Sunday, April 25, 2010

Scacchi: Enciclopedia pratica dei Gambetti

Marco Saba's Scacchi: Enciclopedia pratica dei Gambetti is an interesting resource, offering over 700 database generated opening reports for various gambits.  The ones I looked at (including the Urusov and Ulvestad) were useful, though necessarily limited by the practical games available in these rare lines.

Friday, April 23, 2010

2010 KCC Consultation Game, Adjourned

Adjourned Position - White to move
How can Black answer 26.Ne5?

Last night began the Kenilworth Chess Club's annual consultation game (my Java, PGN, John's Java, zipped PGN), with Yaacov Norowitz leading the White team and Steve Stoyko leading the Black team.  The game was adjourned (with White sealing in the diagrammed position above) and will conclude next week.  In the diagram, you might want to puzzle out how Black saves himself from Knight forks at e5.... It's a tricky idea, though I'm sure Norowitz and crew have figured it out already.

The consultation games are a great way for players to learn from each other and get new ideas.  I am especially grateful to Steve who has taught me a tremendous amount about "chess thinking" in these discussions.  The games have proven to be such popular events that we have decided to schedule a second one this year for December 9th and 16th (which makes up for not having one in 2009). Don Carelli has written a nice entry about the Kenilworth Chess Club's consultation game tradition, and you can find information about games from 2006, 2007, and 2008 online.  Unfortunately, only the complete score of the 2007 game is currently available due to the demise of Geocities (where John posted the others).  Maybe John can repost the PGNs?

Update: John not only posted the completed consultation game but past games as well.

Black Team, led by Steve Stoyko

White Team, led by Yaacov Norowitz

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Anand Interviewed

With the ash from Iceland's volcano disrupting air travel and grounding Vishy Anand's flight, there is still some question whether or not he will make it to Sofia in time to play the World Championship match. Meanwhile, Al Jazeera has posted a very informative interview with Anand in two parts.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Is Chess Art?

Popular film critic Roger Ebert has decided to write a long statement defending his pronouncement long ago that "Video games can never be art."  I really don't care what he says about video games: it's what he says about chess in his essay that bothers me.  As he writes: "chess, football, baseball and even mah jong cannot be art, however elegant their rules."  He grants that if we follow Wikipedia's definition of art as "the process of deliberately arranging elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions," then "as a chess player I might argue that my game fits the definition."  But he refuses to accept it and refuses even to acknowledge the long history of statements about how chess can be experienced as art.  Several readers have taken him to task for this.  I thought I would just mention some quotes.  The failure to at least acknowledge a history of argument comparing chess to art shows willful ignorance on his part.
"Chess, first of all, is art." -- Mikhail Tal

"Beauty in chess is closer to beauty in poetry; the chess pieces are the block alphabet which shapes throughts, and these throughts, although making a visual design on the chessboard, express their beauty abstractly, like a poem. Actually, I believe that every chess player experiences a mixture of two aesthetic pleasures: first, the abstract image akin to the poetic idea of writing; secondly, the sensuous pleasure of the ideographic execution of that image on the chessboard. From my close contact with artists and chess players, I have come to the personal conclusion that while all artists are not chess players, all chess players are artists." -- Marcel Duchamp, August 30, 1952 address to the New York State Chess Association
"Chess is in its essence a game, in its form an art, and in its execution a science." -- Tassilo von Heydebrand und der Lasa

"Great chess games are breathtaking works of art." -- Stuart Rachels

"Chess resembles writing, painting and music in being an obsessional mental activity preoccupied with exploring tension and complication to resolve them to triumphant harmony."  -- Andrew Waterman, The Poetry of Chess

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Marc Esserman Lecture

IM Justin Sarkar in the front row to see his game.

 Esserman simul begins: a pawn down on every board!

NM Mark Kernighan lasted the longest.
But it was an 8-0 wipeout vs. 1830 average opposition.

IM Marc Esserman's lecture on the Smith-Morra Gambit on Thursday night, April 15th, was universally well received by about 20 in attendance.  Those who came to watch included IM Justin Sarkar (who is a good friend of Esserman's despite their sharp contests in the Smith-Morra), FM Steve Stoyko, and Yaacov Norowitz.  After the lecture, Esserman gave a thematic simultaneous exhibition, playing the Smith-Morra as White against eight players.  As Yaacov pointed out, this was a tough exhibition since "he is starting a pawn down on all eight boards!"  Based on my experience (losing in about 20 moves), he could have spotted us all an additional pawn and still won every game.  Though the average ELO was over 1830 (with a master and two experts among the players), Esserman made relatively short work of it, going 8-0 in just over 90 minutes.

Some of the games discussed or mentioned in the lecture were previously annotated online:
Several of the other games discussed are not generally known and Esserman has asked that we keep them for our own secret use.  I will be continuing my series on the Smith-Morra (including some games from the simul) in coming weeks.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Michael Peter Wojcio

The father of long time club president and founding member Mike Wojcio passed away on Wednesday, April 14, 2010, at home, surrounded by his family. Michael Peter Wojcio, 98, of Kenilworth was predeceased by his wife of 66 years, Mrs. Helen Wojcio in August 2007. Mr. Wojcio was honored as the oldest living resident of Kenilworth and served as Grand Marshall of the Kenilworth Centennial Parade in 2007. According to his obituary, he "served in World War II as a sergeant with the Army Air Corps, as an Army photographer at Robbins Field, Georgia, and at other posts. Prior to his retirement in 1977, he was employed by Lee Fabrics in Newark for 20 years, then with United Counties Trust Company for 17 years.  Mr. Wojcio was an avid golfer at Galloping Hill Golf Course and played the Francis Coakley Memorial Tournament until he was 95. His foursome won it that year. He was a member of the Kenilworth Senior Citizens Club. Relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend his funeral on Saturday at 10 a.m. from the Opacity Funeral Home, 511 Washington Ave., Kenilworth, thence to St. Theresa's R.C. Church for his Funeral Mass at 11 a.m. Interment is in Graceland Memorial Park. Visitation is today, Friday, from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. In lieu of flowers, contributions to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2230, 33 S. 21st St., Kenilworth, N.J. 07033, would be appreciated."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Smashing the Finegold Defense to the Smith-Morra

Continuing our series on the Smith-Morra Gambit, we consider the Finegold Defense as shown in the game Esserman - Finegold, ICC 2006.  The Finegold Defense (1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 d6 5.Nf3 e6 6.Bc4 Nf6 7.0-0 Be7 8 Qe2 a6), first described in Bob Ciaffone and Ben Finegold's book Smith-Morra Gambit, Finegold Defense (Gameplayer 2000), also available at ChessExpress, presents a real challenge to the Smith-Morra player, not only because it can be reached by various move orders but because there are so few good examples of White's play against the line -- especially with what may well be White's best plan, as recommended by Hannes Langrock: 9 e5! dxe5 10 Nxe5 0-0 11 Rd1 Nbd7 12 Bf4! (see diagram below).

Ciaffone himself endorses this line as likely White's best try, though he says he has never faced it in a game.  If any readers have played games that reached this position, please send them my way!  Meanwhile, enjoy Esserman's smashing example of one way to attack the Finegold, played against Finegold himself.

Remember: IM Marc Esserman will be giving a lecture on the Smith-Morra (that will feature some similar smashing games) at the Kenilworth Chess Club on April 15, 2010 ("Tax Day") at 8:15 p.m.  The lecture is open to the public and admission is $10.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Smith-Morra Gambit Bibliography

When I first developed an opening repertoire in my teens, I got most of my information from the old Chess Digest pamphlets of Ken Smith and John Hall.  The Smith-Morra Gambit (1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3) thus naturally became my answer to the Sicilian.  The gambit was first analyzed by the obscure French player Pierre Morra (1900-1969) in the 1940s and 50s (generally via the move order 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.c3), but it was the American poker champion, chess publisher, and gambiteer FM Ken "Top Hat" Smith (1930-1999) who became its chief proponent, gambling on it even against top notch competition at San Antonio 1972

It has been many years since I took the Smith-Morra seriously.  But, as I rarely play much "serious" chess these days, I have begun toying around with it quite a bit.  As I wrote in The Smith-Morra Gambit's Siren Call, it's tough to resist the pleasures afforded by the line, as it promises a wide open board with plenty of active piece play and tactics.   Recent analysis (most notably in The Modern Morra Gambit by Hannes Langrock) suggests that there is no completely clear way for Black to refute it and many ways to go wrong, so even some titled players have added it to their repertoires, and most of their opponents continue to choose the safer course of declining the gambit (generally with 3...Nf6, which transposes directly to the Alapin Sicilian, saving study time).  Ultimately, the Smith-Morra is still a fun line to play at the amateur level and one that guarantees many quick victories with only some risk against the most well-prepared opponents.

IM Marc Esserman is one rising star who regularly plays the Smith-Morra Gambit, and he will be giving a lecture on it at the Kenilworth Chess Club on April 15, 2010 ("Tax Day") at 8:15 p.m.  The lecture is open to the public and admission is $10.

To get us thinking about his lecture, I have prepared a bibliography to whet your appetite, with a number of recent and forthcoming works of interest in both the Smith-Morra Accepted and Smith-Morra Declined (or Alapin).  Everything is listed in reverse chronology, as best I can offer (difficult with web sources), with links to preview, purchase or download items available via the internet.  I have generally left off all but the most influential Black repertoire books that offer only a game or chapter on the gambit, as well as opening encyclopedias which may only mention it in a line or two of analysis.  As always, I welcome reader corrections and additions. And I will be adding some more materials myself (especially videos) over the next couple of days.

I would like to give special thanks to Michel Barbaut, who shared a wonderful bibliography with me and a very rare picture of Pierre Morra that appeared with an article in a French magazine.

Smith-Morra Accepted

Boris Alterman, The Alterman Gambit Guide: White Gambits (Quality Chess 2010)
Just released, this book seems similar in design to Nigel Davies's Gambiteer (which, surprisingly, did not feature the Smith-Morra but instead the Wing Gambit against the Sicilian).  Alterman did some great videos for ICC, and his breezy style seems to translate well to print based on the excerpt available online and other materials at his blog.  The book is clearly pitched to low-rated amateurs or beginning players, with move-by-move explanations but not necessarily very complete or deep analysis.  It covers the Danish Gambit, Urusov Gambit, Philidor, Cochrane Gambit vs the Petroff, Morphy Attack (Fried Liver?), Max Lange, Evans Gambit, Panov Attack, Morra, and Milner-Barry Gambit.  Red meat for the mad dog.

TheChessWebsite, Chess Openings - Smith Morra Gambit (2010)
A good video for amateurs, introducing the Smith-Morra gambit and quickly reviewing main lines.

Michael Goeller, Youthful Smith-Morras and The Smith-Morra Gambit's Siren Call (2009) Some games with the Smith-Morra from when I was a kid and a lengthy meditation on whether or not to play the gambit.

GambitFan, Smith-Morra Gambit All at
A way to learn the Smith-Morra is to play over a bunch of games online, and this link offers you a quick and easy way to do so.  See also his collections on the Smith-Morra Gambit with ...e5?! and the Alapin Variation (or Smith-Morra Declined).

Jeremy Silman, Smith-Morra Gambit ( 2009)

John Emms, Starting Out: The Sicilian 2nd edition (Everyman Chess 2009)

Efstratios Grivas, "A Black Repertoire  against the Morra and Grand Prix." NIC Yearbook 88 (2008).  Recommends the line with Nc6, e6, Bb4, and Nge7 as about equal.

Smith-Morra Gambit: Chess Openings on Demand (2008)
An interesting use of blogger to post a complete Smith-Morra repertoire in text format.

Mark Ginsburg, Defending the Smith-Morra (2008)
IM Ginsburg regularly turns up his nose at gambits and this article (written in apparent anger at only drawing IM Mark Esserman in the line) is no exception.  His recommendations are similar to Tim Taylor's (see below), and both seem inspired by Smith - Evans, San Antonio 1972.  Also available in html format.

Gary Lane, Bliss (Opening Lanes #118, ChessCafe 2008)
Annotates the game Cor van Wijgerden-Oscar Panno Amsterdam 1980 which featured the defense Nc6, e6, Bb4, Nge7.

Boris Alterman, Chess Lessons Blog: Morra Gambit (2008)
Several blog entries directed at beginners and amateurs -- and likely the basis for his recent book.

Boris Schipkov, The Siberian Trap (Chess Siberia 2008)
Annotates Kolenbeck - Schipkov, 1987, which may well be the stem game of the "Siberian Trap."

Alex Lenderman, Smith Morra Gambit, Part 1 (free), Part 2, and Part 3
(Internet Chess Club, 2007-2008). Part 1 is available free of charge, but Parts 2 and 3 require membership to ICC to login and view. 

Ecspade, Smith Morra Gambit, Part One and Part Two (2007)
A useful video for amateurs by a 1400 player.

Richard Palliser, Fighting the Anti-Sicilians: Combating 2 C3, the Closed, the Morra  (Everyman Chess 2007)
This is a useful book for any Sicilian player who favors e6 or Classical structures, as Palliser's recommendations against the anti-Sicilians favor French set-ups and generally ignore problems faced by the d6 player (even skipping coverage of the Moscow Variation entirely).  Palliser offers two antidotes to the Morra: the first, playing Nc6, d6 and a6, heading for a game like Smith - Evans, San Antonio 1972 (as recommended by Tim Taylor); the second, to play e6, a6, b5, and Bb7 followed by d6, Be7, Nbd7, Ngf6 etc.

Morra News Since Langrock's Book (Chess Publishing forum thread 2007)

Bill Paschal, Playing the Black Side of the Smith-Morra Gambit ( 2007)

Jonathan Rowson, Andrew Martin, Gary Lane, Smith-Morra Gambit (B21)  (Chess Publishing 2007)

Tim Harding, "Has the Smith-Morra Gambit Been Revived?" (Kibitzer #134, ChessCafe 2007)
Harding reviews Langrock's book (see below) and provides a very useful overview of the current state of Smith-Morra theory. 

Roger Coathup, The Smith-Morra Gambit: The Siberian Trap (Chess Tales Blog 2007)

Hannes Langrock, The Modern Morra Gambit: A Dynamic Weapon against the Sicilian (Russell Enterprises 2006)
This is currently the essential book if you want to play the Smith-Morra.  I think it is very objective and also very well presented.  It also tries to explain alternatives and not simply focus on the recommended lines.  Reviews by Jeremy Silman, John Donaldson, Carsten Hansen and John Watson (among others) universally offer praise for Langrock's "labor of love" even if they disparage the opening itself.

Gérard Demuydt, Lutter contre le Gambit Morra, Part One and Part Two
A variation against the Smith-Morra with 4...e6, 5...a6 and 6...b5 (Part One) or 6...Ne7 (Part Two).

Alexander Bangiev, Felderstrategie: Für Morra-Gambit‎ (Silbersaiten Verlag 2006)
I'd be very interested in an English translation of this book, which seems to continue Bangiev's discussion of square strategy in particular openings.

Girolt Thierry, Le Gambit Morra (Echecs Passion 2006)
A useful quick-start guide to the gambit.

Jesse Kraai, The Siberian Trap in the Smith-Morra Gambit ( 2006 - subscription required) You can also see this video in two parts (Part One and Part Two) online at YouTube.

Jesse Kraai, The Smith-Morra Gambit ( 2005 - subscription required)

Tim McGrew,  "The Power of Ideas" (Gambit Cartel #27, Chess Cafe 2004)
McGrew tells the story of a game where young Pete opens with the Smith-Morra Gambit, describing his thoughts and emotions before, during, and after the course of play. It is really a ground-breaking piece of chess writing which manages to both instruct and entertain, while it also offers a rather convincing defense of playing gambits to develop tactical awareness.

Tim McGrew,   "A Little Learning" (Gambit Cartel #20, Chess Cafe 2004)
The first "Peter Story," where Pete's chess instructor tries to convince him to ignore the database statistics and stick with the Smith-Morra Gambit, because if you look at the games where White loses you quickly see that he was just a complete putz.

Gary Lane, "Scream" (Opening Lanes #68, Chess Cafe 2004)

Academia de Xadrez Xeque-Mate,  El Gambito Smith-Morra PDF Download (2004) 
From the Wayback Machine--downloads direct.  Not bad.

Roman Dzindzichashvili, Roman’s Lab 65 : The Difference between sound and unsound ways to play sharp openings (DVD 2004)

Boris Alterman, Morra, Part Two (ChessBase 2004)

Boris Alterman, Meeting the Sicilian with the Smith-Morra Gambit (ChessBase 2004)

Igor Stohl, "Yet Another Refutation Attempt."  NIC Yearbook 67 (2003)

Nigel Davies, Amateur Chess Is Different (Let's Take a Look #3, Chess Cafe 2003)

Albert Hoogendoorn, The Smith-Morra Gambit PDF at Chessville (2003)
See also Part One and Part Two as HTML at Chessville -- but the related PGN links no longer work and are not stored in the archives.

Michael Jensen, Stephen Ham and Joe Shipman, "The Smith-Morra Gambit, Part 6: A topical line." Correspondence Chess News 91 (2003) This and the following can be found via the Wayback Machine:

Michael Jensen, "The Smith-Morra Gambit, Part 5: Mauling the Grandmasters." Correspondence Chess News 86 (2003)

Michael Jensen, "The Smith-Morra Gambit, Part 4: The Faroese Connection." Correspondence Chess News 79 (2002)

Michael Jensen, "The Smith-Morra Gambit, Part 3: The 'Open Sicilian' setups." Correspondence Chess News 77 (2002)

Michael Jensen, "A Case For The Smith Morra Gambit, Part 2: Snaring the Siberian." Correspondence Chess News 72 (2002)

Michael Jensen, "A Case for the Smith-Morra Gambit, Part 1: Michael's Miniatures." Correspondence Chess News  70 (2002): 13-20.
A useful collection of amateur games (below 1700) that show many ways Black can go wrong. You can find CCN online in both PDF and PGN formats at

Jim Bickford, The Main Line Smith-Morra Gambit Accepted (Syzygy Publishing 2002)

Jim Bickford, The Dragon vs Smith-Morra Gambit Accepted (Syzygy Publishing 2002)
I have not seen these volumes, but most others in the series were just made up of "data dumps" of games.

Franco Pezzi, The Gambitingly Way (CD 2001-2002)
Features quite a few annotated games.

T. Born, Morra Gambit ( 2001)
PDF database article from the archives.

John Emms, Starting Out: The Sicilian 1st edition (Everyman 2001)
See second edition above.  Has a chapter on the Smith-Morra.

Andrew Martin, Morra Gambit Accepted.  Foxy Video Series, Volume 36 (DVD, 110 min., 2000) 
A very interesting presentation which mostly follows the recommendations and idea of Graham Burgess (including h4 vs the Fianchetto defense with g6).  A useful introduction to the Smith-Morra for those looking to get started playing it quickly. 

Peter Doggers, "A Refutation Refuted." NIC Yearbook 57 (2000)

Bob Ciaffone and Ben Finegold, Smith-Morra Gambit, Finegold Defense (Gameplayer 2000)
A pamphlet with some good ideas but poorly presented for usability, with much more prose than analysis.  I assume it is more the work of Life Master Ciaffone than now-GM Finegold, though I know Finegold has used this line (in a game I will analyze here).  This was reviewed by John Watson  rather favorably, even while he critiqued all of the analysis he examined while still bowing to anti-Morra prejudice -- noting, after showing that White is doing well against some of their lines: "Of course, by normal development, I'm sure that Black is still better (this IS the Smith-Morra, after all)."  GambitChess has posted a database book in PGN.

Pascal, Le Gambit Morra Accepte (Club d'echecs Latourdivoire 2000)

Barnett Chess Club,  The Smith-Morra Gambit System Against the Sicilian Defence (October 1999)
A very useful introduction to the Smith-Morra from the former Barnett Chess Club website.

Gary Lane, "The Unknown Move" (Opening Lanes #12, Chess Cafe 1999)
Looks at Adams - Watson, British Championship 1990.

Morra Gambit in a Week (Anova 1999)

József Pálkövi and James Cobb, Morra Gambit‎  (Caissa Chess Books, Kecskemet 1998 / 2000)
Absolutely ground breaking for its time.  Langrock credits Palkovi with introducing him to the Morra, but he also points out a number places where the book is overly optimistic or mistaken regarding analysis.  Like other intriguing books by Palkovi, it is now difficult to get hold of a copy, which suggests that it is held tightly by Smith-Morra lovers.  See review by Carsten Hansen.

Natasha Regan and Susan Lalic, Trends in the Smith-Morra Gambit (Chess Digest 1997)

Smith-Morra Gambit Accepted, B21 (Moravian Chess 1996)

John Watson and Eric Schiller, Big Book of Busts (Hypermodern Press 1995)

Francis Meinsohn, Virginie (1994)
I was not able to track down further information on this intriguing title from a well-known French FM theoretician.  Reader information welcome.

Morra Gambit: Collection of Games (Echecs International 1994)

Graham Burgess, Winning with the Smith-Morra Gambit (Batsford 1994)
This was the last great book on the Smith-Morra that revived interest in the line, but it would be over a dozen years before anyone would offer a better book from the White perspective.  This book also offers a White repertoire for when Black declines the gambit.

Tim Taylor, How to Defeat the Smith-Morra Gambit: 6...a6 (Chess Enterprises 1993/2002)
Widely available for free download.  Also available as a database book in PGN from Gambit Chess.

Ken Smith and Bill Wall, Smith-Morra Accepted: A Game Collection (Chess Enterprises 1992)

Andrew Martin, Trends in the Smith-Morra Gambit (Trends 1992)

Joseph Shipman, "The Smith-Morra Gambit Accepted" (Chess Horizons, 1990-1991)
There was a series of articles by the son of IM Walter Shipman in the award winning Massachusetts chess magazine.

Neil Carr,  Developments in the Smith-Morra Gambit, 1980-1989 (Quadrant 1990)

Attilio Sacripanti,  La difesa Siciliana, il gambetto Morra-Matulovic  (Mursia 1989)

Rolf Schwarz, Morra Gambit, Sizilianisches Mittelgambit  (Schachverlag Rudi Schmaus 1989)

Mike Basman, Chess Openings (Crowood Chess Library 1987)

Francis Meinsohn, Attaque à tout va  (Hatier 1985) 

Eduard Gufeld, Le Gambit Morra  (Grasset 1984)

Lev Polugajevsky, Sizilianisch: Morra-Gambit bis Scheveninger System (Sportverlag 1982)

János Flesch, The Morra Smith Gambit (Batsford 1981)
This was the book I studied most closely in the early 80s and it made a good case for the gambit, featuring some interesting games I have not seen in databases since.

J. Negro, Une étude du gambit Pierre Morra, défense Sicilienne  (1978)

Ken Smith, Sicilian: Theory of the Smith-Morra Gambit in games, 1968 thru 1973 (Chess Digest 1974)  GambitChess has posted a database book in PGN.

Ken Smith, Sicilian: Theory of the Smith-Morra Gambit in games, 1846 thru 1967  (Chess Digest 1974)

Ken Smith, Sicilian: Smith-Morra Gambit Accepted  (Chess Digest 1972)

Eduard Gufeld, Chess 37 (1972): 207ff.

Sthig Jonasson, Morra-Smith Gambit (Schackbulletinens Forlag 1971)

Ken Smith, "Smith-Morra Gambit vs the Sicilian Defense," Chess Digest 2-3 (1969).

Walter Korn, Chess Review 24-25 (1956): 268ff, 302ff

Pierre Morra, Le Jeu des Echecs (1952)

Pierre Morra, Le fameux gambit Sicilien (1946)

Additional Resources

The Smith-Morra Declined (Alapin / c3 Sicilian)
The main advantage of the Smith-Morra Gambit is that while Black can transpose to lines of the standard c3 Sicilian, the defender's choices are more limited because the pawn capture cxd4 has already been played.  This is not intended as a complete list, and  I have included only sources from the last 15 years.

Evgeny Sveshnikov, The Complete c3 Sicilian (New in Chess, expected September 2010)
This is an exciting development: a book on the c3 Sicilian by its greatest theoretician.

Bill Paschal, Creative Opening Concepts; Part III; Against the c3 Sicilian ( 2010)

 J. Patrick, New Paths in the Smith-Morra Gambit Declined, More, Part Two and More Adventures

Sam Collins, Chess Explained: The c3 Sicilian (Gambit 2007)
Covers the opening in 25 well annotated games.  

Richard Palliser, Fighting the Anti-Sicilians: Combating 2 C3, the Closed, the Morra  (Everyman Chess 2007)

Sergei Tiviakov, Sicilian Defense with 2.c3 - Alapin Variation (ChessBase 2007, 4 hour DVD)

Hannes Langrock, "Taming the Gallagher-system in the 2.c3-Sicilian" (ChessCafe 2007)
Covers an interesting line vs the Gallagher Variation (1.e4 c5 2.c3 Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nf3 e6 6.cxd4 b6) with 7.Bc4!? intending to swap the Bishop for the Knight to gain some control over d5.

Hector Leyva Paneque, Una Defectuosa Defensa en la Variante Alapin de la Siciliana (InforChess 2006)

Dorian Rogozenko, Alapin Sicilian CD (ChessBase 2006)

David Vigorito, The 2.c3 Sicilian for Black: Part I and Part II ( 2006)

Dorian Rogozenko, Anti-Sicilians: A Guide for Black (Gambit 2003)

Joe Gallagher, Beating the Anti-Sicilians (Batsford 2003)

Eduard Gufeld and Nikolaĭ Kalinichenk, Chess Strategy  (Batsford 2003)

Juan Rohl, Defensa Siciliana, Variante Alapin (Hechiceros 2003 -- from archive)

Eduardas Rozentalis & Andrew Harley, Play the 2c3 Sicilian (Gambit 2002)
Rapidly becoming rare, yet correctly recommended and praised by several writers.  You should get a copy soon if you don't have it already. See review by Randy Bauer.

Joe Gallagher, c3 Sicilian (Everyman 1999)
Features 70 games, many won by Black, leading Watson in a review to suggest that the line is dead.

Graham Burgess, 101 Chess Opening Surprises (Gambit 1998)
A fun collection of off-beat lines, including several in the c3 Sicilian which could occur by transposition from the Morra -- especially the "unrefuted line" 1.e4 c5 2.c3 d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.d4 cxd4 5.cxd4 Nc6 6.Nf3 Bg4 7.Nc3 Bxf3 8.gxf3 Qxd4 9.Qxd4 Nxd4 10.Nb5.

Eduard Gufeld, An Opening repertoire for the positional player (Cadogan / Everyman 1998) 

Murray Chandler, The Complete c3 Sicilian (Batsford 1996)
A useful reference manual, combining detailed analytic coverage with 70 games, plus an index of variations.

Paul Motwani, H.O.T. Chess (Batsford 1996)
Analyzes the game Motwani - Tiviakov, Gausdal 1992, featuring the line 1.e4 c5 2.c3 d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.d4 Nc6 5.Be3 cxd4 6.cxd4 but without sufficient consideration of 6...e5.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Interview with the Director of "Chess Movie"

Jennifer Shahade has posted an excellent Interview with the Director of Chess Movie (working title), the documentary project I've mentioned before and urged you to support (see "Chess Movie Preview" and "Support 'Chess Movie'").  As an admirer of the successful chess program at I.S. 318 and someone who has been involved in making videos myself (I am currently editing a 30-minute documentary based on about 100 hours of footage following five students through our freshman writing course at Rutgers), I know the sort of challenges that Katie Dellamaggiore has faced and the daunting task of editing that lies ahead.  I wish her the best of luck and look forward to seeing the final product.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Philadelphia Fireworks in April

 Kamsky and Robson drew in Round 5

The Philadelphia Open ended with a bang, with GMs Gata Kamsky, Ray Robson, Alexander Stripunsky, and Sergey Kudrin finishing with 7 points.  Robson caught up to the leaders in a star performance, showing some very impressive play in all phases of the game in his final round victory over GM Nick DeFirmian.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Philadelphia Open Starts Strong

The Philadelphia Open
is going strong, with a great turn out from titled players, including GMs Kamsky, Stripunsky, Robson, Ehlvest, Shabalov, Friedel, Akobian, Kudrin, Perelshteyn, and DeFirmian (to name just a few!)  It's looking like Easter's answer to the World Open, with practically the same level of fireworks for chess fans.  USCF's Chess Scoop has posted a nice page and video (see "The Scoop Begins at the Philadelphia Open"). Monroi has Live Games.  GM Ray Robson (currently tied for first) had a nice win over Shinsaku Uesugi in Round 3 with the piece sac line against the Sveshnikov: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 b5 9.Bxf6 gxf6 10.Nd5 f5 11.Bxb5 axb5 12.Nxb5.  But I especially enjoyed GM Josh Friedel's win as Black against IM Oladapo Adu, which feaured a sharp line against the English, some well-calculated tactics, and then a nice attacking finish (including a Queen sac to push through a passed pawn).

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Chess News for April 1st

Some incredible stories are circulating around the internet today:

In a bid to bring more publicity to the US Championship this year, the organizers have chosen chess fan Howard Stern as the first Wild Card.  Listeners to his show report that Howard is always talking about how much he loves to play online.  And he recently played in the NY March Open.  I suggest Jessica Simpson for the US Women's.

With Europe's super-collider going online, a number of chess playing physicists tried to calm GMs worried about a potential black hole being created, including the World Champion Vishy Anand who seemed to fear that it might destroy the earth before he has a chance to defend his title.