Kindred’s Special: The Fighting Scotch or Two Knights Defense

Digging through my files I found a very sharp and interesting chess battle of many years past. So lets return to yesteryear and don our pieces on their squares and prepare to experience what I am sure the actual participants felt during play. A good idea is to guess the move or plan and then uncover the actual move played using a small file card with a small rectangle cutout on the upper left and then slide the card along the line as you choose and verify the actual move chosen by the players.  You will not need an icy cold drink to stay awake and alert in this one!

1.e4  e5  2.Nf3  Nc3  3.d4  exd4  4.Bc4  Nf6  5.e5

A try like 5…Ng4 6.Bxf7+!  Kxf7 7.Ng5+ Kg8 8.Qf3 is tactical.

5…d5  6.Bb5  Ne4  7.Nxd4  Bc5

How should White handle this position? Two moves suggest themselves.  Do you see them?   First, 8.Nxc6  Bxf2+ 9.Kf1  Qh4  10.Nd4disch  c6  11.Nf3  Ng3+  12.Kxf2  Ne5++  13.Ke2  Qf2+  14.Kd3  Bf5 is a good example of play against the inherent weak f2 square. Second, develop a piece while protecting the Knight by 8.Be3 that is our main line. Of course Black breaks the pin.

8.Be3 Bd7 9.Bxc6  bxc6  10.O-O  Bb6

This logical looking move prepares for a c-pawn advance but worth considering was 10…Qe7, developing and connecting the Rooks. Such cases might be a matter of taste or style how positions are handled.  Such openings as this, where the center can suddenly be forced open and dreaming up a King hunt becomes reality makes it very attractive to the amateur player.

11.Nd2  Nxd2  12.Qxd2  O-O

Again, two ideas appear, one positional and the other sharp and aggressive. Now, 13.Nb3!  Re8  14.Qc3  Qe7  15.f4  f6  16.Bc5  fxe5   17.fxe5 .  Here, 17…Qxe5? gets shocked by 18.Rf8+! with a bind on the dark squares and clear advantage in the endgame to come is the positional approach. The aggressive 13.Bg5 is the main line followed.

13.Bg5  Qe8

Not so hot is 13…f6  14.exf6  gxf6  with jump moves of 15.Bh6 and 16.Rfe1 where the Black monarch defensive position is weakened.

14.Rfe1

A perfect example of the value of my square count theory shows itself here.  By exchanging Knight on d4, square count would increase by 14…Bxd4  15.Qxd4  Bf5 with probably equal chances.

14…c5

Hoping to drive the Knight from d4. However, White need not move the Knight and can strike the King position.

15.Bf6! h6 (to stop Qg5) 16.Re3  Kh7  17.Qd3  g6!! an improvement over Haag/Varnus that saw 17…Kh8 18.Rh3  Bxh3  19.Qxh3 Kh7  20.Bxg7! and I leave the concluding moves for you to figure out.

18.Nf3  c4

Black follows the motif of counterattack in the center when faced with a Kingside assault.

19.Ng5+ Kg8  20.Rh3!?

Perhaps best here is 20.Qd2 only because the text contains a flaw.

20…Bxh3  21.Qxh3  h5  22.Re1  Qc8

Who could say this was the best move for Black and seems so logical to inhibit White’s ambitious nature.  The move later found is 22…Bc5, 23.e6  fxe6  24.Rxe6  Rxf6!  25.Rxe8+  Rxe8.  Again, with the t/c ticking off the seconds and minutes, it is easy to miss such a chance. For the reader and viewer the subsequent play is sparkling.

23.e6  fxe6

On 23…Bc5, White has the dominant 24.Qf3.

24.Rxe6  Re8

Not, 24…Rxf6  25.Rxf6 Qxh3  26.Rxg6+ with a winning ending.

25.Be7  Rxe7  26.Rxg6+  Rg7  27.Qxh5  Bxf2+  28.Kh1!  Bd4  29.Qh7+ Kf8  30.Qh8+  Ke7  31.Rxg7+ Bxg7  32.Qxg7+ Kd6

The rest of the game I leave for your own study.

33.Qf6+  Kc5  34.Ne6+  Kd6  35.Nf4+  Kc5  36.Qe7+  Kc6  37.Ne6  Rb8  38.Qc5+ Kd7 39.Qxd5+ Ke7  40.Ng5  Qg8 41.Qe5+ Kd7  42.h4  Rb6  43.h5  Rd6  44.Ne4  Rd1+ 45.Kh2  Kc8  46.Qf5+ Kd8  47.h6 Rd5 48.h7  Resigns (1-0).

Such games attract the amateur like nothing else can. Actually I can point to the development of high-tech computer chess programs as a good means to develop skill. In the final analysis however it is the creative human mind, having imagination let loose within governed rules of play that chess is valuable to the spirit. Such opportunity for artistic creativity and unleashing the imagination further lifetime experience in conflict challenges.

How to better your chess?  Aside from the obvious, it is very good to live life in moderation regarding diet, good posture, and learning to read music and play an instrument that both enriches and promotes  good health. The more one can develop personality and find joy in learning and applying those things that interest you and develop good character are assets to making life worth living.

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