Archive for April, 2009

KindredSpirit’s Kaleidosope: Ruy Lopez – Marshall Variation …Nd-f6 visited

April 30, 2009

The Marshall counterattack line in the Ruy Lopez has a good reputation among those who look to challenge The Spanish Torture. Capablanca-Marshall is the most famous game being the first time Marshall employed it as a surprise weapon in his match with Capablanca. Marshall corrected his original plan of retreating the Knight from d5 to f6 with a clear improvement with simply defending the Knight on d5 with c6. Later analysis by cc players show that the move …Bb7 is also playable.

In 1983 Westerinen decided to use this earliest idea against Hanson at Esbjerg. After 1.e4 e5  2.Nf3  Nc6  3.Bb5 a6  4.Ba4  Nf6  5.O-O  Be7  6.Re1  b5  7.Bb3  O-O  8.c3  d5.

There are a number of ways for White to continue in this opening. For one thing he can throw a monkeywrench into Black’s plan by using one of the anti-Marshall lines 8.a4, 8.d4, 8.h3. White by playing 8.c3 is telling Black he has no fear of going up against the Marshall Counterattack.

9.exd5  Nxd5  10.Nxe5  Ncxe5  11.Rxe5  Nf6.

This was the move FM played against the Cuban who brilliantly defended the attack and emerged with a winning game.

12.d4  Bd6  13.Re1  Ng4  14.h3  Qh4  15.Qf3.

Why doesn’t White play 15.hxg4? It wins a piece. The answer is that Black then attacks with 15…Qh2+ (the Bishop-Queen attack on h2). Forced is 16.Kf1 and Qh1+ 17.Ke2 Bg4+ is a killer.

15…Nxf2  16.Bd2!

Now if, 16.Qxf2 Bh2+ 17.Kf1  Bg3  18.Qe2  Bxh3 19.gxh3  Rae8. One interesting shocker exists here, too. Were Black to play instead 16…Bg3??, 17.Qxf7+! is pretty!

16…Bb7  17.Qxb7!

No good would be 17.Qxf2  Bh2+ 18.Kf1  Bg3  19.Qg1  Rae8  20.Re3  Re6  21.Bxe6  fxe_  22.Ke2  Rf2+ 25.Kd1 Bxg2, or; 21.d5 instead of the Bishop capture at e6…Rf6+ 22.Rf3  Rxf3+  2.gxf Re8!

17…Nd3  18.Re2  Qg3  19.Kf1  Nf4.

Is 19….Qh2 an alternative worth considering? Again, the answer is NO! because of 20.g4!

After treading his way through the maze of complications in meeting Black’s onslaught attempt, White fails to find the best idea and in one move vindicates Black’s decision to try this system abandoned for such a long time.  Correct now is probably 20.Rf2! and Black seems to come up a little short. The time clock may have taken its toll as so often happens to the player who is put on the defensive for most of the game.

20.Bxf4??  Qxf4+  21.Qf3  Qc1+ 22.Kf2  Bh2!  23.Re1.

This stops the …Qg1 mate threat.


White resigns here as his position is hopeless.

Perhaps the alternatives to Re1 are 23.Qd3 where Qg1+ 24.Kf3 Qf1+ is decisive, or; 23.Qf5  g6  24.Qc2 Hoping to exchange Queens is simply met by …Qf4+ 25.Ke1 Bg3+ 26.Kd1 Rae8.

This counterattack variation of the Marshall is interesting and might be tried against opponents who like to attack themselves or more likely are lower rated or have a dislike for defensive play or have boned up on modern oft played systems.


Here is a little fun for you to tickle your ribs!!

1.e4  e5 2.Nf3  Nc6  3.Bb5  a6  4.Ba4  Nf6  5.O-O  Nxe4  6.d4  b5  7.Bb3  d5  8.dxe5  Be6  9.Nbd2  Bg4.

This game is the Open Defense against the Ruy Lopez. Better would be either 9…Nxd2 or 9…Nc5 would be better replies.

10.Nxe4  dxe4 11.Bd5  Nxe5.

Having miscalculated his visualized plan, he makes a decisive error, giving White the opportunity to create a gem. The theme of the attack goes back to the days of Morphy and earlier.

12.Nxe5!!  Bxd1  13.Bxf7+ Ke7 14.Bg5+ Kd6 15.Raxd1+ Kxe5  16.Bxd8.

A disheartened Black gave up the ship at this point.

Kindred’s Kaleidoscope: Chess Minatures Galore

April 28, 2009

Fighting chess comes in many guises with normal opening patterns that suddenly explode due to ever-so-slight a miscue. Lets begin with some action of the Ruy Lopez systems.

1.e4  e5  2.Nf3  Nc6  3.Bb5  Nf6  4.O-O  Bc5  5.Nxe5

One of the main variations of the Berlin Defense and less explored than the more usual 4…Nxe4 variation which is another story.  Even so, this is very tricky and White must be aware of all the nuiances as he can easily go astray very quickly. Common now is 5…Nxe5 6.d4  a6 7.Ba4  Nxe4  8,Qe2  Be7  9.Qxe4  Ng6 10.c4 O-O11.Nc3 d6  12.Nd5 with a freer position (de Firmian/Fishbein, NYC, 1989).

5….Nxe4  6.Nxf7  Kxf7  7.Qh5+ g6  8.Qd5+ Kg7  9.Bxc6 Re8

Forced but strong!! defending the Knight and developing on the open e-file with sq/ct jumping as the Rook threatens to dig deep into the White position.

10.Ba4  c6  13.Qd3 Qh4 12.g3  Qh3

Black has forced weaknesses in the King’s camp and White pieces are scattered with no plan available to rout Black’s pieces.

13.b4  Nxf2

Here is a perfect example of the f2 inherent weakness coming home to roost. The illusion is that White has the Black King exposed as well.

14.Qc3+ Kg8  15.Qxc5  Ng4  16.Bb3+ d5! 17.Bxd5+ Be6

White was hoping for …cxd5 18.Qxd5+ Be6  19.Qg2.

18.Rf8+ Kg7  19.Bb2+  Kh6  20.Rxe8  Rxe8  21.Bf3  Qxh2+  22.Kf1  Qxg3  23.Bxg4  Bc4+  24.d3  Re1 mate  (Kusnesow/Spasski).


Another path followed by White that Black must be prepared for is the Exchange variation that goes after 1.e4  e5  2.Nf3  Nc6  3.Bb5  a6 where the most common followup is 4.Ba4 giving Black a host of defensive setups to adopt. White can avoid this be directing the play into the Exchange Variation 4.Bxc6 which Fischer made popular with some nice wins with it. However, since then Black has managed to discover some ideas to give good play for the compromised pawn structure.

4…dxc6  5.O-O  f6  6.d4  exd4  7.Nxd4  c5  8.Nb3  Qxd1  9.Rxd1  Bd7

A good alternative and maybe a little more accurate is 9. Interesting is a plan based upon my sq/ct theory making immediate aggressive moves into pressuring the enemy squares. 10.Bf4 O-O-O 11.Nc3 Be6 12.Rxd8+ Kxd8 13.Rd1+ Kc8 14.Nd5.

10.a4  b6  11.Nc3  O-O-O  12.Bf4  Ne7  13.a5!  c4

Too slow. Black needs to play 13…Kb7 to add protection of the pawn structure.

14.axb6  cxb3?

Probably 14…cxb6 15.Rxa6  Kb7  16.Rda1 Nc8! best 17.Nd4.

15.bxc7  Re8  16.Rxa6  Bc6  17.Nb5  bxc2  18.Nd6+ Kxc7   19.Ra7+ Kb8  20.Nb5+ Kc8  21.Rc7+ Kb8  22.Rxe7+ Kc8 23.Na7 mate. (Petrow/Schtschetinin).

More to come. End of Part I.


KindredSpirit’s Kaleidoscope: Am I Grieving With Pain Over a Love Lost?

April 20, 2009

Yesterday I died. I have been invited to leave World Chess Live (WCL) by Carla, administrative head assistant. Apparently when WCN and CL merged, becoming WCL, CL club members found themselves shortchanged by the powers that be. Arclight who headed the CL asked me to continue my column for WCL members so I set up my blog as a means to reach prospective readers of both a public audience as well as serve WCL members with my now 65 years chess experience and historical pursuit. The column had been well received in CL so it was assumed apparently wrongly that WCL leaders emerging would feel likewise. Not so.

Many know little or nothing about chess before the Fischer Boom and so it seemed logical to fill that void for the two groups mentioned herein and bring some new blood into the chess circle. I was flatly told that announcing my blog address in chat rooms was a form of advertising. Not so; while I agreed to stop doing so I also unsuccessfully attempted to get such a viewpoint changed but to no avail. Like USCF, it will remain in a box where chess is limited to those who play in the club. One need only look at the seemingly stagnation of the socialistic run USCF to see the same type of reasoning that the Fischer Boom climaxed the drive for building  adult support while expanding scholastic. The results show that membership has dropped. I am not sure interest has dropped.

One of my favorite poets, Helen Steiner Rice, wrote The Legend of the Raindrop.  I shall not quote it here but remember  the ending that goes: FOR THERE IS NOTHING EVER LOST OR ETERNALLY NEGLECTED–EVERYTHING GOD EVER MADE IS ALWAYS RESURRECTED.

There are those in the world of chess who are either atheists or agnostics and hate religion and terms that refer to the various names for God, Lord, Jesus in any reference or as imappropriate for children and discussion boards. Dictates like that add to a hate-love relationship among folks. With such moral decay in American life no matter how confined to current events, value of life is ever dwindling.  Witness aborton on demand, murder, child abuse, spousal abuse, kinky-lifestyles.


Kindred’s Special: A Chessman’s Look at the World of Politics

April 18, 2009

Every politician should have some knowledge of chessplay because the world stage is a huge chessboard having many squares with like and unlike opinions, beliefs, governance structure, and quacks in the background who attempt and often do succeed in polluting the AIR not only what we breathe but the smell from corruptly hidden manure they forever shovel on our gravesites, our yards, our integrity and honor as American citizens.

Oh for the days gone by of the likes of Will Rogers whose poignant commentary delivered with a humor that said it all–what indeed would he say about the pogrom taking place in some nations today?

Like Will Rogers, I am mostly self-educated recognizing early in life partly due to my mom that it was vital to master a bit of the national language where words mean and convey truisms. There are plenty of false prophets, ‘political-ism deceivers’,and governance by leaders that make me want to PUKE by their deceit and actions. Liars give themselves away but too many in America today are like sheep to exist on false hopes and misunderstood ideologies that appear to bring positive change but in reality endanger our families, our communities and most of all our Nation to whims of a tiny group out of Washington, D.C.

THE WIT & WISDOM OF WILL ROGERS, edited by Bryan Sterling, is perhaps as much or more relevant today as yesterdays past. His commentary and humor about the governance of our Nation is well worth reading this American passing scene of the 20th Century. I highly recommend it to my chess students and all students and readers of my columns.

Thomas Edison said that DISCONTENT is the spearhead of progress but such must be understood in the context of what he meant. For the very essence of that term make one recognize that it can either give us incentive, wisdom, and tech know-how to move forward and help fill the many empty squares I talked about above in my opening remarks or be pushed to the backburners of history.

Earlier I dedicated a column to GLOBAL WARNING. I stated that it was my belief that we were more likely headed for a “Mini-Ice-Age” than a warming of our world. There are a number of factors that gave me the desire to study global conditions and what affects such changes as miniscue as they always are. I was harshly criticized by those who advocate the goodness and wisdom of one I consider ignorant on such a topic because former Senator and Vice President Al Gore used scientists who would benefit from such environmental quackery and for himself personally.  Since then, Nobel Prize winner Al Gore received notice from the British to strip him of it for his half-baked ideas.  And as I said, “FOLLOW THE MONEY” and the truth will make you FREE.  Certainly my warnings and commentary are proving more right since I read that California is experiencing a cooling down period and Colorado just had a 3-foot snowfall as did the Dakotas a short time ago with a general freeze all across middle America and down into Florida. For my readers, I suggest you think about preparing for a 4-5 year time-frame for some major changes in world conditions.

AMERICA!! WAKE UP!! We need to set aside worries about what happened at 3-mile Island and start revving up our nation energy with nuclear, clean coal technology, thermo, gas and oil drilling, and yes, even those ugly eyesore windmills that kill birdlife, work only when the wind blows, and again is a profit motive for environmentalists who have cried wolf for so long and been on pot for so long that we have made America a nation of educated fools, dopeheads that emerged from a defunct educational system that failed teachers, parents and students in too many regions.  That I find myself thinking that just maybe there was more truth from the mouth of former Senator Joe McCarthy about subversives in American government railed at by the so-called NATIONAL MEDIA who today seem far to the left and political thought and spiteful of the Conservative views expressed by a large segment of the population and political thought. That they deceitfully try to quiet such voices brings to mind a similar time in the 1920s-30s when the likes of Adolph Hitler and Mussolini and the Japan empire were hailed by both politicos and news media as “wunderbar”!! all except for the likes of folks like Will Rogers who saw “APPEASEMENT” as a false doctrine.

Today, our wonderful President travels the world badmouthing our Nation, visited the muslims instead of our honored dead that fell in the great undertaking of gaining a foothold in France and then marching on to Germany and freeing most of Europe from the national socialist German fascists and Mussolini’s Italian playbook.

To me, what could have been a great leader has turned into a hack of socialist Pelosian demagoguery.  His appointments, associates and agenda speak volumes of his shortcomings. In some ways, I suppose, one can point to our national heritage as great while at the same time exposing a great deal of hipocracy for its abhorant dealings with the various Indian tribes and broken treaties. Today we witness the broken “treaty” with Mexico at the hands of socialist America in the guise of American Labor Movement’s ‘realpolitiks concerning the trucking of goods.

Dr. Michael Savage’s longtime motto: Borders, Culture, Language seem to say it all in the shortest possible way. This brilliant and educated man with multi-PhDs and expert on nutrition is often suffered the media’s and competitive voices on radio malignation of his being. While abrasive at times and outspoken, he nonetheless hammers more often than not the nails in the political coffins that exist in both Houses of Congress and Executive Branch and Supreme Court.  It is vital that we as chessplayers recognize that the many squares that adorn the world stage requires of us both individual and joint awareness of the passing scene that makes up our lives, fortunes and most important our principles.

We must never abandon the descipline, innovative drive of the free competitive marketplace where ideas and the advancement of mankind rests.

Kindred’s Special: Sample of Square Count/ The Killing Fields

April 6, 2009

Lets take a look at square-count applied and instances where the numerical difference is deceptive due to position of the forces and pawn structure. The main question is whether my system is flawed. It is a legitimate question and hopefully this game will illustrate when the count bears out weaknesses in the concept. Still, the illustration here shows that the culprit lies in the misplaced pieces, tie-up forces due to blocked pawn chains rather than a blame on the dependability of the system itself.

White: Korolev    Black: Zhivodov      Opening: French Defense

1.e4  e6 2.d4  d5  3.Nd2  Nf6  4.e5  Nfd7

For an example of 4…Ne4, see my game vs Mark Rosebloom in a prior column. Sq/Ct 6/3.

5.f4  c5  6.c3  Nc6  7.Ndf3  a6

Not mentioned in ECO. It represents a defensive sq/ct of keeping out an enemy unit from b5.

8.Bd3  c4  9.Bc2  b5  10.g4  Nb6  11.Ne2  g6  12.Ng3  Kd7

Black decides to bike over to the Q-side with his King for safety.

13.O-O  Kc7

White now visualizes jump moves like Ng5>Qf3>Nh3>f5. Sq/Ct 10/10.

14.Ng5  Qe8  15.Qf3  h6  16.Nh3  a5  17.f5  g5

Sq/Ct 10/12. Now it seems to me that white needed to maintain the pawn tension and complete bringing more forces into preparation for attack. Again, visualize jump moves Be3>Rae1.


While increasing sq/ct, closing the file with the idea of cramping the black forces releases the tension and chance to open lines into the enemy position at some point.

18…b4  19.Nh5  a4  20.Ng7  Qd7  21.a3  bxa3  22.bxa3  Na5  23.Ra2  Nb3  24.Be3  Bb7

The blocking pawn chains and here the Sq/Ct of 17/9 begins to show the deceptiveness of using count for the purpose of “who has the advantage?” Even so, it requires aggressive counterplay to restore the balance and the position begins to illustrate that misplaced pieces merit considerable sway in determining the Sq/Ct effectiveness. The white Knights are far astray out of the main attack for the moment and the Rook is restricted in mobility. Black has room on the Q-side to infiltrate effectively because of this. Now both sides endeavor to improve the positions of their Knights.

25.Nf2  Nc8  26.Qh3  Na7  27.Bxg5  Bxa3  28.Rxa3  hxg5  29.Qe3  Nb5  30.Ra2  Qc6  31.Nh3  Qb6  32.Bd1  Nc1  33.Rc2  Nd3  34.Nxg5  a3  35.Nxf7  a2  36.Rxa2  Rxa2  37.Nxh8

White is up material but those pesky Knights are seen far afield.

37…Nxc3  38.f7  Qb2!

The only move.  After, 38…Nxd1 39.f8(Q)  Nxe3  40.Rf7+ Kc6  41.Qe8 checkmate.

39.Nxe6+ Kb6  40.Qh3  Nxd1  41.f8(Q) Ne3 42.Re1  Nf5  43.Rf1  Nxd4

Despite the Sq/Ct difference, the importance of piece and pawn placement play a dominate role in the battle.

44.Nxd4  Qxd4+  45.Kh1  Qb2

Threatening the Bishop entry with …d4+.

46.Qb8  Nf2+  47.rxf2  Qxf2  48.Qh6+ Ka5  49.Qc7+ Ka4  50.Qd7+ Ka5  Draw  (1/2-1/2).

This game should be studied in conjunction with the review of my Sq/Ct theory in the previous column.

KindredSpirit’s Kaleidoscope: All About Square Count

April 4, 2009

What is ‘square-count’ has been asked often enough to necessitate a fuller explanation than often given in notes and lectures. Basically it was the result of an English HS assignment to write on a topic of one’s choice. Originally it was to create a means of mapping a chess game using bar graphs every 5-10 moves of the ups and downs of the battle in progress.  Interest was openings, tactical sacrifices, utilizing imbalances for both strategic and tactical motifs. The most important feature of warfare is terrain and territory symbolically in chess is represented by the 64-square alternating light and dark squares that make up the chessboard. I knew geometrically it could be broken down in a number of smaller squares or rectangles and the midline separated the two armies each having a rectangular equality of 32 squares what I termed the home fields and those in the opposing side was enemy territory.  When I learned about graphs, I knew I found the missing link to create an effective mapping of the battle. Only the idea of how to do this and with a consistent and unchangeable method, so the process would not be tainted, needed careful thought.

Squares on the board were the key. Terrain in warfare is important so why not the squares that represent the battlefield in chess?  It made no sense to count squares in one’s own territorial camp so I decided that only the squares in the enemy position could be counted to establish at any time the numerical count for each side.  I recognized immediately that such a count would determine a spatial influence by forces sometimes deep in enemy territory. By adding up all the squares attacked by units for both sides, I could graph the battle.  Was it possible that these great players unknowingly sensed position essentials and caused them to consider every piece or pawn that could move and did so no matter how silly such a move might look on the surface? My own motif is to let no possible move go unobserved for either side in tactics or strategic planning. Square-count defensively could be applied to squares needing protection or overprotection in one’s own camp.

Important to me was keeping it simple and clear. Only units actually attacking squares in the enemy field were counted. Count for double Rooks on a file was limited to the head Rook despite being backed up by it’s partner or maybe the Queen. However, if the head Rook penetrated deep into the enemy camp, the back Rook and or Queen square-count would be added and the same if along ranks.  In the case of the Queen, any diagonal influence into the enemy position would also be counted. From a careful study of games by the great masters Morphy, Alekhine, Capablanca and Rubinstein, I wondered at the skill and almost instant recognition of what to do in critical positions–sometimes almost effortlessly with deep insight.  Books like My System, The Game of Chess, Chess Fundamentals, Ideas Behind the Chess Openings, and much later, Point Count Chess talked about the elements that included pawn structure, open files, outposts, open and semi-open or closed positions.

Are certain squares more important?  Of course!! The idea of square-count does not replace book instruction concerning open files, outposts, pawn structure, relative value of units, the center, Q-side, central, or K-side files, King safety or focal point of an attack. It aids a player to be mindful to examine every piece and pawn and their respective roles in a given position. Position play especially dominates the need to reassess conditions of the battle. Square-count assists in finding a key play or unit to move perhaps not previously considered.

There is no magical formula for its use. The important thing is it helps to bring awareness of the forces at hand for both sides, how to place them so they are more effective in advancing a plan and with some luck discover a key move needed either in attack or defense. In most cases increasing square-count is a step forward (given all things equal) for improving a position or carrying out operations with the object to win or improve prospects when you find yourself wishing you sat in your opponent’s chair.

Generally square-count is ideal for correspondence play. When time controls are 40/2, 50/2, or G/60 using the concept shrinks with the time alloted for a game. Still, with practice one should be able to estimate the count for each side and limit it to space and time factors. Train yourself to look at every practical move taking into account the influence of a move on squares especially in your opponent’s territory or where defense of your own squares are needed.

Historically speaking, whenever I studied a new chess book promising the moon, I found myself losing games trying to apply what I learned. Some books are better than others. Some valuable lessons are learned by pursuit of the unknown or putting a dream to a practical end. Maybe it takes time to digest and place in proper order lessons learned. Chess requires critical thinking, trust in self, perseverance, and stubbornness that aids in finding your level on the rating ladder. There is no shortcut to mastership but it does start with a sense of dedication to achieve one’s best.

A competitive spirit helps make life interesting!