Archive for May, 2009

Kindred’s Special: Reevaluation

May 23, 2009

In chess it is often necessary to reevaluate your study habits, diet, sleep requirements, opening selections and finding the right level of exercise to keep your game in top form.  This is true of politics, too.

President Obama perhaps would make a good chessplayer.  Recent decisions about security, revamping the auto industry through encouragement of the three major manufacturers to set a clear path to providing our national needs for quality vehicles is good if he is not misleading us once more?!! It seems to me there is still time to reevaluate what makes good campaigning to get votes and the reality of sitting (if he ever takes time to sit) in the oval office where he is burdened with making life and death decisions  and finding a way out of our financial straights.  What makes our country great is the ability of our branches of government to voice concerns and here “talk radio” and “internet blogs” help to lessen over zeal and waste.

Often the very old French Defense is browbeaten by some who evaluate it as inferior due to the dagger at the throat of the defense in the guise of the “bad queen bishop”. Yet, Fischer found it rather difficult to play against French advocates.

Correspondence players seem more friendly than most to its practice and recognition to its potential deadly nature.  John C. Knudsen playing against Heikki Arppi of Finland in the David Lodge Memorial Email tourney. So set up your pawns and pieces and see for yourself the arsonic nature of such a pest.

       French Defense/Winawer var. C-18

         White: Arppi       vs.   Black: Knudsen

1.e4  e6  2.d4  d5  3.Nc3  Bb4 4.e5  c5 5.a3  Bxc3+  6.bxc3  Ne7  7.Qg4  Qc7  8.Qxg7  Rg8  9.Qxh7  cxd4  10.Ne2  Nbc6   11.f4  Bd7  12.Qd3  dxc3  13.Qxc3  Nf5  14.Rb1  O-O-O  15.Rg1  d4  16.Qd3  f6  17.g4  Nh4  18.exf6  e5.

The imbalance created in the French has an attraction to French players.  Such complicated positions help enrich the tactics of chess.

19.Bh3

Other moves tried in this position are 19.f7 or 19.h3.

19…Rge8  20.Qg3  d3  21.f7  Re7  22.cxd3  Nd4  23.Kf1? Nxe2!.

Arppi -Kotka went 23…exf4? 24.Qxh4  Rxe2  25.Rg2 f3  26.Rf2  Rf8 27.Be3! Nc2! 28.Bxa8  Rxf7  29.Qh8+ Re8

 30.Qb2  Re2  31.Rc1  Rfe7 32.Kg1  Rxf2  33.Bxf2  Re2  34.Bf1  Ba4  35.Bxe2  fxe2  36.Qh8+ (1-0).

24.Qxh4  Bb5!

This brilliant play was discovered by Richard Hall.  How ironic to see this so-called “bad queen bishop” come alive with such venom!

25.g5 discovered check Kb8 26.Bf5  Rxf7  27.Be4  Nxf4  28.Bxf4 Bxd3+!

This in-between-move forces the game closer to the end.

29.Bxd3  Rxf4+ 30.Qxf4  exf4  31.Ba6  Qc2! 32.Rxb7+ Ka8  33.Re7  Rd1+  34.Re1  Rxe1+ 35.Kxe1  Qb1+ 36.Kf2 

Qb6+ 37.Kg2  f3+  (0-1).

Chess history teaches us that no one game result will be the final word in nailing the coffin shut for good.  So, too, in our political world, those who provide governance are prone to make good moves and may follow-up with some decision blunders.

Chess is a reflection of life and life is likened to a chessgame where the result can prove equally deadly in mate or stalemate.

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Kindred’s Special: A Policy of Stubborness

May 17, 2009

“This Steinitz is remarkable.  Sit down and I will show you a game that I have played over many times. He was a pure genius and possessed  a most stubborn nature.”

So I sat down and helped reset the original position at the start of play and he announced the opening play from a French Defense variation.

1.e4  e6  2.d4  d5  3.Nc3  Nf6  4.e5  Nfd7 5.f4

Excellent idea of Steinitz here as normal for that time was 5.Nce2 inorder to meet …c5 with c3.

5…c5  6.dxc5  Bxc5  7.Nf3  a6  8.Bd3  Nc6  9.Qe2  Nb4  10.Bd2  b5  11.Nd1  Nxd3+  12.cxd3  Qb6.

Here I suggested 12…b4  to gain space on the Qwing. His response was to follow the game play.  I admit I was pleased with myself for suggesting it because now Steinitz hit him with…

13.b4  Be7  14.a3  f5.

“A terrible pawn move because it leaves the e-pawn backward and any defense of it requires the use of a piece.  And this also limits the white square Bishop maneuvering range.”

15.Rac1  Bb7  16.Be3!

“The right idea and demonstrates soon the stubborn nature of Steinitz which I find remarkable in many of his games. This positional move shows the resourcefulness of Steinitz who seizes control of the black squares.  It demonstrates your own theory about square count as well.”

16…Qd8  17.Nd4  Nf8  18.O-O  h5.

Again, I mentioned that this move looks wrong here because the black squares have holes on the g-file. He went his merry way with…

19.Nc3  Kf7  20.Nb1!  g6  21.Nd2  Nd7  22.Nd2b3  Rac8  23.Na5!

“Can you believe this Knight tour? This is why I had to show it to you because Steinitz stubbornly executes his positional edge.” There was no disagreement, no sir!

23…Ba8  24.Rxc8  Qxc8  25.Rc1  Qb8  26.Qc2  Bd8

“Look at your square count idea. It is a great game for you to illustrate this.  Anyway, proof is in the pudding. Steinitz drums up this fantastic positional edge and now turns it into a winning endgame.”

27.Nac6!!

“Enticing the reply 27…Bxc6  28.Qxc6  Nf8  29.Nxe6 30.Qd7+ is out of the question because the attack is decisive. Lets put the pieces back in the position to move 27.”

27….Qb7  28.Nxd8+  Rxd8  29.Qc7  Qb8  30.Bf2!

“This beautiful retreat of the Bishop is key to Steinitz strategy as he prepares to pressure the black square diagonal attack the defending Rook.”

30…Qb6!  31.Nf3!  Qxc7  32.Rxc7

“What a position! None of Black’s pieces can move except for the King. Black has to play the King to e8 to defend the Knight against  the threat of 33.Bh4.”

32….Ke8  33.Ng5  Nf8  34.Bc5  Nd7  35.Bd6!

I commented here that Black is in Zugzwang.

“Yes, he resigned here. Lets go over the possible finish.”

All very well and good I noted but had to leave.

With this he took out his tape recorder and said I could use it  if I wanted and return it to him at the next meeting.

I decided to present it in this article for my column as it is a change from the usual.  Excuse me for not offering up some analysis beyond that from the recording but it is time you start thinking on your own dear reader!

Kindred’s Special: Dangerous “Ghost Dance”– an early media frenzy

May 14, 2009

Received a letter from Oglala Lakota College president Thomas ShortBull who is serving his 17th year in that capacity. Not only does he conduct his duties as president but also to relate the true account of a horrifying murder by members of the US 7th Cavalry.

What brought such shame on the United States? The culprit in all this was not the US military force of 500 troopers but what set the stage for such ill feelings due to greed and ignorance.  Grandpa ShortBull, a spiritual leader, was involved in the Spirit or Medicine Dance that got mistranslated and called the “Ghost Dance” by newspaper reporters who deliberately sensationalized a sacred Lakota ceremony to increase newspaper circulation across the country to increase revenues.

The Lakota were mourning the deaths of their children, mothers, fathers and grandparents who had been killed in battles with soldiers. They were living on a reservation with little food and no place to hunt.  False descriptions of the so called “dangerous Ghost Dance” appeared in newspapers telling about hundreds of armed Indians dancing, although no weapons or anything metal was allowed in the Medicine Dance. In less than a month, military officials called in the largest military troop deployment since the Civil War. Thousands of soldiers converged on the small village of Pine Ridge in the middle of winter.

“Follow the money”–where did I say that before? The careless behavior of the news media of that 1890 period seems like the news media of 2009, doesn’t it.  One wonders how misinformation, lies, distorted facts can turn deadly in a matter of moments is easy to explain. People who have hate and fear in their hearts do savage things.  The Indians have been called “savages” from time beginning by ignorant white folks. The term ‘savage’ is often abused.

Military officials were drinking and celebrating the capture of Chief Spotted Elk aka Chief Big Foot and his band of Minneconjou, plus over 30 members of Sitting Bull’s Hunkpapa. Called to the Pine Ridge Agency, they were sent to Pine Ridge. Chief Spotted Elk had pneumonia and so the trek was slow. When they got below Porcupine Bluff, they spotted a military camp and  Lakota riders went to talk with them. The soldiers instructed them to pitch camp on the west side of Wounded Knee Creek.  And little did they know that it was to be their last night.

December 7th 1941 is a date that lives in infamy, just as September 11th lives in infamy.  But maybe our earliest date of infamy was for the Lakota people December 29th 1890. The slaughter took place after the soldiers began to confiscate the Indian arms and someone fired a shot (much like at the start of the Revolutionary War) and the massacre began. The soldiers stripped their bodies of clothing and moccasins to sell for souvenirs.

The story of Oglala Lakota College achievement given the adversity of reservation existence  is one of courage, perseverance and success.  It is accessible to isolated communities with nine centers across the 7000 mile reservation and one in the Lakota sacred Black Hills.

It makes one wonder why the numerous tribes across the west suffer enormously from both environmental and physical neglect. I understand that the government has cut back on assistance to the various tribes. These tribes once roamed and occupied the enormous stretches of territory.  They were called savages because of the ignorance of settlers, the government, and with a history of cheating them by the so-called Indian Affairs agency set up by government to administer their economic needs, etc. How odd it is that we as a Nation can offer help and assistance to foreign lands while ignoring the plight of our original peoples that occupied North America from shore to shining shore.  Is there any wonder why so many of the older Indians suffer alcohol and other ailments.  Their history since the white settlers came has not been a happy picture. Thankfully the young peoples’ spirits include one of hope.

Some years ago I gave an Indian School the address of the Chess Trust hopeful that it might encourage the young people to learn the game with its many benefits.

America learned much from the wisdom of the Indians and I celebrate their continued existence and goodness as a people having the true spirit of America.

KindredSpirit’s Kaleidoscope: ACLU Out of Control

May 13, 2009

Lawyers are among the low and the ACLU staff is often proven to be an embarrassment to themselves and pins and needles for those in governance whether it be local, city, county, state, nation. If they can throw a monkeywrench into the boiler, sooner or later that will cause a breakdown or explosion whereby they would simply wash their hands to confess any responsibility.

I find it amusing. Going through various publications and articles that describe the failures of the ACLU for dealing with the governance of any number of projects that they perceive to be a way to broaden their influence, I tend to lose direction of the original purpose of the writing.

So boring I shall avoid here.  I am sure the ACLU will appreciate it. There is an old axiom: Let sleeping dogs…

You know what I mean!

Some pretty good chessplayers have gone into the lawyer profession.  I guess they are in tune with the whole notion  of win, lose, or draw!

Kindred’s Special: BO can be pretty smelly

May 12, 2009

Some months ago I wrote a column on Barak Obama and I guess my description as a PIED PIPER was pretty accurate then and continues to be today and likely tomorrow.

Like most Americans I was willing to give the guy a chance even though I was smart enough not to vote for him. (I like Gov. Mike Huckabee and think he would have made a truly great president.) My grandpa told me once one should be suspicious of “smooth talkers” and this guy fit the bill of grandpa to a tea. Maybe that is why we recently witnessed the huge number of TEA PARTIES across the span of states we call America.

How stupid can the news media be in glorified exaltation of this fraud?  Double-talk follows lying with a straight face and a sincerity that make one clap for joy that we have a president who understands the world as no one else does! Because when I see a dog, a duck, a goose, a shovel–I know what I see; when I see  the term U.S. President, I think of George Washington and all those who came after that helped preserve our liberty, freedom, and heritage as a place for all those who seek a new life may apply.

Today we have a president named Barak H. Obama who without a doubt is intelligent, smooth as silk in speech, has a lovely family and a darling dog but lacks the depth of character so necessary in the final analysis of what is required of our leaders regardless their position in life. He tends to say whatever it takes to appease those with whom he meets with no lack of compulsion to alter or reverse his rhetoric to fit the moment. He is all things to all people. That is scary because it is also the very nature of Satan–the deceiver.

When I think of  Obama I visualize a horrible listing that probably many journalists and reporters who represent the news media do not have in their vocabulary: appeasement, censorship, confiscation, mandates, nationalization, outlawry, restriction, state law overrides, surrender. If you think hard and long, you can put together phrases that go with these words that describe the democrat philosophy and pinpoint not the failings but the corruption of liberalized thought toward controlling this Nation on a permanent plane. This guy is a sicko. But he is also clever and if America is not careful will find its government gone as we have known it and our Constitution which is the envy of the world and why so many want to come to our shores both for good and evil.

History does tend to repeat itself but in many different disguises. Like Germany, like Italy, like Japan, like Russia, like China and many other nations around the world despotism is ever present to invade the unwary, selfish, and those who believe peace is better than conflict and ever-so-ready to adopt appeasement. That is the warning of history. For, indeed, prior to World War II, there was a cry by many nations and peoples to find peace through appeasement. We know the result–millions of lives lost.

Recently Obama and his wife returned the statue given the Bushes of Winston Churchill who warned in vain about the rising threat of Nazism and Fascism beliefs of the Axis Powers. It was a slap in the face of the English people who looked upon “Winnie” as the savior of the British Empire in its dire state of disrepair. If it had not been for the heroism of the RAF and plane designer of the spitfire, etc. and help of volunteer fighter pilots from North America–both US and Canadian as well as those free from the European continent, the world would be a different place today. Churchill worked relentlessly to gain the support and aid of the United States that resisted such aid because of the national feeling of “appeasement” despite having a great leader in F.D.R.

The big question is whether we will beat back Obama’s desire for a socialistic state, crimping our freedoms as individuals, altering our national life based from free enterprise to a governmental entity.  He attempts to assure us his plan is to save the economy and the free enterprise system will be restored along with government oversight and control. He says this to the public while his actions speak louder and often prove out his forked tongue.

All I can say is GOD HELP US SAVE AMERICA!!! after seeing the disrespect shown in recent days by a leader who needs, really needs, approval by his peers.

We all witnessed the efforts of former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov who tried to bring to the attention of the masses in Russia the former KGB and failed leadership of Putin with some success. He possesses critical thought skills. As a chessplayer I, too, possess critical thought skills. I think my readers do who read my columns. Personally I tend to be non combative when it comes to politics but I am beginning to get fired up about the lack of attention and debate in this country that has anything other than polite discussion with failure to act.  B.H.O. has to be reined in much like a lively stallion who constantly is a threat to throw it’s rider.  In our case it is our national heritage that is at stake and so many seem blinded to the fact.

KindredSpirit’s Kaleidoscope: Center Counter/Scandinavian Defense

May 3, 2009

This semi-open system puts a whole new light on the opening because it is a direct challenge to 1.e4 by playing 1…d5, a move often difficult to carry out in normal King Pawn openings.

In the 1980s it was heavily tested in the following variation.

1.e4  d5  2.exd5  Qxd5  3.Nc3  Qa5  4.d4  Nf6  5.Nf3  c6  6.Bc4  Bg4 7.h3.

Already Black sets a little trap with 7.Bxf7+? Kxf7 8.Ne5+ Qxe5+ securing  a huge material advantage.

7…Bh5 8.Bd2  e6  9.Nd5  Qd8  10.Nxf6+ gxf6!

In the game Chandler vs. Rogers, 1984, Rogers tried Qxf6 and ran into trouble after…

10…Qxf6 11.g4  Bg6  12.Qe2!  Bxc2  13.Rc1  Qg6 14.Bf4  Bb4+ 15.Kf1  Bb1  16.Rcxb1! Qxb1+ 17.Kg2 Qg6 18.Bd3 f5.

White now smashes the Black defense.

19.Bxf5  Qf6  20.Bg5  Qf7  21.Bxe6  Qc7  22.Bb3+ Kf8  23.Ne5  Be7  24.Rhe1  Ke8.

Nothing helps Black as after say, 24…Bxg5 25.Ng6+ and 26.Qe8 mate.

Quite common and a favorite of D. Taylor, the strong postal player goes like this:

1.e4  d5 2.exd5  Qxd5  3.Nc3  Qa5  4.d4  Nf6 5.Bc4 c6 6. Bd2  Bf5 7.Nd5 Qd8  8.Nxf6+  gxf6 9.Bf4 Qb6  10.Bb3 a5  11.a4  Rg8  12.Ne2 Na6 = Watson/Rogers, 1987.

A whole book has appeared on the variation that runs 1.e4  d5 2.exd5 Qxd5  3.Nc3  Qd6 which achieved considerable attention and practice in recent years.

Less seen is 3…Qd8 which Robatsch played against Fischer, 1962 at Varna. After 4.d4  g6 5.Bf4  Bg7  6.Qd2  Nf6 7.O-O-O  c6 8.Bh6 and Fischer here suggested 8…Bxh6 9.Qxh6  Bf5 as giving Black an equal game.

A little humor comes out of 1.e4 d5 2.exd5  Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd8 4.d4  Nc6 5.Nf3  Bg4  6.d5!  Ne5 as played at Nurnberg 1895 by Mieses vs. Oehquist. Now, Mieses springs into high gear with the blistering 7.Nxe5!  Bxd1 8.Bb5+ c6 9.dxc6 (1-0).

Fast forward to 1982, Goldenberg vs. Chevaldonnet at Bordeaux saw 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3.Nc3 Nxd5 4.Nf3 Nc6   5.d4 Nxc3 6.bxc3  Bg4 7.d5?!

With an almost identical tactic idea, White suscumbs to Black’s ingenuity showing that just one move can alter the outcome of a tactical idea.

7…Ne5  8.Nxe5  Bxd1  9.Bb5+ c6  10.dxc6.

In a 1980 game, 10…Qd5 was tried only to get the axe after 11.cxb7+ Kd8  12.Nc6+ Kc7 13.bxa(Q).

10…Be2!  11.Kxe2?

A better chance was 11.c7+ Bxb5 12.cxd(Q)+ Rxd8.

11…Qd5 12.c4  Qxe5+ 13.Be3 O-O-O wins.

Unlike some openings, this one offers a host of ideas and a good way to exercise your brain with critical thought. The discussion here is mainly to wet your appetite to explore what perhaps you have never before explored.

Chess play is fun. That is the purpose of my blog to both encourage learning the game for newcomers and to enrich the possibilities to all of just a small portion of possibilities that exist on the chessboard.

Adios for now!

KindredSpirit’s Kaleidoscope: Being Intoxicated with the King’s Gambit

May 3, 2009

Historically the King’s Gambit has been around for a long time and while somewhat speculative enjoys a resurgence every so often.

After 1.e4  e5  2.f4  exf4  3.Nf3  d6 is a move attributed to Bobby Fischer who wrote his famous ‘Bust to the King’s Gambit’ following his defeat at the hands of Boris Spassky who surprised both Fischer and the world by adopting the KG against him. Actually the whole line is not a Fischer discovery because the Cubans were playing this against Paul Morphy on Morphy’s visit to Cuba after his return from Europe. Morphy played a host of Knight odds against some of Cuba’s best and emerged with a considerable plus score against the field.  To Fischer’s credit he infused a bit of arsenic into the opening but lovers of the KG in subsequent issues of THE AMERICAN CHESS QUARTERLY published/edited by GM Larry Evans with the motto “Chess for the Millions”, made various suggestions improving the lines Fischer analyzed. I do not think Fischer ever responded to their improvements in variations. That is the love of the true believers in this inspiring gambit and debates continue as to what is Black’s best line of defense. I think White does best to continue with 3.Bc4 instead of 3.Nf3 but the latter over time has proved the more tested.

In 1977 Planinc, a very strong attacking player, went up against the Yugoslav GM Gligoric which reached the above position.

4.d4  g5  5.h4  g4  6.Ng1

Not trusting 6.Ng5 maybe with good reason. 6…f6!! deserves !! because of 6…h6? 7. Nxf7! Kxf7 8.Bxf4 and White’s pieces are well posted for attack.

6…Bh6  7.Nc3  Nc6  8.Nge2  f3  9.Nf4  f2+! 

So far we see the squares f2 and f7 being assailed in the same game no less!  Notice how the Yugoslav GM draws the enemy King into the open.

10.Kxf2  g3+  11.Kxg3?!

Somewhat better is 11.Kg1 maybe hoping to usethe g-pawn to block the g-file.

11…Nf6  12.Be2  Rg8+  13.Kf2  Ng4+ 14.Bxg4.

This move I do not like as exchanges in this type of position opens lines and the King should seek a hideout. Maybe 14.Ke1 might be tried.

14…Bxg4  15.Qd3  Bg7  16.Be3  Qd7  17.Nce2  O-O-O  18.Ng3  f5!

Desiring to smash open the lines and get at the White monarch.

19.Nxf5  Rdf8  20.Nxg7.

This exchange seems poor considering the Knight’s position hitting some key squares. Possibly he should consider 20.c3 at this point. Black now settles on the right plan to carry out his attack on the enemy King position.

23.Qxb4  Rxf4!  24.Kd2.

On 24.Bxf4  Qxe4+ is decisive.

24…Qxe4  25.Rag1  Bf5  26.Qb3  Rg3 27.Rh2  Rxf2+  28.Bxf2  Rxb3  29.axb3  Qf4+ climaxing a splendid example of attacking an exposed King position.

20…Qxg7  21.Ke1  Nb4  22.Qc3  Qe7!