Don’s Coffee & Tea Break

July 15, 2019

What people want and what they need to aspire and succeed is not the same because effort and personalities are not the same. Success for me may well be different for others. Effort is always a guiding principle to live by. Viewing plans and practice do not sometimes fit well in the scheme of things but what alternative promises more?

Garfield is a cat with few meows and uses his paws to convey his thoughts thus: “Remember, people….Laughter is medicine…. unless you have stitches.”

Blondie is always working to better the catering business. “I can cater your anniversary party for 18 dollars a person.” Her client says: $18? My dear, I also run a catering business and I could cater my own for $13 a person.” Blondie remarks, “Then why don’t you do so?” The customer’s response: “Because I know how difficult I am to please!”

Pickles is one of my favorites. In this four panel episode, Grandma and Nelson are featured. She is telling Nelson if he would like to help her. Nelson tells her okay. She says: “Empty the garbage and I’ll give you a cookie and glass of milk.” Nelson says he would rather have some money. Grandma responds with, “Yes, and I’d rather not have to get up 3 times a night to use the bathroom, but we don’t always get what we want, do we?”

Shoe’s two panel entry sees Shoe & co. in a cemetery examining the inscription. Yeah, that is my aunt’s recipe alright. She always said we’d get her chocolate chip cookie recipe over her dead body.


The Amateur Eye – Tarrasch Variation of the French Def.

July 12, 2019

This variation 4. Nd2 got my interest from Modern Chess Openings (MCO) and from chess play at the Rochester Chess Club for how it coincided with my Square Count theories. The game in question here is from the Portland Area League 2018; a time limit of (60/5) as the winner Avi Gupta notes: makes it conducive for aggressive plans. Ari’s opponent Kabir Rathore Muthu answers Gupta’s king pawn opening play, choosing the ancient French, replying with pawn to e6. The game appeared in CHESS LIFE.

l. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. Bd3

This sortie put pressure on the w/s diagonal b1/h7.

5. …. c5 a freeing move attacking the d4 square was a favorite plan of Jose R. Capablanca re counter-play against the white center which is a common theme in other openings as well. The advantage is to get counter-play against the central squares and obtaining a free type development.

6. c3 supporting the center d-pawn and making room for a bishop retreat (c2) if attacked.

6. …. Qb6 7. Ne2! White keeps f3 available for the d2 knight, eying f4 or g3 at the same time. Black’s Q move may not be best. Black’s minor pieces need relocation with a timely pawn push to gain more square count on the wing.

7. …. Nc6 8. Nf3 Be7 9. O-O f6

This center-counter action is played when White is better developed so a better idea could be Nf8. It also weakens the e6 square.

10. Nf4! f:e5 11. N:e6 Bf6 12. Nfg5 e4 Here Black misses the White shot 13.N:g7! in his calculation planning as 13. ….B:g7 14. Qh5+ Kd8 15. Ne6 axes it. Gupta’s planned idea is just as convincing. Sometimes it is smart to just follow a plan to it’s conclusion.

13. Re1 c:d4 14. c:d4 Nf8 15. Nf4 B:g5 16. N:d5 Qd8 17. Qh5+ g6 18. Q:g5 Q:g5 19. B:g5 Ne6 20. R:e4 Kf7 21. Be3 Bd7 22. Nc3 Rhe8 23. d5 Black resigns.

Ari Gupta had a dream come true by appearing on the 2019 Jeopardy Teen Tournament.

Chess Life noted that The Catlin Gabel Chess Club was founded in September 2015 by Mathus Leungpathomaram, Hansen Lian, Avi Gupta, and Seth Talyansky with the mission of raising the profile of chess in the Catlin Gabel and greater Portland area communities. / pg. 76 July 1919 Chess Life/

The Amateur Eye – Watch 7/10-20 on USCHESSCHAMPS.COM

July 4, 2019

Here is a great opportunity to see live coverage of America’s chess stars in action.

The Amateur Eye – Dutch Idea in the Leningrad System

July 3, 2019

GM Hikaru Nakamura’s final game in the US Championship required risk; he answered GM Jeffery Xiong opening play 1. d4 Queen Pawn Game choosing a vigorous Leningrad Dutch setup that involves both players into a dynamic but spirited fight. That decision in the final decision allowed victory edging out the runner-ups to claim the title.

White: Jeffery Xiong vs. Black: Hikaru Nakamura

l. d4 f5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 g6 4. g3 Bg7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O d6 7. Nc3 Nc6 8. d5 Na5 9. b3 c5 10. Bb2? Odd how square count seems to give an edge to Black.

Post analysis by computer favors Jeffery’s plan and the thought is: “white is good; black is bad.” Now, correct would have been what was not played. White gains a clear edge with the odd looking 10. Bd2! a6 11. Rc1 Rb8 12. e4! according to analysis in Chess Life.

10. …. a6 11. Ng5 Rb8 12. Qd3 Qe8 13. Nd1 b5 14. Qd2 Nb7 15. Ne3 Nd8 16, Nh3 Bd7 17. Rad1 b4!

18. Qc2 a5 19. Nf4 a4 20. h4 Ra8 21. Qb1 Ra6 22. Bf3 Qf7 23. Neg2 Ng4! 24. B:g4 f:g4 25. e4 B:b2 26. Q:b2 Qg7 27. Q:g7 + K:g7 28. e5 Bf5 29. e:d6 e:d6 30. Rfe1 Nf7.

A long battle ensues to the 58th move with Black winning after a wild melee. Try to make up some ideas within this game and position. Ideas and plans make up strategies to build on. The final position and game can be found on page 35 of Chess Life July 2019 issue.

Black keeps a tiny edge in square count.

The Amateur Eye–Dragon

July 2, 2019

The Dragon variation of the Sicilian Defense offers up a counterpunch meeting the Yugoslav in the hands of Ray Robson.

White: Ray Robson vs. Black: Hikaru Nakamura

l. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 c:d4 4. N:d4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 O-O 8. Qd2 Nc6 9. Bc4 Bd7 10. O-O-O Rb8 11. Bb3 Na5 12. Bh6 B:h6 13. Q:h6 b5 14. Nd5 N:b3+ 15. N:b3 e5 16. N:f6+ Q:f6 17. h4 Rb6 18. h5 Qe7 19. h:g6 20. Qe3 Be6 21. Rhf1

As Warburton, a correspondence player of British repute, told me he rarely castled long less he could get the King out of the center post haste. In that context I would venture to say that 21. Kb1 was a logical idea where a safe King position might radiate a more aggressive plan going forward.

21. … Rc6 22. f4 Qc7!

Nakamura gains a tempo with the attack on c2. He is eying building up square count with the a-pawn advance threat coming with a plus of seeing better positioning of his forces and leaving White little to show for his own setup.

23. Rd2 a5! 24. Kb1

A Nimsowitsch like prophylactic decision late and not as useful as had it been played earlier.

24. …. a4 25. Nc1 b4

Square count wise, the position plays itself through it’s special ground pawn swell. The soldiers are marching!

26. Rdf2

Good or bad, Robson had to try 26. f5 to stimulate his side for action. Instead, he gives his opponent an almost free hand in the coming action.

26. …. e:f4 27. R:f4 Rc8! 28. Rf6 R:c2

One of my lessons dealt with the time element in chess. Here the master weaves his web and concludes the game giving the student a classic lesson to study, learn and apply in their own game play.

29. R:e6 Qc4 30. Ref6 a3

There remains no defense to the coming breakthrough.

31. b:a3 b:a3 32. Q:a3 R:c1 33. R:c1 Q:e4+ 34. Kb2 Qe5+ 35. Rc3 Rb8+ 36. Kc2 Q:f6 37. Rf3 Qd4 38. Rb3 Qe4+ 39. Kc1 Qe1+ 40. Kc2 Qe2+ 41. Kb1 Qd1+ 42. Qc1 White Resigned on the 55th move.

The Amateur Eye – Too Complex??

July 2, 2019

Perhaps I am perplexed by the thought that chess competition in games involve, not the battle between knowledge and skill of the two combatants but rather today we find the computer being used as a kind of interloping partner and having little to do with the strategy plans and play seen in the game itself.

Over the years I have built up a large library which includes a chess and game section. I’ve seen analysis and notes to have varying degrees of soundness but always reflect the talent of those times and players. Such collections have given me the joy seeing history in the making come alive through such game play.

The time I devote to chess is personal. I enjoy the spirit I find in the efforts accomplished by the players. And the idea most important for players can be put in one word: ENJOYMENT.

Amateur Eye-Fianchetto

June 20, 2019

A good example of square count was recently seen in the game NiHua handling White against Alex Lenderman featuring the Open Catalan at the 2019 FIDE World Team Championship held at Astana, Kazakhstan.

After 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 White could choose other developing moves but the text sets sight on fianchettoing the King Bishop. Now, 3… d5 aims at a strong pawn center; the US team in 2018 pursued it’s success. After 4. Nf3 Be7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O both sides display fighting opening and solid play. The question becomes one of how long to follow previous examples. 6. … d:c4 7. Qc2 a6 8. a4 c5 9. d:c5 B:c5 10. Q:c4 Ni varies from two games featuring 10. Nbd2 ending in draws.

10. … b6 11. Ne5 Ra7 12. Nd3 Be7 13. Bf4 Bb7 14. B:b7 R:b7 15. Nd2 b5 16. a:b5 a:b5 17. Qc2 Nd5 18. Rfc1 Nd7 19. Nb3 N:f4 20. N:f4 Bd6 21. Qe4 Rb6 22. Nd3 Nf6 23. Qd4 Nd5

24. Nbc5 would be good for White here but now, as played, 24. Ra7 Be7 25. Nbc5 (White misses the strong 25. Rcc7!) and here we will stop the material game.

You should study the ideas devoted to square count. White appears to maintain a lead over the Black forces to this point but erred, messing up the edge to that point.

A Heated Tactical Melee

June 18, 2019

White: Reshevsky Black: Arnold Denker Opening: Budapest Gambit (A52) 1934 Syracuse, NY

1, d4 Nf6 2. c4 e5 3. d:e5 Ng4 4. e4 d6 5. Be2 Sammy wants to take advantage of the harassed Knight by gaining space and squares into Denker’s position.

5. … N:e5 6. f4! Ng4 7. Nf3 Nc6 8. O-O Sammy focuses on King safety while getting Rooks into play. Following the square count theory that includes tickling the enemy who comes too close, applying pawn forces economically and tactically.

8. ,,,,Bd7 A good reply now is 9. h3 to drive away this Knight effecting square count favorably. Maybe a little better was 8….Be7 instead of …Bd7. as played. Sammy continues his plan to expand space control over squares.

9. Nc3 Oops. Sammy decides to hit with another developing move. 9…Be7 10. h3 Nf6 11. e5 This invasion tells Black that his last move was too slow. 10…Nh6 was a worthy thought. 11… d:e5 12. f:e5 Ng8 13. Be3 f6 14. Bd3 Attacking the light squares. 14. ….f:e5? This makes matters worse. When pawn captures weaken structure and the opponent has space and attack— that is the worst idea to open more lines for attack. Probably best would be to try 14… Be6 and hoping to play the Bishop to f7 for defense hoping to hide behind a castling wall.

15. Ng5 Is this the strongest move in whipping up the pressure? (15. Ne5 is better. ) 15. … Nf6 16. R:f6 B:f6 17. Qh5+ g6 18. B:g6+ h:g6 19. Q:g6+ Ke7 20. Bc5 checkmate.

Can you find other checkmates in this final sequence of moves? Here is a chess problem:Chess Problem!!Find the 1 Move Mate: W:/Bc5/Kd6/Re6
B: /Kd8/b7/p/Rf4/Bh2



Wide Open Blitz from 1992

June 14, 2019

saw clubs organizing from as far away as Long Beach California, Hamilton Ontario Canada and Rochester, New York’s Chess Center. with points in between. Blitz play sharpens the mind to play fast and think faster. The events drew beginners thru masters where players met for practice and fun mixed with the fellowship of friends.

The following game illustrates the combative zeal experienced during the many night time battles across the board.

Sherman vs. Dlugy –Polish Opening 1. b4 d5 2. Bb2 Qd6 3. a3 e5 4. e3 c6 5. Nf3 Nd7 6, d4 e4 7. Nfd2 f5 8. c4 Ngf6 9. Nc3 a6 10. Qb3 Be7 11. h3 b5 12 cd5 cd5 13. Rc1 O-O 14. Bb5 ab5 15. Nb5 Qb6 16 Nc7 Bb7 17. Na8 Ra8 18. O-O Ba6 19. Rfe1 Bd3 20. Nb1 Bb1 21. Rb1 Qb5 22. Rec1 Bd6 23. Rc2 Nb6 24, Rbc1 Nc4 25. Ra1 Kh8 26. Rce1 Nd7 27. Bc3 Ndb6 28 Be1 b6 29.Ra2 Kh7 30. Rb1 f4 31. Rc1 Bb8 32.Rb1 Qd7 33. Rc1 f3 34. Rce2 fg2 35. Kg2 Qd6 36. f4 ef3 37. Kf1 Qe6 (O-1).

Adventure in Chess History

June 13, 2019

As a youngster interested in chess I had the good fortune of having my older brothers Ray and George and my sister Shirley– all who stimulated this interest for chess play in the family circle. It was from age three but it did not equate to my interest other than watching and pestering them about what joy they got from this strange war game.

When my brother Ray entered the Army in WWII, I was sad. My mom thought it would be good to learn to read so she taught me and by age six or so I could read the newspapers and learned chess notation and studied The Game of Chess by Dr. Tarrsch and My System by Dr. Aron Nimsowtich. My brother’s library also contained the early MCO 6 edition and books by Reti, and classics featuring the games of Jose R. Capablanca and Alexander Alekhin which greatly intrigue me. When I was a teenager I developed my chess theory of square count using Capablanca and Alekhine as examples.

One excellent learning tool within US Chess (USCF) is the column Solitaire Chess/instruction from Bruce Pandolfini. This is where I got the game material for this article where I use square count. It is taken from a trip Capablanca took in 1914 to the Russian Empire where he gave a 30-board simultaneous exhibition in the city of Kiev, a major chess power. Refer to Chess Life, June 2019, pages 44-45:“Capa at Play”(from 3/2/1914) 1. d4 f5 2. e4 f:e4 3. Nc3 An aggressive gambit style is 3. f3. The text gives a huge lead in square count. Black must close the gap else a curtain will fall quickly. Black’s aim is to add to his own count with a plan to close the gap choosing 3…Nf6 developing a defense of h5 as well. 4. Bg5. It has already become tricky to find a plan. Black might choose 4…Nc6/4…e6/4…g6 or as c6 as played. Here Capablanca uses his lesson idea for compounded development discussed in his own treatise to choose 4. Bg5.

Black wants to play a timely …. d5 hoping to set up a pawn chain and strengthen his center. But now Capablanca hits the pawn center head-on with 5. f3 perhaps more than anything else just to create some open lines that arise from pawn exchanges. Black decides with 5… e:f3 to keep the pawn edge. Perhaps more prudent was seeking counter-play with 5…Qb6 with eying more space. 6. N:f3 Gaining squares and space into enemy territory giving more pressure against the enemy king station. 6…e6 opens the bishop diagonal but tactically better again was the chance for 6…Qb6. 7. Bd3 seizing the long diagonal, Capablanca ever onward takes space when offered! He digs more space holes answering 7….d5 with 8. O-O! The short span views White having five to one sweep of developing power for attack. 8…Nbd7 Securing that a Knight will hold sway on defense of h5 avoiding a Queen sally to that target square.

9. Ne5 Be7 10. B:f6 B:f6 11. Qh5+ Ke7 12. B:h7 Nf8 In positions like this it is wiser to try to exchange with 12…Qe8 and clears d8 for retreat.

13. Qf7+ Kd6 14. Nc4+ d:c4 15. Ne4+ Kd5 16. Rf5+ Pushes the King up the board to await the axe.K:e4 17. Re1+ Kd4+ 18. c3+ Kd3 19. Rd5 double checkmate!!