Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bird Defense Fishing Pole

Black to play
What's the best move to continue the attack?
I have annotated the game Balakrishnan - Goeller, KCC Summer Tourney 2011, from which comes the diagram above. 

On Thursday night I played young Praveen Balakrishnan in Round 6 of the Kenilworth Chess Club summer tourney, employing my favorite Bird Defense to the Ruy Lopez. For the second week in a row, I found myself sacrificing material for a direct attack on my opponent's king. In this case, I employed what Brian Wall likes to call "the fishing pole" theme: dangling my Knight at g4 for capture in order to open the h-file. My young opponent, who obviously had never been hooked before, gobbled the Knight and went down to speedy defeat. At least it is very unlikely he will ever fall for that trap again.

Brian Wall plays the Fishing Pole via the Berlin Defense with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.O-O Ng4!? trying to provoke 5.h3 h5! and the bait has been set and is hard to resist.  See Lee - Wall, Kansas Open 2007 for a nice illustration.  Wall has posted endless examples of his "Fishing Pole" online and in the Unorthodox Openings Yahoo group. If you have a spare 15 minutes or so, it's worth checking out his Fishing Pole: First Blood Part 1 and Part 2 on Youtube, which examine a game where GM Walter Browne lost to the Fishing Pole in a simul, intercutting scenes from Rambo for dramatic effect.  If nothing else, it will definitely help you to resist the bait yourself!

1 comment:

Ian said...

Good golly. I never thought you'd be able to 'hook' a fellow expert with that trick. I think a couple months ago Joel Benjamin had some article about trying to train his 1200-rated nephew away from the Fishing Pole, how horrible it was and how none of his GM friends knew what it was (not by name, that is). Nice game.