Archive for July, 2008

Kindred’s Special: Jose R. Capablanca

July 28, 2008

Ask any Grandmaster and you are almost assuredly going to find Capablanca’s name mentioned as a contributing factor in their development and depth of understanding toward its mastery. There are hundreds of examples to choose from to illustrate the genius that prodigious beginning led– an abundance of exciting chess play, tournament victories, and to the World Championship when he defeated the great Emmanuel Lasker.

After examining or should I say reexamining his games, I select here two examples of his typical style and confidence. Often his battles waged around building his results from accumulating advantageously tiny wrinkles from positions that often eluded opponents until he unleashed the hidden fire in the furnace.

The first game is from the 3rd round of the 1935 Moscow tournament where he finished 4th in the 19 round tournament with 12 points behind Botvinnik and Flohr, each with 13 points and Lasker with 12.5 points.

           Alatorzeff      (White)    vs     Jose R. Capablanca  (Black)

              Queen’s Gambit Declined –Orthodox Defense

1.d4  Nf6  2.c4  e6  3.Nc3  d5  4.Bg5  Be7  5.e3  0-0  This defense was often chosen by Capa.

6.cxd5  Nxd5  7.Bxe7  Qxe7  8.Nf3  Nxc3  9.bxc3  b6  10.Be2 Probably around the time this game was played the b6 defense was popular and c6 later gained a preference. White’s passive move obviously was geared to forcing trades and hopefully to achieve a drawish position. Personally I would play 10.Bd3  Bb7  11.0-0  c5 12.Qe2  cxd4  13.cxd4 when I expect Capa would try to attain good chances using his Q-side pawn majority.

10…Bb7  11.0-0  c5  12.Ne5  Nc6  13.Nxc6  Bxc6  14.Bf3  Rac8  15.a4  cxd4  16.cxd4  g6!  Capa takes time out to give his King ‘air’ since exchanges have reduced mating attacks and a backrow mate is now eliminated.

17.Bxc6  Rxc6  18.Qd3 White’s idea of a4 is to try to get in a5 to exchange one of the Q-side pawns. Capa will concentrate on preventing this. The immediate push would be met by b5.

18…Qb7 Stopping a5 again and to meet a possible White challenge of the c-file by 19.Rfc1 Rfc8  20.Qd2 by creating a battering ram with Qc7.

19.Rfb1  Rfc8  20.h3 Necessary because if White tries to force a5 instead thinking the ‘pin’ enables him to carry out hisplan, it proves an illusion because after b5 21.Rxb5 Rc1+ wins.

20…a6  This nips in the bud any hope of an a5 push. The threat seen is a Nimzowitschian element of the 7th rank scenario incursion by the black Rook.

21.Qa3  Rc2  22.Qd6 An act of desperation because White realizes that his position is hopeless after eg: 22.Qb3 R8c3 23.Qxb6  Rc1+ wins the Exchange and after 22.Rc1 Black has Rxc1+ 23.Rxc1 Rxc1+ 24.Qxc1 b5.

22…Rxf2!  23.Qg3 After 23.Kxf2 Rc2+ 24.Ke1 Qxg2 a cute maneuver and instructive series finds White unable to get a perpetual check draw. 25.Qb8+ Kg7 26.Qe5+ Kf8  27.Qd6+ Ke8! 28.Qb8+ Ke7 29.Qa7+ Kf6 and wins.

23…Re2  White must play now 24.Rc1 Rxc1+ 25.Rxc1 Qe4! 26.Rc3  Ra2 so White tips his King in resignation.  0-1.

Lessons from this game:

1. It is dangerous to play passively and seek exchanges in hopes of drawing especially with the white pieces;

2.Tempi are important in openings as well as later on.

3.Pawn structure where the black Q-side had a 2 vs 1 edge required attention where he tried to achieve exchanging his isolai a-pawn for one of the pair. Capablanca recognized the need to maintain those connected pawns and concentrated to that end until it was impossible for white to achieve his plan.

4. MY SYSTEM by Nimzowitsch fully explains the element of Rooks on the 7th (2nd if black) and its strategic importance.

                                                       *****

St. Petersburg 1914 (Moscow) Capablanca won 8-2 (6 wins and 4 draws) ahead of a strong field that included Lasker, Tarrasch, Alekhine, Marshall, Bernstein, Rubinstein, Nimzowitsch, Blackburne, Janowski and Gunsberg.

           O. Bernstein   (White)     vs   Jose R. Capablanca  (Black)

                                      Queens Gambit Declined

1.d4  d5  2.c4  e6  3.Nc3  Nf6  4.Nf3  Be7  5.Bg5  0-0  6.e3  Nbd7  7.Rc1  b6 8.cxd4  exd5  9.Qa4  The w/s weakness created by b6 was demonstrated by Capa’s straightforward play by 9.Bb5 based upon his principle of compounded development that partly brought about my own sq/ct theory as a result of studying Alekhine and Capablanca games.

9…Bb7  Others who provide notes suggest that Capablanca could have played here c5 giving up a pawn but leave White behind in development and subsequently Black will regain the material with good prospects. Capa most likely did not like 10.Qc6 Rb8 11.Nxd5. He rarely liked to take chances and it is worth noting that this tournament was one of a number where he traveled abroad to compete and earn his spurs.  The move chosen by Capa actually draws the Q to a6 and gives Black a chance to gain a tempo which he apparently felt more potent without taking undo chances where a miscalculation is always possible. Capablanca liked keeping plans simple and clear with a pressure that sometimes seems almost neutral but added together provided a building block of tiny pin pricks.

10.Ba6  Bxa6 11.Qxa6 c5 12.Bxf6  Nxf6  13.dxc5  bxc5  14.0-0 White gives Black the infamous ‘hanging pawns’ but Capa recognizes the pro and con of this pawn structure. Playing for a win, he plans to utilize the assets afforded by this feature as again explained so vividly in MY SYSTEM by Nimzowitsch.

14…Qb6  15.Qe2 White retreats because exchanging only strengthens the pawn chain and eliminates the 3 pawn islands that existed. Gaining a tempo, Capa jumps at the chance to set the enemy Q-side pawns.

15…c4! High class!!! This move on first thought seems weak as the d4 square now becomes available for the pesky Knight and the d-pawn is backward which usually means trouble as such pawns can easily become targets. Capa recognizes that a Knight on d4 blocks the action against the pawn so a double edged strategy unfolds and the question becomes: “Who is right?”

16.Rfd1 White avoids e4 which seems to lead to a complete equality and probable draw that both want to avoid at this stage especially given the perceived pawn weakness. Probably 16.e4 dxe4 17.Nxe4 Rab8 18.Nxf6+ Bxf6 19.Qxc4 Qxb2 would lead to a draw.

16…Rfd8 17.Nd4  Bb4 Another example of Capablanca’s thoughts expressed in his CHESS FUNDAMENTALS about compound development where pieces strike into enemy territory.

18.b3  Rac8  19.bxc4  dxc4  20.Rc2  Bxc3  21.Rxc3  Nd5!  An excellent move as this Knight brings misery into White’s thoughts because Rxc4 is met by Nc3 winning the Exchange.

22.Rc2  c3  23.Rdc1  Rc5  24.Nb3  Rc6  25.Nd4  Rc7  26.Nb5  Rc5  27.Nxc3? Missing the point. Going back to d4 was necessary.

27..Nxc3  28.Rxc3  Rxc3  29.Rxc3  Qb2!!! White resigns. An incredible finish.

Lessons from this game:

1. It is important to have confidence in any opening you choose to play. Capa frequently adopted this system in his apprenticeship period especially because it led to a solid position with certain imbalance features so suttle that just tiny infractions would offer up what one might term “pressure chess”.

2.Tempo moves, exchange offerings and if you examine many of the positions from the point of my square count theory (sq/ct) the games of Capablanca and also those of Alekhine demonstrates that they utilized my concept even without giving such comment in their own annotations per se. It is also useful to performing a graph illustration of the ups and downs of the battle between minds.

3.The last part of this game shows a wonderful example of the use of squares as important contributions to victory…Qb2 placed the Queen where it could be captured but left the back rank exposed to a back row mate by the Rook. Oddly here both the Queen and Rook are unprotected and if the Queen moves to protect the Rook, then black simply captures the Rook with his Queen since the Queen cannot leave the lst rank because of mate!

Kindred’s Special: Batman and Robin or Zip,Zap, Bang,

July 18, 2008

Zip!! Zap!! Bang!! seems a good way to describe a terrific struggle I present below. Phil Dorsey asked me in October 1991to play a 6-game rated training match to prepare him for his entry into the Eastern Amateur. The games were played weekly, each game at a rate of 40/2 over several weeks with option to seal at move 40 or play to a finish. I managed to win the match 3.5-2.5, winning one game and drawing five.

The following game prompted Phil requesting the match. This was played shortly before in the club championship event.

          Don Reithel   (White)  2081        vs       Phil Dorsey   (Black)  2231

                      Let the Knights do a Tango or Four-way Fianchetto

1.Nf3

This Knight opening the game is common and popular. The purpose is to develop without commitment to any particular pawn formation until Black declares what type of defensive setup posture he wants to assume.

1…Nf6  2.g3  b6  3.Bg2  Bb7  4.0-0  g6  5.b3  Bg7  6.Bb2  0-0

Black’s intention to strike the central squares from a distance (bishops) is countered by White neutralizing the two diagonals with the same purpose in mind. The symetrical nature of the position with no noticeable targets makes for a short range plan. Black follows a similar view but has a cunning idea. I do not want to rush pawns into the center until I see just what Black has in mind so I decided to keep my own position compact similar to a modern day hedgehog type structure.

7.d3  Na6  8.e3  Nc5  9.Qe2

Black’s Knight sortie was new to me and frankly a bit puzzling as I could not understand its objective immediately.

9…a5  10.a3

Now, if 10…a4 11.b4 chases the Knight and builds up a Q-side spatial edge.

10…Ra7

A mysterious Nimzowitsch Rook move he was so famous for. His two excellent books MY SYSTEM and CHESS PRAXIS are classics of instruction as well as game collections of some of the great battles waged during his own era. Phil opines that his Rook will be effective along the 7th rank and plans to back up both Rook and Bishop with his Queen which is what I envisioned and does in fact transpire next.

11.Nbd2  Qa8  12.Rab1

Always look for pieces and pawns which are unprotected is a valuable axiom. When no apparent course is available, it is always wise to take time out to defend them. Black’s next move places a Rook opposite the opposing Queen (usually a sound and good idea) and hoping I will strive to grab more center when the Rook can become dangerous in countering any central pawn chain that develops.

13.Ne1  Bxg2  14.Nxg2  Nd5

The Knights continue to tango enticing me to start action in the center to expand my square count and hope that he will be able to create weaknesses in the pawn structure to wage war against.

15.d4

Chasing these pesky Knights but double edged as a pawn center now exists for Black to strike with a sharp counter blow.

15…Ne6  16.c4  Nf6  17.Qd3  d5  18.f3  c5  19.cxd5  Qxd5  20.e4  Qd8!

Black has realized his long term plan to weaken and then strike the center. It is difficult to tell at this point any success of his objective but I felt my center strong enough to withstand any pressure he can mount.

21.d5  Rd7  22.Qb5  Nc7  23.Qxb6  e6  24.Qxa5  Qe7 25.d6!  Rxd6  26.e5  Rd3 27.exf6  Bxf6  28.Bxf6  Qxf6  29.Qxc5  Rxd2  30.Qxc7  Qd4+  31.Kh1 Rd8

Black’s sharp counterplay vindicates his interesting plan. The bad position of the White King having no space to move lets Black regain the piece.

32.Qc4  Qa7!  33.Qc1  Qd7  34.Rb2  Rd1  35.Rxd1  Qxd1  36.Qxd1  Rxd1+ 37.Ne1  Rxe1+  38.Kg2  Ra1  39.a4  Kf8  40.Kf2  Ke7 41.Ke3  Kd6  42.Kd4  Rc1  43.f4  f6  44.b4  e5+  45.fxe5+  fxe5+  46.Kd3  Ra1 47.b5  Ra3+  48.Ke2  Kc7! 49.b6+ Kb7  50.Rb4  Ra2+ 51.Ke3  Rxh2 52.a5

White sealed this move.

52…Ra2  53.Rb5  Ra5  54.Rxe5 Ka6  55.Re7  Ra3+ 56.Kf4  Ra4+ 57.Kf3  Ra3+ 58.Kg2 Ra2+  59.Kh3  Rxa5 60.Rxh7 Kxb6  61.Rh6 Kc7  62.Rxg6 Kd7  63.Rf6 Ke7 64.Rf4  Ra8  65.Kg4  Rg8+ 66.Kf3  Rg5  67.Rb4  Kf6  68.Rb6+ Kg7 69.Kf4 Ra5  70.g4  Rc5  71.Kg3  Ra5  72.Kh4  Rc5 Draw 1/2-1/2.

Kindred’s Special: A Sunset Vintage Game

July 16, 2008

Toward the twilight of my chess career I had the opportunity to play in a round-robin style tournament, the 1992 All-Experts Championship held at the Rochester Chess Center. It was a one-game per week, 7-round schedule that allowed the field to know the opponent, the color and could prepare for each contest. The time limit was game in 2-hours so each game duration was preset at 4-hours total.

It was an unexpectedly good tournament for me as having a strong background in correspondence play as well as the slower time control was just about perfect for me to play my best. As a result I finished in lst place with a score of 4-wins, 3-draws, 0-losses = 5.5 – 1.5.

I present here the 6th round game with chess buddy Greg Halstead. Greg is considered one of the best blitz players in the area, was a high rated expert and was a team member of the Monroe Community College chess team that had won the USCF College Junior Championship.

In 1988 I had met Greg for the lst and only time to that date in tournament play. That game ended in a 49 move draw and I present the opening here because I introduced a novelty of sorts which I dreamed up at the board and was the result of using my “square count theory.”

1.d4  Nf6  2.c4  e6  3.Nf3  Bb4+  4.Bd2  a5!? I could not see a reason for not trying this as it appeared to me to fit ideally into my square count theory. Greg is a wise chap who is well versed in opening theory and I felt it was worth a try which gets away from the books if nothing else.

5.g3  b6  6.Bg2  Bb7 7.0-0  0-0  8.Nc3  Be7  9.Qc2  d5 with fair prospects for both players.

Now to the game from the 6th, next to last round of the All-Experts Championship.

          Greg Halsted    (White)         vs    Don Reithel  (Black)

                                  King’s Indian Defense

1.d4  Nf6  2.c4  g6  3.Nc3  Bg7  4.e4  d6  5.Nf3  0-0  6.Be2  e5  7.Be3  Nbd7

At the time, this system adopted by Greg was quite popular.

8.d5  Ng4  9.Bg5  f6  10.Bh4

A plausible alternative is 10.Bd2.

10..Nh6  11.Nd2  a5

In order to prepare to meet a Q-side pawn expansion and if possible have the c5 square for my Knight. My sequence is to increase my sq.ct.

12.a3  Nc5  13.b4  Na6  14.f3  Bd7  15.Rb1  axb4 16.axb4  c5! 17.Na2  cxb4 18.Nxb4  Nc5  19.Nd3  Na4  20.Rxb7 Nc3  21.Qc1  Nxe2  22.Kxe2  Qc8

From this post my Queen exerts maximum power along the c-file and diagonal c8-h3. White continues on his merry way of attacking the Q-side while my own forces begin a K-side charge inorder to get counterplay.

23.Qb2  g5 24.Bf2  f5  25.Rb1  g4  26.Ba7

White puts all his eggs in one basket.

26..gxf3  27.gxf3  fxe4  28.Nxe4  Nf5  29.Qb4  Rxa7!  30.Rxa7  Nd4+

The purpose of giving up the Exchange the previous move.  This Knight looks very nasty on d4. Each of us have flags rising and the hand on my clock is ever near the very top of the hour. It now becomes a case of blitz.

31.Kd1  Rxf3  32.Ne1  Rf1  33.Rba1  Bg4+  34.Kx1  Rxe1+  35.Qxe1  Bh6+ 36.Nd2  Qxc4+  37.Kb1  Qc2+  38.Ka3

Greg offered a draw here as both flags were hanging but black wins easily with Bxd2. I was shaking from the tremendous nervous tension which has always plagued me when the time clock plays a role. What was disheartening is the missed chance to win this game but this draw just about clinched my lst place. I won the last game in another wild one.

Partly the result of this game and tournament finish leaving my nerves totally in disarray, my doctor advised me to give up serious competition because of the stress.

There is no doubt that strong nerves are required to play competitive chess at the higher levels if one hopes to achieve their potential and realize results in the nature of a rating climb. That hill gets harder and harder. Well, I read that someplace. Someday I hope to do a “think” on this subject. If one who has a class A or expert rating competes in a tournament, the higher rated opponents certainly look to knock you off and those below you are also looking to knock you off. What I mean is that at that point of skill, the player A-Expert is faced with opponents who desire your head I think more so than any other classification.

Comments welcome!

Kindred’s Special: Checking Up New In Chess

July 8, 2008

An exciting contest titled “From Duras and Schlechter to Kramnik” was written up by David Navara, top Czech player. How it came about was the brainstorm and effort of organizer Pavel Matocha who wanted to celebrate this hundred anniversary event by inviting GM Kramnik to battle with Navara in a 25 min/10 sec per move added to the time control. The 8-game quick chess match was sponsored by the company CEZ, the largest Czech energy company. The rapid match of 8-games was played in Prague this year 2008.

Rating-wise Kramnik overpowered Navara 2788 to 2672 and the end result was to be expected 5.5-2.5 in the Russian’s favor and recipient of the 2008 CEZ Chess Trophy. To David’s credit, he praised the play of Kramnik and gave a personal look at how a player rated below thinks about when meeting such talent and his own feelings about the result. This is often seen today by writers who give a deep and interesting appraisal of such match play compared to the often seen 3rd person reviews.

The event included in addition to the rapid match the Prague Chess Society also organized a wonderful exhibition of chess cartoons and a series of lectures: GM Kavalek spoke about Bobby Fischer; GM Hort about Karel Opocensky; and GM Babula lectured about his best games.

As usual it takes the energies of a dedicated organizer like Pavel Matocha to stir the blood and spirit of chess enthusiasts and plans now to hold a match between chess legends and young women players in Carlsbad, the famous spa and chess city in the west of Bohemia.

Another topic of great reporting was presented by Peter Doggers who as the manager of the official website, enlightened readers with his experiences with the headline: Grand Prix Set Off In Baku. This event was followed on WCL as well other places.

The startup of Global Chess got off to a rather shaky start as the top four invitees: Anand, Kramnik and Topalov argued that it was not possible to fit into their schedule commitments this event, and Morozevich said the whole world championship cycle envisioned by Global Chess was flawed and was critical of Global Chess asking him to sign a contract when the exact details of the proposed series were not known.

Failure to obtain these four super stars however did not take much from the Baku event as the youngster, Magnus Carlsen, found himself in the #1 position at the start of the tournament. He did not fail to hold up his status as he emerged with two others in a three-way tie where the $72,000 euro check was a NIC photo! showing Wang Yue, Vugar Gashimov and Magnus Carlsen each holding the huge display check.

If you want the meat of the whole article, then you will have to subscribe or see if you can borrow a copy from an owner! Both of the above appear in the April issue listed as 2008/4. Although pricey, if you like chess, then the cost is worth at least one-year’s subscription price. The question might be asked whether you will get more from paying a hefty fee to a chess coach or getting over 100 pages of great chess coverage–news, photos, games, and great commentary often by the players themselves.

Kindred’s Kaleidoscope: Bravo for President George W. Bush!!

July 7, 2008

A big question on TV this morning was whether President Bush should attend the Olympics. Should he? Should he refuse? The mixture of call-in opinions varied like the difference between oranges and apples.

God, have mercy on my soul! It is hard to believe that such negatism exists in our America. Thankfully, we have a President who understands his role in the world politic. Kudos for Bush making the right decision to attend!

There are a number of reasons why he should. First, he represents better than any other American leader, the nation and its obligations to support the international Olympics. Our American team deserves that support. It would be most disheartening if their President refused to attend and support the Chinese hospitality and great effort to hold this wonderful sporting event. Our international sporting relationship among the world body of nations would be viewed as using the Olympics as a political tool. While some nations view it and misuse it as such, there is little reason for the USA to follow suit.

There are better ways for nations to express their emotions about any communist State; the Chinese communist regime is the primary example of such a hidious life endured by the human spirit. The communist system is and has always been corrupt and unworkable without using threats, systematic raping of whole populations’ sense of freedom and individual liberties in the pursuit of self, family, and nation. The State is the FATHER and the distribution of where people live, how they work, and whether your home will become a shared place with others has a history of its own always with an undercurrent of living with fear of being reported for anti-social norms observed within the communist system even by so called neighbors and friends. The term used of course is “reeducation and reinductrination.”

While we can sit on the sidelines and view any socialist system (all tend to fail no matter what they are called) and even in our own nation we have social elitists who view our own system based upon capitalist enterprise and freedom to work, worship, etc. as we please within the rules of law to be the enemy of international togetherness that breeds on stagnation to be legit.

There is a world hatred by such socialists for America. But think of what America has given the world in its short history. Invention, world crisis assistance, improving our own governance of the Earth resources, some of which is a result of our own Native American contributions and wisdom passed down to us, of supporting organizations like Human Rights Watch, the International Red Cross as well as our own American Red Cross and other agencies to improve the fabric of our lives. Our efforts to make the League of Nations and later the United Nations bodies where nations could meet, plan, discuss work to the benefit of all has met with vindictive and hateful rhetoric and attacks of the United States. The question is never quite asked: Who voices such vindictiveness toward the one nation in the world who has done more for the betterment of all? Dictators, corrupt world leaders within governments and those who simply dispise us because of our industrious nature as a people.

Yes, you may say that I am a bit pissed off by the constant barriage of attacks but I still believe that the peoples of the world who have witnessed and experienced the help and support of Americans express the deep appreciation, respect and a love for America. That, no dictator or social system by governments can erase. The human spirit will never be crushed and stamped out of existence.

I feel sad for our President Bush, his wife Laura and children as well his parents and family loved ones who have to witness the bitterness, lies and deceit of a very vocal minority who have tried to convince Americans that our President should be impeached. It is even more sad to see a Democrat Congress lead in bantering such tripe.

Kindred’s Farewell Address

July 1, 2008

Often times I wonder why I take such stock in chess that 61 years of experience, enjoyment of historical research, of humorous tidbits, and really consuming a life long interest in the decades that marked various periods of the rise and fall of so many chess stars, some due to death, others to a waning interest or skill, of friends and associates who always provided the joy of a hard fought chess battle, of support positions and leadership roles purely to further the opportunities and development of a better chess community for America. In this, I started my blog devoted to chess or having chess as a basis for looking at the world we live in with the hope that chess kids and adults alike would enjoy my lessons and commentary on the passing scenes through time including current and future life experiences– all from KindredSpirit’s having been there, witnessed or delved deeply to ascertain the differences seen in fact, fallacy, and folly of a colorful history.

At age 70 and due to my deceased doctor’s warning (yes, I outlived him) to drastically curtail my own chess adventures over-the-board due to my nerves unable to take the faster time controls, it had seemed logical to me to pass on my experiences, such as they are, using the tools of the internet that caused me to start this blog on wordpress partly in a desire to continue the columns that I wrote for Chess Live and mainly for the consolidated World Chess Live members and chess enthusiasts round the world.

Being insulted on the WCL club by even a few who feel my credentials for instruction due to my low rating has finally convinced me to say adios. Just for the record, my low ratings are due mainly to playing games with members intended to give them practice and apply various levels of skill from making weak moves inorder that they may develop their prowess and attacking technique. It has always been my way of building confidence and interest in chess. No better way to kill interest than to tell some youngster to give up chess because he or she stinks at the game.

I have no interest in chess ratings. I know most believe the rating is next to holiness but I have only had one interest throughout my chess life regarding ratings. The purpose of the rating system for me was to provide good tournaments and afford the tournament director a fair and equitable means to pair players. A rating is a numerical means to establish the relative playing success and skill among the group as a whole. But I would never accuse someone that his or her rating has anything to do with ability and talent.

When I was a Chess Advisor on the CL, BOTM matches with other CAs and our commentary given during the match along with my own skill level proven to be high expert requires no comment to such ignorant folks who hurt me so. Thank you idiots.