. Bxd3 Nd7 21. Bh6 g6 22. Rgf3 Ne5 $15 {Black's powerful knight makes all the difference, and he now has a slight edge-made even greater by the fact that White refuses to take a draw and therefore risks losing.} 23. Re1 Bg4 24. Rf4 Nxd3 25. Kxd3 Bf5+ 26. Kc4 c6 $13 27. a4 Rc8 28. a5 cxd5+ 29. Kxd5 $5 ({Best to draw by} 29. Kb3 $1 Bc7 30. Rxf5 gxf5 31. Rg1+ Kh8 32. Bg7+ Kg8 33. Bh6+ $11) 29... Be6+ 30. Rxe6 $6 fxe6+ 31. Kxe6 Be3 $1 $17 32. Rh4 Bxh6 33. Rxh6 Rxc3 $1 34. Rh4 Rc6 $6 {Too passive.} 35. Rd4 b5 $2 ( 35... d5+ $1 $15) 36. Kd5 $2 (36. Rd5 $1 a6 37. Rxd6 $16) (36. Rxd6 $1 Rxd6+ 37. Kxd6 g5 38. Kc6 g4 39. Kb7 h5 40. Kxa7 h4 41. a6 g3 42. hxg3 hxg3 43. Kb7 g2 44. a7 g1=Q 45. a8=Q+ $18 { and White has good winning chances since he will easily win the b-pawn.}) 36... Rc2 37. h4 Kf7 38. Kxd6 Rc4 39. Rd5 Rxb4 40. h5 a6 {and Black should have won, but his flag fell in a position where he had King and Queen versus King and therefore the game was declared a draw based on insufficient material to mate for White.} 1/2-1/2

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Teaching Chess to Kids, Part III

Tomorrow I teach my chess class to over a dozen 6- to 8-year-old boys. Some seem interested in playing in their first tournament come the end of next month (when a scholastic event is being held in their home town), so I have decided to speed up the lessons a bit and get to the opening sooner than I had planned.

I had a bit of discussion about what openings to teach them on the excellent Openings for Amateurs forum last week. Comments there convinced me the best idea is to teach them a single basic pattern as both Black and White, and preferably something they can play against each other. On Pete Tamburro's recommendation, I've decided on c5, e6, and d5 as Black (including the French, ...e6 Sicilian, and Tarrasch) and the Colle / Torre / and Queen's Gambit (with d4, e3, and either c3 or c4) as White.

This is actually a pretty good system for any beginner. It does not allow easy attacks on the King so there is no danger of getting mated quickly. It is both tactical and strategic, so they have a chance to start learning some strategic principles rather early (including the classic Isolated Queen Pawn motifs). There is a lot of flexibility and so it allows for wide experimentation and latitude for later development. And principles they learn from one side of the board will apply on the other as well.

Now I just have to figure out a way of teaching them so it will be fun....

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Christiansen-Jacobs, Lone Pine 1974

Black to play after 22.Bxf3.

I was looking through an old Chess Player (one of the early competitors of The Informant) and came upon the following game which I had marked (likely for how well it illustrates the isolated queen pawn's "lust to expand.") Now, interested in the Queen's Gambit Declined as Black, I find the opening worth studying. Black does well using a Queen's Gambit set-up against the English or Catalan and the resulting IQP positions are favorable due to his lead in development.

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

[Event "Lone Pine op"]
[Site "Lone Pine"]
[Date "1974.??.??"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Christiansen, Larry Mark"]
[Black "Jacobs, John N"]
[Result "0-1"]
[PlyCount "54"]
[EventDate "1974.??.??"]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. c4 e6 4. Bg2 Be7 5. b3 (5. O-O O-O 6. d4 $14 { is the Catalan.}) 5... c5 6. cxd5 exd5 7. d4 { White gives Black an isolated Queen's pawn.} Nc6 8. O-O O-O 9. Bb2 Ne4 $1 10. dxc5 {Necessary to avoid the annoying pin by ...Bf6.} (10. Nc3 Bf6 $1 $15) (10. Nbd2 Bf6 $15) 10... Bxc5 11. Nc3 Nxc3 $1 12. Bxc3 d4 $15 { Gheorghiu thought Black already had a sizable edge.} 13. Bb2 Bg4 14. Rc1 Bb6 15. h3 Be6 16. Qd2 Qd7 17. Kh2 Rfe8 { Placing the Rooks at e8 and d8 is best in these positions.} 18. Rfd1 Rad8 19. Ba3 $2 {The beginning of a maneuver intended to put pressure on Black's pawn with Qb2 and Bc5 and possibly e3 if the Black Queen remains at d7. The problem, of course, is that this plan is slow and allows Black to attack.} ({ White must play} 19. e3 $1 d3 $1 (19... dxe3 $4 20. Qc3 $18) 20. Ne1 { and hope that he can win the d-pawn.}) 19... Bd5 $1 20. Qb2 Qf5 21. Kg1 Bxf3 $1 22. Bxf3 (22. exf3 d3 $1 $19) 22... d3 $1 $19 { A classic case of the IQP's "lust to expand."} (22... Qxh3 $15 23. Bc5 { offers White more chances for defense a pawn down.}) 23. Kg2 (23. Rf1 Qxh3 { gains tremendously in force due to the threat of Qxg3+ with the opened Bishop's diagonal.}) 23... Rxe2 $1 24. Bxe2 $2 (24. Rd2 Rde8 $1 $40) 24... Qxf2+ 25. Kh1 dxe2 26. Rxd8+ Nxd8 $1 27. Qe5 (27. Qc2 Qf1+ $1 28. Kh2 Bg1+ 29. Kh1 Be3+) 27... Qf1+ {and Black will force mate.} 0-1

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Bartell-Kernighan, Westfield 2005

diagram White to play after 33...Qe4??

In two weeks, FM Steve Stoyko will be continuing his series of lectures on the Lasker Defense to the Queen's Gambit with a focus on the Exchange Variation, which is one way White has of side-stepping Black's prepared defense. Recently, our own NM Mark Kernighan faced the Exchange Variation against current New Jersey champion Tom Bartell (which you can view online) in a game that illustrates some of the obstacles Black faces in that line.

Black held his own fairly well until the next-to-last move of the game (see diagram above), which was a time-pressure blunder. Can you find White's deadly retort? You can play the game over online or download the PGN for the answer.

Lasker Defense Lecture #2


FM Steve Stoyko discusses the Lasker Defense.

FM Steve Stoyko's second lecture on the Lasker Defense on Thursday night at the Kenilworth Chess Club was even better than the first. He began by reviewing the main points from the first lecture. Then he covered two important lines, including 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. Nxe4 dxe4 10. Nd2, which had been played by our own Mark Kernighan in a game previously discussed on these pages. Steve's lecture offered new insight on the game and on that important line generally, including the surprise admission that his own 10...e5!? is probably inferior for Black if White plays correctly. You can view or download files from both lectures below:

Steve's next Lasker Lecture (on the Exchange Variation) will be in two weeks. Next week, NM Scott Massey lectures from 7:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. on "How to Analyze." We then begin our 30-minute tournament ($6 entry fee) at 8:30 with two additional rounds next week.


Black to play after 19.b4 in
Kernighan-Stoyko, Hackettstown 2005.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Last Night at the Club and the French Two Knights

White to play after 20...Rg8.

FM Steve Stoyko's second lecture on the Lasker Defense was excellent and he crammed a lot of content into a little over one hour. I will have a picture, the PGN file, and java board by Saturday.

After his talk we had a wide-ranging discussion about the limits and possibilities of chess computers. Eventually, this led us to discuss our contact with Ken Thompson and the other Bell Labs crew who developed the first master-strength chess computer, Belle, and (more famously) invented UNIX, C, and other essential computer languages. We both had our stories of working with Ken a bit and of beating Belle. I told how I shared an early version of my Urusov Gambit analysis with Ken and Belle tried it out on occasion -- and the game in which I beat Belle has been published in one of Gary Lane's "Chess Cafe" columns. Steve told how he was one of the master players that Ken interviewed while developing an early version of the Belle program and he ended up playing lots of games against the computer as Ken worked on improving it. He said that the easiest way of beating Belle at the time was simply to play the Ruy Lopez Exchange Variation as White and then get off all of the pieces, leaving a winning Rook ending which Belle always misevaluated (because the power of White's pawn majority was simply outside its horizon). He also told the story of how, when he was later studying computer programming, he came to the sudden realization that he had been in close contact with one of the legends of that game and never even knew it.

Toward the end of the night we played a dozen five-minute games together and I got crushed a lot like Belle. As Black I mostly tried to use the Lasker and got slowly squeezed in a few games, including one where Steve executed a textbook minority attack (and then helpfully explained the theory after). As White I had more luck and scored one victory in a rather sloppy Sicilian that began 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.a3!? ("Ah, this stuff..." he said, obviously having faced my "surprise move" before). Our first encounter, a French Two Knights, was quite a lesson in my non-master "horizon effect":

[Event "Casual blitz "]
[Site "Kenilworth Chess Club"]
[Date "2005.10.14"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Goeller, Michael "]
[Black "Stoyko, Steve "]
[ECO "C00"]
[WhiteElo "2023"]
[BlackElo "2350"]
[Result "0-1"]

1. e4 e6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 c5 5. d4 cxd4 6. Qxd4 Qxd4 7. Nxd4 a6 8. Bf4 Bd7 9. Nd6 Bxd6 10. Bxd6 Nc6 11. O-O-O Nf6 12. Be2 $2 Ne4 13. Bg3 Nxg3 14. hxg3 Nxd4 15. Rxd4 Bc6 16. Bf3 $2 Bxf3 17. gxf3 Rd8 18. Rhd1 Ke7 19. Rxd8 Rxd8 20. Rxd8 Kxd8 21. Kd2 Kd7 22. Kd3 Kd6 23. Kd4 h5 24. c4 g5 0-1

Black to play.

I wasn't even thinking about the pawn structure when I made the two significant Bishop exchanges of the game, but they had basically sealed my fate by giving him a winning outside passed pawn. "I'm playing like Belle," I said in resigning.

I usually have much greater success against the French and may write up something about my Two Knights system some time. For now, here is a little collection of some of my games which I have handy, which you can also download as PGN or get as text below.

[Event "Hillside at Westfield"]
[Site "Westfield, NJ USA"]
[Date "1984.01.06"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Goeller, Michael"]
[Black "Pestcoe, Marv"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C11"]
[Annotator "Goeller,Michael"]
[PlyCount "43"]
[EventDate "1984.??.??"]
[TimeControl "?"]

1. e4 e6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Nc3 c5 ({a)} 3... Nf6 {usually reaches the same positions as in the game after} 4. e5 Nfd7 (4... Ne4 5. Qe2 $5 (5. Ne2 Bc5 6. d4 Be7 7. Ng3 $14 {is book}) 5... Nxc3 6. dxc3 b6 7. Bg5 Be7 8. Qe3 Ba6 9. Bxe7 Qxe7 10. Bd3 $13 {Goeller-Lunna 1984}) 5. d4 c5 6. Bb5 $5 Nc6 7. O-O Qc7 8. Bf4 cxd4 9. Nxd4 Nxd4 10. Qxd4 Bc5 11. Qd2 Qb6 12. Bd3 Bd4 13. Rfe1 ({Fritz points out} 13. Nb5 $1 Bc5 (13... Bxe5 $6 14. Bxe5 Nxe5 15. Qc3 d4 16. Nc7+ Kd8 17. Nxa8 $1 $18) 14. b4 Be7 15. Be3 Qd8 16. f4 $16) 13... Qa5 14. Qe2 $5 Bxc3 15. bxc3 Qxc3 {and by an improbable sequence we have ended up in the same position as the main game!} 16. Qg4 Kf8 17. Qg5 $5 (17. Rad1 $1 {with ideas like Re3 and Bd2 is best.}) 17... Qc7 18. Bd2 h6 $2 19. Bb4+ Kg8 20. Qe7 g6 21. Re3 Rh7 22. Qe8+ Kg7 23. Rf3 Nc5 24. Bxg6 $3 Kxg6 25. Qg8+ Rg7 26. Rf6+ Kh5 27. Qxg7 {and Black cannot prevent mate at h6 - Goeller-McGrath, West Orange "Candidate Expert Invitational" 1981}) ({b)} 3... d4 4. Ne2 c5 5. c3 ({better} 5. Ng3 $142 {with a nice "reversed Nimzovich" game }) 5... Nc6 ({better} 5... Nf6 $1 6. e5 $6 Nfd7 7. cxd4 cxd4 8. Nexd4 Nxe5 $1 $11) 6. cxd4 cxd4 7. Qa4 Bd7 (7... Bc5 8. b4 $1 $16) 8. Nexd4 Bc5 9. Nxc6 Bxc6 10. Bb5 Bxf2+ 11. Ke2 $5 (11. Kf1 $1 $16) (11. Kxf2 $6 Qb6+ $13) 11... Bb6 ( 11... Qb6 12. Bxc6+ bxc6 13. d4 $18) 12. Bxc6+ bxc6 13. Qxc6+ Kf8 14. d4 $5 $16 {Goeller-Kramer, Westfield Championship 1983}) ({c)} 3... Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. a3 $5 Ba5 $6 6. b4 $1 cxb4 7. Nb5 $36) ({d)} 3... dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nd7 (4... c5 $5 5. d4 $1 $14) 5. d4 Ngf6 $11) 4. d4 $5 Nf6 (4... Nc6 $6 5. exd5 exd5 6. Bb5 $5 cxd4 7. Nxd4 Nge7 8. Qe2 Bd7 9. Bxc6 bxc6 10. O-O g6 11. Qe5 Rg8 12. Bg5 Bg7 13. Bf6 Bxf6 14. Qxf6 Nf5 15. Rfe1+ Kf8 16. Qe5 Nxd4 (16... Qb8 $1) 17. Qxd4 Qb6 18. Qf6 Be6 $4 19. Rxe6 Qxb2 20. Rb1 Qxc2 21. Re7 Rg7 22. Rbe1 $1 Qf5 23. Rxf7+ $1 Rxf7 24. Qh8# {Goeller-Ganning, West Orange 1983}) 5. e5 Nfd7 6. Bb5 $5 { This move was played by Gurgenidze in the late 70s and early 80s with mixed results and I don't think I'd recommend it today, though it is playable. The move appears odd until you realize that this is the only way for the light-squared Bishop to help in the fight for the dark squares by eliminating one of Black's Knights. And, as we see in the main games, the Bishop does not always have to be exchanged. Today I would choose one of the several alternatives:} ( {a)} 6. Bg5 $5 {is Adrian Skelton's "Jackal Attack"}) ({b)} 6. dxc5 {is the classical book move and quite playable, as Chris Baker discusses in his "Startling Repertoire" book.}) ({c)} 6. Ne2 $1 { is probably best, with the idea of} cxd4 7. Nexd4 $14 { or c3 and Nf4. Shirov and Motwani have used this with good results.}) 6... Nc6 (6... a6 7. Bxd7+ Bxd7 8. Be3 Nc6 9. dxc5 Qc7 10. O-O Nxe5 11. Re1 f6 12. b4 a5 13. Bf4 axb4 14. Nxe5 fxe5 15. Nxd5 Qxc5 (15... exd5 16. Rxe5+) 16. Rxe5 O-O-O 17. Ne7+ Bxe7 (17... Qxe7 $2 18. Ra5 $1 $40) 18. Rxc5+ Bxc5 19. Qh5 $18 { Gurgenidze-Grigorian, USSR 1968}) 7. O-O Be7 8. dxc5 (8. Re1 O-O 9. Ne2 $5 Qb6 10. Ba4 cxd4 11. Nexd4 Nc5 12. Bb3 $6 (12. c3 $1 Nxa4 13. Qxa4 Bd7 14. Qd1 h6 $11) 12... f6 13. Bf4 $6 fxe5 14. Bxe5 Ne4 $1 $15 { Gurgenidze-Henley, Tbilisi 1983}) 8... Bxc5 (8... O-O 9. Bf4 Nxc5 $11) 9. Qe2 a6 10. Bd3 Nd4 11. Nxd4 Bxd4 12. Bf4 Qc7 13. Rfe1 Bxc3 14. bxc3 Qxc3 15. Qg4 g6 (15... Kf8 $6 {is covered above in Goeller-McGrath, West Orange "Candidate Experts Invitational" 1981 which reached the same position.}) 16. Rad1 Nc5 17. Bd2 $1 Qb2 18. Bb4 (18. Qh4) 18... Nxd3 19. Rxd3 h5 $2 20. Qf4 $1 Rg8 $2 21. Rf3 Rg7 22. Rb3 { and Black must lose material due to the threats of Rxb2 and Qf6 xg7 and Qe7#.} 1-0

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Stoyko Plays the Lasker at ICC

diagram Black to play after 30.Kg2.

FM Steve Stoyko will be giving his second lecture on the Lasker Defense to the Queen's Gambit Declined at the Kenilworth Chess Club this Thursday from 7:00-8:00 p.m. The cost is $5 per person. The first lecture (to which I have posted notes online) was very worthwhile and well received.

In anticipation of Steve's lecture, I decided to look at games he has played with the Lasker at ICC. I have been hanging out at ICC a lot more of late, following the FIDE World Championship of course, and I only recently discovered the "search" command to find games in specific lines or by specific players. Previously I had tried the "history" command to look at recent games by various players, including Steve (who is "knightmare51" at ICC). I still have not mastered all of the search potential for plumbing the ICC database, but I did manage to turn up several games of interest to our studies. Not surprisingly, Steve has a near 100% score as Black with ECO D56 and D57. If you play through the main game (which contains some others in the notes), I think you'll see why! As usual, you can view the games online, you can download the PGN or you can get it all as text below.

[Event "ICC Blitz"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2005.10.05"]
[Round "?"]
[White "KIMO"]
[Black "knightmare51"]
[Result "0-1"]
[PlyCount "62"]
[EventDate "2005.??.??"]

1. d4 e6 2. c4 d5 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bg5 O-O 6. e3 h6 7. Bh4 Ne4 8. Bxe7 Qxe7 9. Nxe4 ({a)} 9. Bd3 Nxc3 10. bxc3 dxc4 11. Bxc4 b6 12. O-O Ba6 13. Bxa6 Nxa6 14. Qb3 c5 15. Ne5 Rac8 16. Rfe1 Rfd8 $11 { KIMO-Knightmare51, ICC 10-05-2005 (0-1 53)}) ({b)} 9. cxd5 { (This appears to be the most commonly played move among strong players on ICC)} Nxc3 10. bxc3 exd5 11. Bd3 c5 $1 12. O-O Be6 13. Ne5 Nd7 (13... c4 $5) 14. Nxd7 Qxd7 15. Rb1 b6 16. Bb5 Qd6 17. Qf3 Rac8 $11 { ExcaliburBrief-knightmare51, ICC 10-05-2005 (0-1 36)}) ({c)} 9. Rc1 $1 c6 10. Bd3 Nxc3 11. Rxc3 dxc4 12. Bxc4 Nd7 13. O-O e5 14. dxe5 (14. Bb3 $5) 14... Nxe5 15. Nxe5 Qxe5 16. f4 $1 {The classic book move.} Qf6 $6 (16... Qf5 17. Bd3 Qe6) (16... Qe4) 17. f5 $5 (17. e4 $14) 17... b5 18. Bb3 b4 19. Rc5 Ba6 20. Rf2 (20. Rf4 $1) 20... Rad8 21. Qc1 Bb5 22. e4 Qd4 (22... Rfe8 $1 $17) 23. e5 a5 $1 24. e6 a4 25. exf7+ Kh8 26. Rxb5 $8 axb3 $5 27. Ra5 Rxf7 (27... bxa2 $1 $15) 28. axb3 $11 {0-1 SaabMaster-knightmare51/Internet Chess Club 2003 (37)}) 9... dxe4 10. Nd2 f5 11. g3 $6 c6 12. Bg2 e5 13. Nb3 $6 exd4 (13... f4 $1 14. Bxe4 $2 exd4 (14... fxe3 $5) 15. Qxd4 $4 Rd8 $19) 14. Nxd4 Be6 $5 (14... Rd8 $1 15. Qa4 c5 16. Nb5 Nc6 $17) (14... Qb4+ $1 15. Qd2 Qxc4 $17) 15. Qc2 Nd7 16. a3 c5 17. Nxe6 Qxe6 18. O-O Ne5 19. Rfd1 Rfd8 20. Qb3 b6 21. Rd5 Rxd5 22. cxd5 Qd6 23. Rd1 h5 24. a4 Rd8 25. Bf1 Kh7 26. Be2 h4 27. Rd2 hxg3 28. hxg3 Qh6 $1 29. Qd1 ( 29. Qc3 Nf7) 29... Kg6 30. Kg2 $2 (30. Qf1 Rh8 31. Qg2 Kf7 $15) 30... Rh8 31. Qg1 (31. Bh5+ $8 $19) 31... Qh3# 0-1

Topalov-Morozevich, Monte Carlo Rapid 2005

diagram Black to play after 21.Ng5.

I had been lamenting the fact that Morozevich did not play the Albin Counter Gambit against Topalov in their recent meeting in the FIDE World Championship, unaware that he had done so in a fascinating rapid game earlier this year (sent to me by a friend who read my post). This is an amazingly deep game and I'm sure my notes only scratch the surface (especially since the computer is very little help here due to the trapped piece theme). And to think that this was blitz!

As always, you can view the game online, download the PGN, or get it as text below. If Morozevich had played like this in the World Championship, we'd have a completely different tournament!

[Event "Amber Rapid"]
[Site "Monte Carlo MNC"]
[Date "2005.??.??"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Topalov, V."]
[Black "Morozevich, A."]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D08"]
[WhiteElo "2757"]
[BlackElo "2741"]
[PlyCount "76"]
[EventDate "2005.??.??"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e5 3. dxe5 d4 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. a3 Nge7 $1 {The best move.} ({a)} 5... a5 $6 {is what I used to play, but White has an easy edge after simply} 6. Bg5 $1 (6. e3 Bc5 $1 7. exd4 Bxd4 $1 $44) 6... Be7 7. h4 $14 { Karpov-Stoma, Simul 2002}) ({b)} 5... Be6 $5 6. e3 dxe3 7. Qxd8+ Rxd8 8. Bxe3 Nge7 $44 {Van der Weil-Ligterink, Groningen 2001, gave White no advantage but was nothing special for Black either.}) 6. b4 $1 ({a)} 6. e3 Nf5 $1 {the point! } 7. exd4 (7. e4 Nh4 $1 8. Nbd2 Bg4 $44) (7. b4 $5 dxe3 8. Qxd8+ Nxd8 9. Bxe3 $13) 7... Nfxd4 8. Nxd4 Qxd4 $1 9. Qxd4 Nxd4 10. Ra2 Bf5 $44) ({b)} 6. Bf4 Ng6 7. Bg3 h5 $1 8. h3 h4 9. Bh2 Rh5 $5 {is a cute way to recover the e-pawn!}) ({ c)} 6. Bg5 h6 7. Bxe7 Bxe7 $44 {gives Black good long-term compensation.}) 6... Ng6 7. Bb2 a5 8. b5 Ncxe5 9. Nxe5 (9. Bxd4 Nxc4 10. e3 Be6 { is similar to the game line.}) 9... Nxe5 10. e3 Be6 11. Bxd4 Nxc4 12. Qc2 Nd6 13. Bd3 Qg5 $1 $132 14. f4 $1 {The best way to defend g2 without immediately surrendering the initiative to Black.} Qh4+ 15. g3 Qh5 16. Nc3 Nf5 $1 (16... O-O-O 17. b6 $40) 17. O-O O-O-O $5 18. Ba7 $1 { A highly original and challenging move!} (18. Bxf5 Bxf5 19. Qa4 b6 { gives White no entries on the queenside.}) 18... Qg4 $1 {Counter-attack or die! } 19. Ne4 $6 (19. Na4 $1 { threatening immediate mate with Nb6 seems hard to meet!} Rd6 $5 20. Rfc1 $40 { but maybe Black can hold with} c6 21. Bc5 Nxg3 $3 $13) 19... Rd7 20. Rfd1 Qf3 $5 {Black wants to remove the Queens and trap the Bishop at a7--a deep conception for blitz!} 21. Ng5 Nxe3 22. Nxf3 (22. Qd2 Rxd3 $1 23. Nxf3 Rxd2 24. Rxd2 b6 $17) 22... Nxc2 23. Bxc2 b6 24. Ne5 Rxd1+ 25. Rxd1 Bxa3 $1 { Black's in no hurry to pick up the Bishop.} 26. f5 (26. Be4 a4 $1 { and the Bishop is irrelevant due to the scary passed a-pawn.}) 26... Ba2 $1 { The Bishop must stay on the a2-f7 diagonal to combat Be4, and thanks to some tactics it can withadvantage!} 27. Ra1 Bc5+ 28. Kf1 Re8 $1 29. Re1 (29. Rxa2 Rxe5 $19) 29... f6 (29... Bd4 $142 $1) 30. Nd3 Rxe1+ 31. Kxe1 Bd6 $1 { Stopping Nf4 and Be4} 32. Nc1 Bd5 {and White never had time for Be4!} 33. Bb3 Be4 34. Bxb6 cxb6 {The trapped Bishop has sold himself for a pawn, but Black remains up a dangerous outside passer, with the two Bishops and a likely second pawn on the way. White's position is hopeless.} 35. Be6+ Kc7 36. Ke2 Be5 37. Nd3 Kd6 38. Ke3 Bd5 {An amazingly good fighting game from both players! } 0-1

Monday, October 10, 2005

Albin Counter Gambit Bibliography

When Topalov played 1.d4 against Morozevich in the FIDE World Chess Championship the other day, I fully expected (as perhaps did he) 1...d5 with a chance to see Moro's favorite Albin Counter Gambit, an opening he has almost single-handedly helped to revive. Instead we got an equally interesting QGD with Bf4, which perhaps Steve Stoyko will discuss at one of his lectures.

In the faint hope that we might see an historic Albin game, I had put together a short (and necessarily incomplete) bibliography on the Albin with notes directed toward Morozevich's favorite variation with ...Nge7. Though no Albin transpired, I will still share it here.

I was introduced to the Albin by Edgar McCormick (acquaintance of Weaver Adams) in the early 80's and have been following theory there for two decades now. For the past two years I have even looked rather closely at the ...Nge7 lines, though I have only played them in 5-minute (and mostly against NM Mark Kernighan!) I have decided to give up the Albin pretty much, so I am tempted to put my analysis up on the web and may do so in the coming weeks.

The Albin Counter Gambit (1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5!?) has been played and written about since it was first popularized by Adolf Albin in the 1890s, so I'm sure there is a lot more literature out there (especially from its turn-of-the-last-century heyday) than I represent below. Recent use of the countergambit by GMs Morozevich and Nakamura has revived interest and has led to more recent publications. During the early years of the gambit, White players tried a number of ideas (including holding the pawn with f4--an idea that Spassky revived in the 60's), until they hit upon the King's Bishop fianchetto with 3.dxe5 d4 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.g3, which remains a popular approach. Black usually responds then 5...Bg4, 5...Be6, or (most interestingly) 5...Bf5!? -- but recent attention has focused on Morozevich's 5...Nge7!? (a move first used by Frank James Marshall and then by Ariel Mengarini).

More recently, 5.Nbd2! has been widely recomended (e.g.: by Eric Schiller and Angus Dunnington) as the easiest anti-Albin line, but few sources discuss the Morozevich and Nakamura response of 5...Nge7, which may now be one of the most important theoretical lines for the evaluation of the Albin as a whole. Those that do discuss this line at all give 6.Nb3 Nf5 7.e4 dxe3 8.Qxd8+ Nxd8 (8...Kxd8 9.Bxe3! Nxe3 10.fxe3 += Bilguer!) 9.fxe3 += with an endgame edge for White as proven in several games. Yet no GM has tried this widely accepted "refutation" against Morozevich or Nakamura! One can only guess that they assume the two are fully computer-prepped, and that the doubled e-pawns on an open file are a significant long-term weakness. My own analysis of these lines is far from conclusive and I bet that if Moro had risked the Albin against Topa we would have seen this line! But that was all wishful thinking....

Articles from The Kenilworthian
I have written a number of pieces on the Albin was posted soon after this:

Books and Articles

Lawrence Trent, The Amazing Albin Counter-Gambit (ChessBase 2018)
DVD for PC from ChessBase.

Johannes Fischer, Adolf Albin: Nothing wrong with a gambit (ChessBase 2018).
An attractive historical introduction to the Albin, with pictures, games, and discussion.

Vincent Moret, My First Chess Opening Repertoire for Black (New in Chess 2017).
Includes a nice introduction to the Albin for young players, with excellent coverage of typical amateur errors for White (including 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 d4 4.e3? Bb4+! 5.Bd2 dxe3 6.Bxb4? exf2+ 7.Ke2 fxg1=N+!  8.Ke1! when 8...Qh4+! 9.Kd2 Qf2+ or 9...Nc6 give Black the advantage).  Recommends the Smerdon Scandinavian against 1.e4.

Luc Henris, The Complete Albin-Counter-Gambit (2013)
The most complete book on the Albin ever written.  Table of contents online.  A must have for any serious student and an incredible achievement.  The book offers an excellent historical introduction, strategic discussion, thorough analysis, complete bibliography, and excellent indexes. 

Jose Lopez Senra, "The Albin Resurrected."  New in Chess Yearbook #105 (2012): 17.
Analyzes the line with 5.a3! that appeared in Topalov - Morozevich, Monaco rapid 2005, and in Popov - Potapov, Rijeka Ech 2010, offering the improvement 18...Be7! with deep analysis suggesting equality with best play by both sides.

Alexander Raetsky and Maxim Chetverik,  No Passion for Chess Fashion.  "The Albin Countergambit" (Mongoose 2011): 149-194.
Offers a good survey of the Albin, covering all critical lines in 20 games.  See my review.

Kiril Georgiev, Squeezing the Gambits: The Benko, Budapest, Albin and Blumenfeld (Chess Stars 2010).

Nigel Davies, Gambiteer II (2007).
Offers good material on the Albin with Nge7 and the Chigorin to help complete a repertoire for Black.

Susan Polgar, "The Albin Counter-Gambit" Chess Life (February 2005)
A useful little article that inspired Nakamura to play the 5...Nge7 line against her (see links below).

Jeroen Bosch, "Morozevich’s Pet Line in the Albin" Secrets of Opening Surprises 2 (New in Chess 2004)
I actually have not seen this article, though I will likely be getting hold of it soon, especially if I decide to present my analysis. I imagine it is the most important piece on the Albin in recent years.

Alexander Raetsky and Maxim Chetverik, "A 'Suspect Variation' in a Suspect Counter-Gambit." New in Chess Yearbook 71 (2004): 155-159
Explores Morozevich's 5.g3 Nge7, which had been tried previously by co-author Cheterik with success and has a longer pedigree than is widely realized (including games by Ariel Mengarini they do not mention).

Luc Henris, Albin Counterambit / Albins Gegengambit (ChessBase CD 2003)
This is likely the most important current Albin resource, with many games and excellent text files. The Albin, though, is still very much open territory in many lines and there is little theoretical concensus. Henris thinks 5.Nbd2 Bf5!? is best.

John van der Weil and Erik Hoeksma, "Still Suspect" New in Chess Yearbook 62 (2002): 129-136.
Uses Chris Ward's book (see below) and the games from the Groningen Theme Tournament (see links below) as a focus for discussing the latest theory on the Albin.

Chris Ward, Unusual Queen's Gambit Declined (Everyman 2002)
Very solid coverage though not the most in-depth.

Angus Dunnington, Attacking with 1.d4 (Everyman 2001)
In a rather short but influential chapter on the Albin, Dunnington recommends 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 d4 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Nbd2! Interestingly, he does not even mention Morozevich and Nakamura's response of 5....Nge7. But his analysis of other lines does suggest why 5....Nge7 has become the standard Black response: the rest give Black only trouble!

Sergey Anapolky, Albin Counter-Gambit - Opening Sideways (Moscow: Murad Amannazarov 1999).

Alexander Raetzki and Maxim Tschetwerik, Albins Gegengambit (Kania 1998)
Written in Informant-style notation by Raetsky and Chetverik, this book is quite useful for those studying the line. The same pair that wrote the article below (and many other books and articles), but with a different spelling....

Paul Lamford, The Albin Counter-Gambit 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5!? (Batsford 1983)
Some very good analysis that holds up fairly well against more contemporary sources. He suggests in a footnote that the game Pillsbury-Brody, Hanover 1902, puts the line 5.Nbd2 Nge7 6.Nb3 Nf5 7.e4 dxe3 8.Qxd8+ into question with 8....Kxd8!? But this seems a dubious idea.

Ariel Mengarini, Predicament in Two Dimensions: The Thinking of a Chess Player (Thinker's Press 1979)
Mengarini discusses the game Dunning-Mengarini, Mass. 1979, where he takes credit for playing and analyzing lines featuring 5...Nge7. I wonder if J. S. Hilbert (who inherited Mengarini's unpublished game scores) can confirm that?

Tim Harding, Counter Gambits: Black to Play and Win (British Chess Magazine 1974)
Covers mostly 5.a3 and 5.Nbd2 with a note on 5.g3.

Web Resources

The X-Rated Albin by Andrew Martin
A good fun article on the vulgar caveman way to play the Albin against 5.g3 by simply going straight for the standard attack with Be6 (or f5 or g4), Qd7, O-O-O, Bh3, and h5-h4.

Polgar-Nakamura, Virginia Beach 2005 annotated by Susan Polgar
An Albin featuring Morozevich's 5...Nge7.

Adolf Albin and the Genesis of the Albin Counter Gambit, Part One and Pat Two, by Olimpiu G. Urcan
Despite the title's promise, these articles are more about Albin and his contributions to chess than about his (or was it really someone else's?) famous opening concept. But there is enough of a historical survey of the gambit to make these articles worth reading.

Albins Gegengambit
An excellent piece of analysis and a complete statistical survey of the opening from Scid.

Albin Counter-Gambit
From the Chess Corner Opening Survey site, with several sample games to view online.

How to Meet the Albin by Eric Schiller (updated link)
This piece on the 5.Nbd2 line has vanished from the web but can be found in the Internet Archive.  It is worth reading.

A Fistful of Novelties by Tim McGrew
Includes an interesting novelty in an Albin sideline with 5.Bf4 Nge7.

Albin Counter Gambit Tournament, Groningen 2001
A powerful thematic tournament, with games to download in PGN format.

Tiviakov-Brenninkmeijer, Groningen 2001, annotated by Tiviakov

Albin Counter Gambit Thematic E-mail Tournament
Tournament sponsored by CCN, with completed games in PGN format and in Java replay.

Ippolito-Shapiro, NJ Open 2001 annotated by Dean Ippolito

A Marvelous Combination of the XX Century by Boris Schipkov
A very well-annotaed game, though one with a White bias.

Checkpoint #58 by Karsten Hansen
Includes a review of and excerpt from Luc Henris's excellent Albin CD.

Levitt-Speelman, Torquay 1982 annotated by Jon Edwards's Interesting game annotated by US Correspondence champ.

Kokesh-Hammer 1997 annotated by Kokesh
An interesting game by two experts.

Download 470 PGN Albin Games from the Pitt Archive (no longer available)

Albin Countergambit
A mystery personal site with insufficient information. Includes games from other openings without explanation.

Contre Gambit Albin
Focuses on the more unusual White replies.

Queen's Gambit Declined, Albin Countergambit from
A nice collection of games to play over online.

Albin CounterGambit Thematic Email Tournament
Sponsored by CCN, 2002
A collection of games from the theme tournament, some of which reveal interesting ideas.


Sunday, October 09, 2005

Newspaper Columnists on the World Championship

I have previously posted about places you can get news and annotated games from the FIDE World Chess Championship tournament. Recently, several chess columnists in newspapers have added to that list, requiring an addition. Some of these may require a one-time registration.

Robert Byrne in the New York Times writes today about the Polgar-Anand game from the first round, where Polgar's unimpressive opening preparation allowed Anand to develop a winning queenside attack out of the Caro-Kann.

Both Lubomir Kavalek in the Washington Post and Jack Peters in the LA Times write about the Anand-Adams game, with Anands's startling innovation with 23.Qd2!? in the Zaitsev Variation of the Ruy Lopez / Spanish.

Malcolm Pein's Daily Telegraph column has been worth reading. Today's Sunday column offers significant annotations to Svidler-Leko from Round 3.

The Guardian now has probably the best set of chess columnists the world's newspapers have ever known, but the coverage of the championship on the site is somewhat limited. Jon Speelman's recent column on the first Topalov-Anand match-up (Topalov's only draw of the first half) was great. And I enjoy reading about Nigel Short's attempts to turn journalist Stepen Moss from a tyro to a good player in a series of lessons (best linked to from the main page under The Grandmaster and the Rookie).

Raymond Keene of the Times Online has posted games but with few or no notes. One wonders what the value of such a column is with the internet providing all the games and multiple sources of annotations.

A little bonus for those just discovering Topalov's games: Zdenko Krnic's prescient article earlier this year at Chess Cafe titled "Veselin Topalov: Bulgaria's Newest Sports Star" offers two very recent and well-annotated games from the Informant.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Moscow 1925 Lecture Notes

Scott Massey lecturing on Moscow 1925

NM Scott Massey delivered his lecture on the famous Moscow 1925 tournament and the beginnings of Soviet Chess last night to over a dozen interested members of the Kenilworth Chess Club. As always, his lecture was very well researched and demonstrated several fascinating games. Most of our attention was focused on the games of Ilyin Zhenevsky (or Genevsky) who figured very prominently in the history of Soviet Chess as one of the chief organizers of government funds for chess education, GM support, and tournaments. His games in the event, especially against Lasker and Capablanca, were also very interesting and quite suggestive of the coming Soviet era's approach to the game.
Scott's implicit thesis was that the Soviet School of Chess that developed before and after WWII got its most important principles from the best Western players of the time via the series of Moscow tournaments, beginning with Moscow 1925. Basically, the Soviet School of Chess was not fully a native creation but derived from the West. It's actually a rather convincing idea once you look closely at the games themselves. After all, it was Lasker, Capablanca, Torre, and Reti who most played like members of the Soviet School of Chess at the tournament! It took the Soviets themselves over a decade to catch up.
As always, Scott also used the opportunity to reflect on the history and society. Some of his discussion of the emergent Soviet chess system was inspired by Daniel Johnson's "Cold War Chess" (originally in Prospect). He also read a large number of other books, including the following:
Efim Bogoljubow, Das Internationale Schachturnier Moskau 1925 (Olms 1982)
A. Ilyin Genevsky, Notes of a Soviet Master (Caissa 1986)
A. Kotov and M. Yudovich, The Soviet School of Chess (Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow 1958)
Andrew Soltis, Soviet Chess 1917-1991 (McFarland 2000)
Edward Winter, "Analytical Disaccord" in King, Commoners, and Knaves: Further Chess Explorations (Russell Enterprises 1999)
Alexander Khalifman, Emanuel Lasker II Games 1904-1940 (Chess Stars 1998)
J. Hannak, Emanuel Lasker: The Life of a Chess Master (Dover 1959)
Gabriel Velasco, The Life and Games of Carlos Torre (Russell Enterprises 2000)
Alexander Cockburn, "Proletarian, Socalist Chess" in Idle Passion (Simon & Schuster 1974)
You can view the lecture online or download it in a PGN file.

Teaching Chess to Kids, Part II

Thursdays have become my big chess day. At night, of course, I attend the Kenilworth Chess Club (now starting at 7:00 p.m. with lectures by NM Scott Massey on the ending or FM Steve Stoyko on the opening). And from 4:30-6:00 p.m. I teach chess to fourteen 6- to 8-year-old boys (up from a dozen two weeks ago).

The chess teaching is fun, but (as you can imagine) keeping that many young kids focused on chess can be quite a challenge. I have a greater than ever admiration for grade school teachers now! So far, both of our meetings have ended by letting the kids go out to play kickball.

I have decided upon some pedagogical principles to make things work: (1) start simple and add complexity one lesson at a time, (2) make sure there is both instruction and active participation at every meeting, and (3) give them homework but make it optional (with the hope that competitive instincts will drive them to study on their own, when they learn that "knowledge is power").

I'm sure nothing that I'm doing is new, but it has been effective, so I'd like to share it. In our first lesson, I covered all of the pieces and we ended up playing "Sumo Kings" (where the object is to use the opposition to force your way across the board or stop your opponent from doing so) and "Pawn Battle" (basically eight pawns versus eight pawns). This time I showed them some King and Pawn endings and it was "King and Pawn Battle."

diagram King and Pawn Battle.
Whoever SAFELY Queens First Wins.

I entertained them first by setting up my laptop on a projector and demonstrating with Fritz on the big screen. We started with how pawns queen and I showed them the "square" in which a pawn can be captured by the King or not. Then we did a simple K+P v. K ending involving the opposition. Then I introduced "King and Pawn Battle," using the "New">"Set-up Position" feature of Fritz to set up the Kings and the Pawns as shown above. I then had two of the better players try their hand one at a time against Fritz while the others watched and kibitzed (extensively and excitedly). I was amazed at how quickly Fritz could win these games! What I most wanted to demonstrate to them is that the most powerful piece on the board is the King--not the pawns! So move the King like Fritz moves his!

We then had a "King and Pawn Battle" tournament, with winners playing winners and losers playing losers, until we had an undefeated champion who won a prize (a beginner's chess set with explanation cards). Since we have not yet reviewed Q+K delivering mate to lone King (next time perhaps), I said that the goal of the game was to make a Queen. I should have said that the goal was to make a Queen that you can keep and which is not immediately captured, since a couple kids later misinterpreted the rule to mean that simply queening, whether safe or not, wins. I obviously am still learning!

Next time I will review and talk about Bishops and Knights, then play "King, Pawns, and Minor Pieces Battle," allowing them to choose two minors for their army (B+B, B+N, or N+N). And, if time allows, we will learn the mate with K+Q vs. K.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

October 6th Master Lecture at KCC

diagram Zhenevsky-Lasker, Moscow 1925
Black to play after 24.Qe3?

On Thursday, October 6th from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., life master Scott Massey will lecture at the Kenilworth Chess Club. His topic will be "Moscow 1925 and the Beginnings of Soviet Chess Hegemony." The lecture will cost $5 and will likely start at 8:15 p.m.

I have posted games from the Moscow tournament (Torre-Saemisch, Capablanca-Zhenevsky and Torre-Lasker) in anticipation of that talk. I thought I'd add another, and one Scott may discuss: Zhenevsky-Lasker. The game was memorable mostly for the way Lasker demonstrated the relative equality of Rook+Bishop+Pawn vs. Queen in the middlegame, depending upon the position. Lasker's play is reminiscent of modern players who do not hesitate to sacrifice the Exchange or to accept material imbalances involving the Queen where the position allows it.

As usual, you can play over the game online, download the PGN, or get the PGN as text below.

[Event "Moscow International Tournament"]
[Site "Moscow"]
[Date "1925.??.??"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Zhenevsky, Ilyin A"]
[Black "Lasker, Em"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B50"]
[PlyCount "76"]
[EventDate "1925.??.??"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 e6 3. Nf3 ({ Black can now meet the normal Closed Sicilian in French fashion by} 3. g3 d5 $11) 3... d6 ({Now however} 3... d5 $6 { allows White to gain open lines and a lead in development after} 4. exd5 (4. d4 $5) 4... exd5 5. Bb5+ Nc6 $8 6. O-O $36) 4. g3 ({ White can return to normal lines by} 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nf6) 4... Nf6 5. Bg2 Be7 ({At the cost of a tempo, Black can keep the position closed by} 5... e5) 6. O-O O-O 7. b3 $5 {Bogoljubow points out that this move guards the c4 square which often causes inconveniences for White in other variations, where Black sometimes posts his Knight at that square. The move also supports a later advance with Pc4 to help control the d5 square.} (7. d4 cxd4 8. Nxd4) 7... Nc6 8. Bb2 Bd7 9. d4 cxd4 10. Nxd4 Qa5 11. Qd2 Rac8 (11... Rfd8 $142 $1 $11) 12. Rad1 Kh8 ({White threatened to use tactical means to achieve positional ends by Nxc6 and Nd5, because of the double attack on the Queen and the Bishop at e7 with check. For example,} 12... h6 $2 13. Nxc6 Bxc6 14. Nd5 Qd8 (14... Qxd2 $2 15. Nxe7+ $18) 15. Nxe7+ Qxe7 16. Rfe1 Rfd8 17. c4 $16 {and White has the two Bishops, a powerful bind on the position, and chances to attack the weakened pawn at d6.}) 13. Nce2 $1 {Clearing the way for the c4 advance and offering a trade of Queens that can only benefit White, especially since it would aid him in doubling Rooks on the d-file. White has also accurately calculated that Black cannot safely grab the pawn at a2...} ({Perhaps instead} 13. Ncb5) ({or} 13. a3) 13... Qxa2 $5 {Or can he? Bogoljubow writes: "A stange combination by Lasker. But Black gets a very solid position after the resulting Queen sacrifice." Based on the result of the game, it does not seem right for Bogoljubow to give this move a dubious "?!" mark, especially since alternatives are no more clear.} ({a)} 13... Qh5 $5 14. Nf4 Qh6 15. Nb5 e5 16. Ne2 Qh5 17. c4 a6 18. Nbc3 Ng4 19. h3 Nf6 20. g4 Bxg4 $5 21. Ng3 $1 Bxd1 22. Nxh5 Bxh5 23. Nd5 $14) ({b)} 13... e5 14. Nxc6 Qxd2 15. Rxd2 Bxc6 16. Nc3 b5 17. a3 a5 18. b4 $14) ({c)} 13... Qxd2 14. Rxd2 d5 $6 {now or never} 15. exd5 Nxd5 16. c4 Nb6 17. Rfd1 $16) 14. Ra1 ({White gains little for the pawn from} 14. c4 $5 Nxd4 15. Nxd4 Qa6 $15) 14... Qxb2 15. Rfb1 Qxb1+ 16. Rxb1 Rfd8 17. c4 Ne8 18. f4 ({Boboljubow writes that "White proceeds too much by force and disregards his own King's safety. Correct was} 18. Nxc6 { " perhaps with the idea of building a Queenside initiative by} Rxc6 (18... bxc6 19. Ra1 $14) (18... Bxc6 19. Nd4 Bd7 20. Qa5 $14) 19. Ra1 a6 20. Qb4 $14) 18... a6 19. Kh1 (19. Nxc6 $1 $14) 19... Nc7 20. Qe3 Rb8 21. Rd1 Nb4 22. Qc3 (22. e5 $5 d5 $11) (22. Nc3 Be8 23. e5 d5 24. f5 $5 $14) 22... a5 23. Ra1 b6 24. Qe3 $2 {"An unfortunate error in an interesting and instructive position."} (24. g4 $5 h6 25. Qg3 $13) 24... e5 $1 {"Lasker now won the Exchange and conducted the endgame simply and energetically to victory." When the Knight retreats, Black will fork Queen and Rook by Nc2.} 25. Nf5 Bxf5 26. exf5 Nc2 27. Qc3 Nxa1 28. Qxa1 Bf6 $17 29. Qg1 d5 30. cxd5 Nxd5 31. fxe5 Bxe5 32. g4 f6 33. h4 b5 34. Nd4 Ne3 35. Qxe3 Rxd4 36. Bf3 a4 37. h5 a3 38. Qe2 Rbd8 {Bogoljubow concludes that this is a game that shows Lasker the tactician in the best light. Surely very few chessmasters would have offered the Queen at move 13 let alone survived doing so.} 0-1

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Annotated FIDE World Chess Championship

Here are a number of places you can find news and annotated games from the ongoing FIDE World Chess Championship. I have made them all open up in new pages so that you can easily compare what they say about various games or view pictures side by side with analysis.

GM Sergey Shipov. Chess Pro.
Very useful impressions and analysis of the games by the Russian GM.

Dennis Monokroussos. The Chess Mind.
Offers some very deep annotations to some games, with links to other useful commentary.

IM Maxim Notkin, "Pearl of the Day" at e3 e5
Scroll down to find this and the next column under "News," with days corresponding to rounds.

Misha Savinov, "Night Watch" at e3 e5
Sometimes philosophical reflections on the round by round play which read more like essays than news reports. Excellent stuff.

An excellent Spanish-language site with annotated games and reports after each round. They have a tradition of providing excellent notes, like these by IM Hectre Leyva on Round 4 match-up Topalov-Adams.

IM Alexander Alpert at Convekta
"Commented games" presented in Convekta's own Chess Assistant Java Applet format. Notes in English but moves in Russian (?) algebraic.

Malcolm Pein of the Daily Telegraph
Useful daily chess column with news and games. Annotations, however, are usually sparse.

Susan Polgar. Susan Polgar Chess Blog and
Light annotations and predictions from the GM and sister to participant Judit. She does not risk many long variations, but her notes are useful.

ChessBase and ChessBase in Spanish.
An excellent source of photos, round by round reports (by the charming GM Nigel Short), and games.

FIDE and FIDE-San Luis
The FIDE site has news and photos off the main page and the San Luis news page.

Official Site

The official site of the tournament includes recent pictures and commentaries by the ubiquitous Nigel Short.

The Week in Chess.
Offers photos and games, with occasional links to annotations in PGN by Malcolm Pein.

Google News
You can always search the latest news about the tournament through Google.

Internet Chess Club (ICC)
If you are not a member, there is no better time to try the seven day trial. Personally, I don't play much online but I feel I've gotten more than my money's worth out of their championship coverage (though some of the kibitzing is offensive and should be monitored).

Besides their wonderful live shows they offer round-by-round wrap-ups and will likely have some individually commented games. I recommend combining coverage on the ICC with ChessFM for the best live effect.
If you bought Fritz, Shredder, or another ChessBase program in the past year, chances are you are already a free subscriber to this site. Otherwise, there seems no better time to sign up for their free 30-day trial! Word is that they have some excellent GM commentary by Yasser Seirawan and my favorite Andrew Martin.

World Chess Network
You can also view games live here.

Mig Greengard. The Daily Dirt Chess Blog.
Chatty kibitzing and useful links to other commentary.

The Closet Grandmaster from Australia
TCG is fllowing the championship closely and blogging about it frequently, with useful links.

Chess News and Events by Goran Urosevic
A blog that features frequent news updates and useful links.

The Argentinian national newspaper has some surprisingly good daily coverage of the tournament plus additional reports and commentaries. And it is open access--no annoying registration required. You will find the most articles by simply using the "buscar" ("to search") button and entering "ajedrez" (chess in Spanish). You can also navigate to the daily report (if it is not lined off the main page) via secciones (sections)>deportes (sports)> ajedrez.

El Diario de la Republica
The local San Luis newspaper requires a very annoying and discouraging registration but the "suplemento especial" devoted to the championship is worth seeing. It is usually linked off the main page--I think the championship will be the biggest thing in town for the duration--and contains a game of the day with some commentary plus articles and photos that give a lot of local color. The pictures do add something--including one showing Topalov signing autographs for adoring fans which I have not seen elsewhere.

The Chess Drum.
There is no name attached to these reports, which are based in large part on those of GMs in other media.

Net Chess News
Always an easy place to find recent games, including those from the FICE WCC, in java applet form.
The games are presented here to play over online, with a nice picture and some kibitzing by visitors.

Europe Echecs
Offers game summaries and round by round commentary.

The Chess Chronicle (subscription)
As far as I know, they have not yet come out with annotated games. But I expect this to be one of the most complete presentations, to judge by some of their sample issues available online, including the most recent free issue with player biographies.

Chess Today (subscription)
The daily chess newspaper offers analysis if you subscribe.

I will add any others I come across or which readers recommend.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Grand Prix Attack Bibliography

The Grand Prix Attack (with either 1.e4 c5 2.f4 or the improved 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4) had a period of strong GM interest in the 80’s and 90’s and continues to be one of the most popular anti-Sicilian lines at the club level. It took nearly a decade for effective Black plans to be developed and tested against it, and it is far from being “refuted” as some anti-anti-Sicilian books would have it. White’s play is perfectly logical and creates good chances of attack even against the most prepared opponents. White does, however, have to be prepared for transpositions to other lines depending on Black’s choices. For example, against 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 (3.Bb5!?) 3…e6 4.Nf3 Nge7 (4…a6!?), White does best to transpose either to the standard Closed Sicilian with 5.g3 and Bg2 or to go into an Open Sicilian with 5.d4! cxd4 6.Nxd4 Nxd4 7.Qxd4 Nc6 8.Qf2 because the standard plans of 5.Bb5?! a6! or 5.Bc4?! d5! are no longer good against this Black set-up. However, if White is prepared for these and other ideas, he is likely to get an interesting game and to keep the initiative.

The bibliography that follows is not complete and I welcome reader additions. I imagine there are a number of repertoire books on the Sicilian, for example, that offer at least one quick antidote for Black against this line, but these are not included here because I have not seen them generally.

Bangiev, Alexander. White Repertoire 1.e4. Chessbase CD 2003.
Offers a completely logical and coherent (if sometimes off-beat and risky) White repertoire with 1.e4 built around the Grand Prix Attack. Lines include the Vienna with f4, 2.Nc3 versus the Alekhine, the Grand Pix against the Pirc (1.e4 d6 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.f4!?), and even a line involving an early f4 against the Scandinavian! Highly recommended for anyone who wants to study these lines in depth and add some interesting weapons to the arsenal. The CD contains a large number of annotated games and text files plus databases.

Boersma, Paul and Viswanathan Anand. “Sicilian Defense, Grand Prix Attack.” NIC Yearbook 39 (1996): 42-47.
Focuses on White’s successful use of Bc4 against an early …d6 by Black. Anand annotates his game with Gelfand from Wijk aan Zee 1996 and some other games from the White perspective.

Davies, Nigel. “Beating the Grand Prix Attack.” The Chess Player’s Battle Manual. Batsford 2000. 94-114.
A bit more up-to-date and written for a more general audience than Gallagher’s Beating the Anti-Sicilians (see below) but covering much the same territory as that earlier book. Davies’s presentation is one of the most helpful for Black that I have seen and I highly recommend it, especially if you play the Dragon or Accelerated Dragon since his …g6-focused recommendations fit well with those systems. Davies gives move-by-move commentary with analysis, which is ideal for anyone below 2000 ELO.

Gallagher, Joe. “The Grand Prix Attack.” Beating the Anti-Sicilians. Batsford 1994. 27-42.
Gallagher's books are generally quite solid and this is no exception. He recommends the Tal Gambit (1.e4 c5 2.f4 d5! 3.exd5 Nf6) and then main lines with …g6 against 2.Nc3, including 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Bc4 e6 6.f5 Nge7 or 5.Bb5 Nd4, offering games where Black wins. The analysis and games are good but a bit dated, not considering White’s best ideas.

Goeller, Michael. Goeller-Wojcio, Kenilworth Chess Club Championship 2005.

Hodgon,Julia and Lawrence Day. Edited by Eric Schiller. The Grand Prix Attack: f4 against the Sicilian. Collier / Macmillan 1985.
A short book (under 100 pages) that had a big influence on the use of the line by top players during the late 80s and early 90s.

Ilic, Zoran. “Sicilian Defense Grand Prix Attack with f4 and Bb5.” Part One and Part Two. Inside Chess Online (available in the Web Archives)
This has got to be the best analysis anywhere in print of this important positional line in the Grand Prix, where White plays Bb5 with the intention of doubling Black's c-pawns rather than the more provocative Bc4 (which is questionable against most e6 lines for Black). Be sure to see both parts. It's a pleasure to find articles like this one free on the web or buried like treasure, as this one is, in the archives.

Lane, Gary. The Grand Prix Attack: Attacking Lines with f4 Against the Sicilian. Batsford 1997. A useful reference book that lays out all of the lines in clear fashion. But it is really a data-dump of a book with lots of unanalyzed games and variations.

_______. Opening Lanes #60
Offers a number of games with the Grand Prix Attack, focused mainly on the question of when White can play Bc4 and when not.

_______. Opening Lanes #65
Discusses the famous Saidy-Fischer encounter that many take as the inspiration for the Grand Prix Attack.

_______. Opening Lanes #06: Grand Prix Crash
Discusses the sharp 1.e4 c5 2.f4 e5!?

Langeweg, Kick with GM notes. “Grand Prix Attack.” NIC Yearbook 25 (1992)

_______. “Grand Prix Attack.” NIC Yearbook 31 (1994)
Focuses on …e6 lines.

_______, notes by Morozevich. “Grand Prix Attack.” NIC Yearbook 60 (2001)
Focuses on ...g6 lines.

Michel , David. Turner-Dowling, Ohio Open 2003
The game transposes from a Grand Prix to a Closed Sicilian in response to Black's ...a6, ...b5, ...Bb7 defense.

Plaskett, James. Sicilian Grand Prix Attack. Everyman 2000.
Plaskett’s complete game format has both strengths and weaknesses. The chief weakness is that it allows the analyst to skip many lines or give them scanty coverage. The advantage in the case of Plaskett is that he looks at some interesting and innovative games that might not typically make it into theory. Overall, this book is less complete than Gary Lane’s but sometimes more helpful in offering explanations.

Regis, David. Playing f4 against the Sicilian: Grand Prix Attack
From the Exeter Chess Club site, this article makes for a good introduction to this system for beginners and club players.

Ree, Hans. "Menashe." Chess Café Archive. January 2005.
Discusses a game by the late Menash Godberg featuring a successful use of Bc4 and a3 in the Grand Prix.

Rogozenko, Dorian. Anti-Sicilians: A Guide for Black. Gambit 2003.
The latest anti-anti-Sicilian entry, which I have not yet seen.

Scherbakov, Ruslan. “Nakamura’s Obscure Sicilian.” NIC Yearbook 74 (2005)

Schiller, Eric. White to Play 1.e4 and Win. Chess Digest 1992.
Recommends the Grand Prix against both the Sicilian and the Pirc (1.e4 d6 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.f4!?). Schiller’s analysis cannot be trusted, but he constructs a useful repertoire.

Silman, Jeremy. Tal Gambit Declined.
Message: 1.e4 c5 2.f4 d5! 3.e5?!? is not a good idea.

Smith, Ken. Grand Prix Attack: Attacking the Sicilian Defense with 2 f4. 2nd edition. Chess Digest 1995.
Out of print, rare, and completely worthless. Simply contains lots of games with relatively few notes and none worth reading.

Weeramantry, Sunil and Ed Eusebi. Best Lessons of a Chess Coach. David McKay / Random House 1994. 196-215. Offers very in-depth analysis of the game Weeramantry-Goldberg, New York 1991, which features an early …e6 by Black. Probably the most helpful piece for a beginner or class-player who wants to adopt the Grand Prix as White.

Yermolinsky, Alex. “The Once-Feared Grand Prix Attack Rings Hollow.” The Road to Chess Improvement. Gambit 2000. 113-126.
Yermolinsky’s supposed “refutation” amounts to recommending 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 e6 4.Nf3 Nge7 5.Bb5?! a6! (better 5.d4!) or 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Bb5 Nd4 to avoid the annoying doubled pawns at c6. Overall, I like this book a lot and recommend it. If you play Scheveningen-like Sicilian systems with ...e6, this is a must-have book because other chapters cover that system.