Archive for July, 2010

KindredSpirit’s Kaleidoscope Summer Entertainment Message

July 31, 2010

NEW YORK STATE governance is in poor health. Personally I think our Governor Patterson is doing a good job, a tough job, one that is unpopular because of the years of pushing the trash under the rug so-to-speak. No one who works wants to give up anything gained over the years when things were more prosperous. These very same people are likely the ones who ROOKED US royally. Sure, the workers want decent pay but if one examines the pay scale of these folks who are employed in state or local government, the overly generous retirement plan and savings plans offered, it surpasses the actual value of many in the workforce.  The cries go out repeatedly especially in the education field.  Facts speak louder than words and there are school districts where students excel or at least are what one could call reasonably educated. But the dirty little secret is that many fall by the wayside of getting or even trying to obtain the best from the education available to them. They blame society, they blame the teacher; they blame the school location; they blame this and that. History teaches us that great men and women came out of one-room or overcrowded schoolrooms that had one teacher, a principal who would sit in on surprise visits to gage the progress and reliability of teaching methods used;  results that did not hold back students whose desire it was to achieve success in a chosen work environment usually bore fruit.  School is easy for some, tougher for others.

New York State is the Empire State. It has a rich history and a landscape that should be attractive to all who live, work and play within its boundaries. But I would like to suggest that New York City is not the mecca of the State. And I would venture to add that most problems we face were brought about by unwise decisions of lawmakers, judges, and the parasites who often flock around and ride the coat tails of politicos from all stripes.  What do I mean about NYC not being the principal attraction potential of our great state? Just this: Across the expanse of our great state exists many attractions ranging for good joyful living to a host of supportive menus that include museums, science and nature centers, parks, fairs, community programs, all levels of good educational opportunities, excellent travel routes, beautiful lakes and recreation for every interest.

Want to visit our State of New York? Look beyond New York City and come to view and partake of riches in food, lodging, recreation,lakes, canal, parks and trails. There was the old saying: Go West Young Man. That could be said of visitors and residents of our Empire State. A state full of history, importance, of commerce and education. For all across the state exists cities and towns that have much to offer the traveler on business or holiday. Famous photo spots are Potsdam, the Thousand Islands and Old Forge, the latter offers a grand boat trip and railroad tour. And being a chess site, I am likewise thinking of the opportunities that exist to play.  From Buffalo, Rochester, Watertown, Auburn, Syracuse, Ithaca, Utica and Albany, chessic opportunities have or have had a past where chess battles were waged on the 64-squares. Indeed, it is alive with opportunities.

A very beautiful countryside ride from Geneva, NY to Watkins Glen, home of the famous auto races, take in the breadth of many local wineries where you may partake in taste and bring home a gift for self, family or friends. The route goes along the westside of Seneca Lake. You can continue to travel and find the quaint and warm city of Corning, NY, home of the famous Corning Glass Works. This is a wonderful opportunity for children to view the making of glass and get a brief on the history of glass making. Of course the store has available many beautiful pieces of art that just may catch your eye as an enhancement to your decor.  Should you desire to hit the trail for Rochester, NY, you will find it the home the famous Eastman Theatre, the Eastman House, the science and art museums–all within a short trip down East Avenue. Several colleges and universities adorn the landscape.  Ithaca, NY is the home of the famous Cornell University and Ithaca College, but also nearby beautiful landscape parks and gorgeous waterfalls. The swimming area at Lower Infield is one any photographer would love between dips. It has springboards and waterfall that would be the envy of many across America. Above the city you can find Taughannock State Park and view it’s great waterfall. You just got to consider Batavia, NY if you are a horse lover. The selky races and famous candy making sweet shop make Batavia a memborable visit. Going further west, you come to Buffalo, NY, home of both professional football and hockey teams.  It was also the home of former President Filmore where you find a host of early Americana and men and women who helped make America the land it is. The world famous Niagara Falls is near at hand and the bridge to Canada is an added attraction to journey for a visit to our northern neighbor. Interested in a canoe trip? The Erie Canal or Barge Canal offer sightseeing trips and if a boatman, you can rent a canoe and paddle to your heart’s content.

So you see why I say New York City is not the mecca of the Empire State. Perhaps it ought to be an entity of it’s own statehood because the city and most of New York State really have different agendas and needs. However, NYC is a great state attraction and lure many from around the country and the world to visit. That, of course, and the home of professional sports make it a great visit and a place for artists, actors, and many other professions as a home to thrive within.

Kindred’s Special: Sharpen Your Game Play With Pressure Chess–Part II

July 27, 2010

For many years Nicolas Preo was a powerhouse and inventive player who played in The Correspondence Chess League of America (CCLA) and internationally in the International Correspondence Chess Federation (ICCF).  As a GAMBITEER, he championed a direct approach in the opening and often essayed the Danish Gambit with a personalized and distinct approach that gave him numerous victories. In three decades (1950s-1970s) he amassed an impressive collection of games featuring this highly controversial opening system.

In recent years it has become clear that many value games emerge out of the correspondence chess arena. Many of them explore and often rewrite evaluations of known theory.  Like the Goring Gambit explored in Part I, the Danish Gambit mirrors that and can transpose.

After 1.e4  e5  2.d4  exd4  3.c3  dxc3  4.Bc4  cxb2  5.Bxb2  d5  6.Bxd5, two common ideas offer themselves up. First, 6…Nf6 can give an example of my column on the f7 square weakness. 7.Bxf7+ Kxf7  8.Qxd8  Bb4+ 9. Qd2  Bxd2+ 10.Nxd2. His game versus Haden in the CCLA Grand National 1953 continued with 10. …Re8  11.e5  Nc6  12.Ngf3  Ng4 (Nd5!?) 13.Rc1  Re7  14.O-O  Nb4  15.h3 Nd3  16.hxg4  Nxc1  17.Bxc1. Now, Preo demonstrates that two minor pieces are a plus in this position as the game now proves out. 17…Bxg4  18.Ng5+Kg8  19.f4  h6  20.Nge4  Rd8  21.Rf2  b6  22.Bb2  Be6  23.a3  Rf7  24.Nf1  Rdf8  25.g3  Bd5  26.Nc3  Be6  27.Ne3  Bd7  28.Ne2  Bf5  29.Nxf5  Rxf5  30.g4 R5f7  31.f5.  Now you can see the full power of my square count theory in action. The two black Rooks are confined to pure defense which adds fuel to the fire.  31…Rd7  32.Nf4  Rfd8. Black tries to activate his Rook-pair.  33.e6  Rd1+  Kg2  R8d2  35.Be5  Rxf2+  36.Kxf2  Rc1  37.Nh5  a5  38.Nxg7  Rc5  39.Bd4  Rd5  40.e7  (1-0). In those days, they had penny postcards!

I give one further example for your digestion.  1.e4  e5  2.d4  exd4  3.c3  dxc3  4.Bc4  cxb2  5.Bxb2  Bb4+ and here of course Nc3 transposes to a Goring Gambit line but Preo keeps it in the Danish family with 6.Kf1  Nf6  7.e5  Ng8?!  8.e6  f6  9.exd7+  Bxd7  10.Qb3  Qe7  11.Nc3  Nc6  12.Re1  Qxe1+ 13.Kxe1  Bxc3  14.Bxc3  Nh6  15.Qxb7  Ke7  16.Bb4+  Nxb4  17.Qxb4+  Kd8  18.Nf3  Re8+  19.Kd2  Nf5  20.Qb7  Rc8  21.Qxa7  Re4  22.Bd3  Ra4  23.Qxa4 Bxa4  24.Bxf5  Rb8  25.Rb1  Rxb1  26.Bxb1  h6  27.Bc2  Bxc2  28.Kxc2  c5  29.Kc3  (1-0).

In Part III I will be examining some tricky gambit lines in the Sicilian Defense.

Adios for now!

Kindred’s Special: The Game Has Changed

July 25, 2010

MAGNUS CARLSEN, the young chess star from Norway, according to his latest coach former World Champion Garry Kasparov will have changed our ancient game considerably. It is already seen in his play but even more revealing is the fact that he learned to play chess from his computer and doesn’t even use a physical set or board at home.  Throughout our chess history players have been introduced to chess through human contact and instruction or from instructional books. But according to Eben Harrell in his essay in Time Magazine titled A BOLD OPENING, Magnus Carlsen in his interview states that the computer had fulfilled this role.  His talent, as great as it is, will be tested in the future by the likes of a number of youngsters fast rising on the scene. His father Henrik Carlsen who is an engineer says, “This is not what I had in mind for Magnus.” Typical parental concern in bringing up children but when you have genius at work, what can you do? And genius is what you have in not only Magnus Carlsen but a host of youngsters who show enormous promise and dedication the the ART OF CHESS PLAY.  Currently of course, young Carlsen is number l as his results are spectacular.  Still, he is being shadowed by a young upstart by the name of Anish Giri, 16-year old Dutch player who has raised his ELO rating to 2672, 154 point gain in the past 12 months. And most assuredly, there are on the horizon additional children to marvel at the great skill of Magnus Carlsen and no doubt find encouragement to raise their own level to new highs.

Kindred’s Special: Sharpen Your Game Play With Pressure Chess–PART I

July 25, 2010

What a JOY is the game of chess! When I started my column KindredSpirit’s Kaleidoscope I found that someone else had the same blog title so I had alter by adding a ks (I am known as KS on World Chess Live and ICC to my friends). Having said that, why I added ks at the end of kindredspiritks enables me to avoid confusion and advise for all the addition to my handle for writing my blog. I hope everyone is enjoying and learning from my site. I sell nothing; all info such as book reviews or tournament notices are to interest my readers and tournaments I write on are worth the cost of admission! I usually don’t note tournaments that I feel are too expensive for the average family players to participate unless they really attract with many added features like resorts that provide the whole family with a vacation to remember–boating, golf, tennis, swimming, hiking and bike trails, etc.

Getting ready for any over-the-board (obt) tournament requires proper diet, rest, preparation of opening systems you want to play, review basic endgame situations and problems,  and combinative tactics feature the nuts and bolts of good chess preparation. After all, if you want to have a good time and hope for some success and not have an opponent you failed to impress by your diligent play with that look of ‘what a patzer’! leaving you a bit down in the dumps and a bruised ego. Next round!! That is the spirit of competive chess!

The history of chess has much to recommend it. What can be learned? Are such lessons, games, analysis, and facts worth the time to rehatch what went before, perhaps a 100 or more years ago?With this in mind, I now open the door of knowledge for you to walk through and observe the GRAND OLE GAME as played when gambit games were the illustrative delights of chess that often saw coins tossed the the tables by spectators who cherished and honored brilliant play. But are they relevant to today’s positional wisdom? Remember one thing, what you study and prepare when it comes to gambits, may well be totally unfamiliar to your opponent and gambits are extremely tactical and dangerous. Often the shortest games come from gambit play. Unless you are among the top in tournaments, it is likely you will find your opponent in virgin territory and even if lucky enough to meet some masters during the event, it is possible to swindle them with a bit of flash that springs from surprise.  Gambiteers must be tactical and aggressive by nature. Regardless the outcome, gambit players always seem to enjoy the spirit of fighting chess and maze that children sometimes find thrilling and exciting trying to find their way through a cornfield.

TWO SUCH GAMBITS THAT ALMOST GO HAND-IN-HAND are the DANISH GAMBIT and the GORING GAMBIT with additional gambit lines like the Halasz Gambit.

Goring Gambit I will illustrate first. After 1.e4  e5 2.d4  exd4  already you can set a problem for your opponent by choosing either 3.Qxd4, 3.c3, or 3.f4 where each leads to separate lines of play and resulting positions may put your opponent into untread territory. 3.f4 is the Halasz Gambit and tricky because if black avoids an immediate center counter with …d5  but chooses to hold the pawn then White plays his Nf3 followed by Bd3 literally using the d4 pawn as a temporary block. Normal Goring Gambit opening play goes, 1.e4  e5  2.Nf3  Nc6  3.d4  exd4 4.c3 dxc3  5.Bc4 cxb2  6.Bxb2  Bb4+ 7.Nc3  Nf6.

At this point the opening got it’s name in 1877 when Goring played 8.O-O against Paulsen. Another approach is 8.Qc2  d6  9.O-O-O  O-O  10.e5  Ng4  11.h4 Nc6xe5 12. Ng5  g6 13.Nce4  Bf5  14.Qb3. airal vs Gimenez, Argentina played in 1998 continued here with 14…a5  15.f3  Nxc4  16.Qxc4  b5  17.Qc6  Bd7  18.Qd5  c6  19.Qd4  Ne5  20.a3  f6  21.axb4  d5  22.Nxf6+  Qxf6  23.Qxe5  Qxe5  24.Bxe5  Rfe8  25.Bb2  axb4  26.h5 gxh5  27.Ne4  dxe4  28.Rxd7 exf3  29.gxf3  Re3  30.Rg1+ Kf8  31.Rxh7  Rae8  32.Rgg7  Re1+  33.Kc2  R1e2+  34.Kb1  R8e5  35.Bxe5  Rxe5  36.Rb7  Kg8  37.Rhg7+ Kf8  38.Rgc7 (1-0). Like any game score, one can examine to try and discover alternate play. So what if Black chooses anoher course?  At move 9.O-O-O suppose Black continues with …Bxc3. Best probably is 10.Qxc3 Be6  11.Rhe1  Bxc4  12.Qxc4  O-O  13.e5  Ne8 with a large square count edge. The spatial advantage can shrink but White has some interesting possibilities in moves like g4>h4 with a pawn rollup or Fine’s suggestion of 14.Re3 which I favor here. Interesting is 14.h4 Qc8  15.e6  fxe6  16.Rxe6  Kh8 17.Ng5 Nf6 18.h5. Check with your computer for analysis and suggested play.

Here is one game to witness the spirit of the opening.  1.e4  e5  2.d4  exd4  3.c3  dxc3  4.Bc4  cxb2  5.Bxb2  Nf6  6.Nc3  Nc6  7.Nf3  Bb4  8.Qc2  d6  9.O-O-O  Bxc3  10.Qxc3  Qe7  11.e5  Nxe5 12.Nxe5  dxe5  13.Rhe1  Nd7  14.f4  O-O  15.Rxd7  Qxd7  16.Rxe5  Qg4  17.g3  Rd8  18.Bb3  Qg6  19.Rg5  Qc6  20.Qxc6  bxc6  21.Rxg7 a5 25.g4  Bc4  26.f5  a4 27.Be6  Bd5  28.Bf6  (1-0).

Opening books to find more on the Goring Gambit:  Eric Schiller’s STANDARD CHESS OPENINGS, MCO, NIC.

Kindred’s Special: King’s Gambit the Ivanchuk way

July 20, 2010

Earlier I examined a game from the distant past and thought I would illustrate one more current and having a different approach chosen by the black side and handled by the very talented Predrag Nikolie. Whenever you see Ivanchuk’s name, you can be sure of a hotbed of pressurized chess. This example produces another gem in the hands of the mystro.

White: Ivanchuk  vs Black: Nikolie, Opening is the King’s Gambit or also known as Bishop Gambit.

1.e4  e5  2.f4  exf4  3.Bc4  Qh4+ 4.Kf1  d6  5.d4  Be6  6.Qd3  Nf6  7.Nf3  Qg4  8.Nc3  Be7  9.h3  Qg6  10.Bf4  O-O  11.Re1  Nh5 12.Bh2  Ng3   13.Bxg3  Qxg3  14.Ne2 Qg6  15.Nf4  Qh6.

Note how White has steadily improved his position, finding good aggressive squares for his pieces. Black’s timid responses has seen the Queen chased here-and-there.  My square count theory and record of mapping games of similar nature suggests the crucial moment is near-at-hand.

16.g3  Nd7  17.Kg2  Nb6  18.Bxe6  fxe6  19.Rf1  c5  20.d5  Rxf4  21.gxf4  Qxf4  22.dxe6  Rf8  23.b4  Rf6  24.Qb5  Rxe6  25.bxc5  Bh4  26.Nxh4 .

The Queen is exposed to attack and the open f-file  is a  spark of  light for the  Rook on f1.

26. …Qxh4  27. Qb3!!  d5  28.cxb6  Black Resigns

This is a good comparison with the game Harrwitz vs. Anderssen in my earlier column.

Kindred’s Special: Chess Instruction–Sign Up at The Rochester Chess Center, Available Now!

July 13, 2010

YES!! THE ROCHESTER CHESS CENTER is once again holding classes for students.  Interested in your child’s creative development?  I have always advocated children learning to play a musical instrument and to stimulate their creative juices in problem solving .  Readers of my columns know I have stressed this along with proper diet, rest and enjoying peers.  And my experience in chess has afforded me the opportunity to enrich readers’ joy in those learning pursuits. Fortunately we have in the city and County of Monroe a school system that embraces such importance in a child’s development.

Recently I have read that children tend to be overweight; fast food restaurants are being targeted by the Obama clan as being a cause. However, a greater cause is the parent desire to keep kids manageable. A full tummy is better than one that craves whenever a McDonald is passed-by. Another example is that of organized sport activity for children. Years ago kids got together, played games in lots, on school grounds, or even in the street–often making up their own rules, selecting captains and they would select in turn players until the whole group was organized in two teams. Kids would kiss their parents bye and be gone most of the summer days and get home in time for supper. Kids rode bikes, walked, ran, and depending upon their location, maybe went fishing or just hung out with their friends. Thankfully the instructors at RCC realize the importance of such physical activity and use the park during recreation away from lessons.

What else is available in the Rochester area communities? Well, for a starter, lets look at FAIRS. I read an interesting column by Frances I. Tepper who wrote a guest essay for the Brighton-Pittsford Post. She is the Executive Director of the Monroe County Fair and Recreation Association, Henrietta. The title is: FAIRS–A (VERY) LONG TRADITION.  In brief, she writes..In 1810 America was a newborn and the second war with Britain was still on the horizon. That’s all so…historical.  It doesn’t seem real. It was something that happened, we read about it, and although it has everything to do with who we are as a nation, it doesn’t seem to have any connection to our “every days”.

What seems to be relevant today is the founding of the first FAIR that took place in 1810 in Pittsfield, Mass. making fairs 200 years old and spread throughout the USA in many different guises.  Cotton candy and icecream cones were introduced at the St. Louis World Fair of 1904. Certainly the ingenuity and imagination of Americans introduced agricultural developments, clubs like the 4H Clubs, etc. saw cooking, baking, sewing, flowers and garden projects enriched our interest and support. It has been a mainstay for many years to family life and togetherness as a people.  Today, you can celebrate a historical adventure by attending the Monroe County Fair that runs from July 14th through July 18th, 2010.

Like fairs, chess has a long and interesting history. The United States was the powerhouse of the chessworld until the USSR vanguished the Americans as well as all other national teams. The USSR term for chess professional was that promising youth were given special schooling and the best devoted themselves to chessplay even while getting degrees etc. in other fields like journalism, teaching,  music, entertainment, and sciences. A segment became highly enshrined in politics to such an extent that original visions of communist supremacy was replaced by corruption and greed of an elite within the body politic. Americans Samuel Reshevsky, Reuben Fine, Larry Evans, William Lombardy, and Bobby Fischer  probably held out the most hope for the American teams joined by the Bryne brothers, Donald and Robert. Bisguier was instrumental too in aiding the American Olympic teams.

Lets be inspired to learn all we can about chess and life. The goals are similar. Contact the Rochester Chess Center, Ron and Shelby Lohrman, 221 Norris Drive, Rochester, NY 14610. Telephone 585 442 2430 or visit and be a part of this year’s growing breed of new champions.

Adios! for now.

Kindred’s Special: Not Just Another Book Review–THE TAO OF CHESS

July 12, 2010

I find myself often at BARNES & NOBLE  where I love to browse hoping to find something that stirs my thirst for the adventure that an author’s talent finds appealing to my own soul. I braved the downpour this one evening and found myself with umbrella in-hand determined to wait out the storm inside the halls of my favorite bookstore. In recent visits I alway avoided the game section because the chess books disappeared with an ever increasing supply of gambling books of all kinds. But a long search of varied topical sections, I was drawn finally to give the game section one more quick look having failed to settle upon a book to purchase. Lo and Behold! Sitting there wedged between two popular books I saw this rather thin paperback whose binder simply read THE TAO OF CHESS.  I pulled it from the shelf and the cover simply read: THE TAO OF CHESS–200 Principles to Transform Your Game and Your Life.  The author was a chess master. The author was Peter Kurzdorfer. The publisher Adams Media, Avon, Massachusetts drew a blank in my library of books. Turning it over to the backside, I read what really turned me on to buy it, BE A WINNER AT HOME, AT WORK, AND ON THE CHESSBOARD!

What appealed to me scanning those richly filled 242 pages was the close comparison with my own views on chess and how it has enriched my own understanding of life. The commingling reward one receives from chess and life is in direct proportion to our study and work ethic toward achieving goals and purpose. “That is TAO!”–Peter Kurzdorfer.

My own theories on chess to understand the board, the relationship of squares, of my own SQUARE COUNT, my exchange and mobility values that differ from that in printed books, and use as a tool to map the ups and downs of a chess battle all came from my own search for truth in chessic understanding. In that, I discovered the close relationship between chess and life itself and how, if used properly, can be linked toward a full appreciation of Life and Chess.

The author presents 42 chapters in which 200 Principle Themes are presented with a diagram to illustrate each principle discussed. He ties into the discussion a product of both chess and life experience. It is well written, easy to read and study from either a short or long read. Perhaps I might suggest that it just may fill an up to this point void in your chess development. His ideas are uniquely his.

I rate this book as highly recommended and give it a 5! Cover price is $9.95.

Be a winner at home, at work, and on the chessboard!

Kindred’s Special: Gone With the Wind–Plans Go Awry

July 10, 2010

FOR THREE YEARS the plans to develop wind energy farms in Wayne County, New York saw the towns of Huron,Wolcott, Butler, Sodus, Rose, and Galen sharing the enthusiasm of GREEN HOPE environmentalists was the vision of Empire Wind Energy LLC. Backed by Paychex founder and billionaire Tom Golisano, promised upfront money and calling it a “win-win” for municipalities who jumped aboard. Unfortunately, the fine print hidden in all the contractual ‘ howevers and buts’  left a sour note in the demise of the grand ole scheme of things. It was not clear who would pay for this or that as the timeframe continued. In the end, it costs each town dollars wasted in the research and development of plans that got presented as a wunderbar (excuse my German).

Empire Wind Energy LLC President and Chief Operating Officer Keith Pitman advised that projects were out of wind zones and not economical feasible and would not happen. There was not enough return economically to pay for the grid. At the same time it was learned that the Alfred, NY project was dead in the sand.

Perhaps it goes back to my old saying about Al Gore’s ah, let me see, what was it called and name changes do not purify the deceit and bad science. OH YES, I REMEMBER NOW–FOLLOW THE MONEY!!!

Now folks, this is one small area that met a plan with enthusiasm based upon the hype of the times only to find the hopes and greedy dreams of those involved like that of waves on a sea  to be dashed upon the rocks.

In chess, like Life, we require plans and analysis to meet our intended goal.  Positive and negative vibes are always met along the path to achieve a just end. How well we negotiate the turns and curves along the road toward success and staying on course like a stubborn mule can be maddening sometimes. Yet there is a definite difference between a chess game and a game of political gamesmanship–one tickles the ego, the other costs dearly at times and can reflect the despair upon a whole community.

Kindred’s Special: 1966 — A CHESSIC TURNTABLE

July 2, 2010

AS CHESS GOES, THE YEAR 1966 saw perhaps the beginning of the breakdown of Soviet Chess supremacy. It was first seen in the Candidates Tournament when the Dane, Bent Larsen, defeated the great soviet GM Efim Geller by the score of  5-4. this being the first time victory came from a  non soviet controlled chess star. It was also the year that the famous Piatigorsky Cup took place in Santa Monica, California featuring an all-star lineup. lst was Spassky who scored an amazing 11.5. A strong run by Fischer who almost caught the winner with 11.0 followed closely by Larsen 10. Sharing 4-5 place came Unzicker and Portisch 9.5, 6-7 place tied were Petrosian and Reshevsky axed out 9, Najdorf chipped away with 8, and 9th position saw Ivkov snaring 6.5 and 10 was the Dutch star, Donner, with 6 points. The then world champion, Tigran Petrosian, lost both games to Bent Larsen.

Bent Larsen’s star rose slowly but steadily. The great boost to his chess understanding was the opportunity to annotate the 1953 Candidates’ Tournament held in Zurich for SKAKBLADET.  In the 1954 Olympiad he scored 71% which earned him the International Master title.  He defeated Fridrik Olafsson in a match to determine the Nordic Championship. Then, holding down board 1 for his Olympic team, he finished with the highest score at the 1956 Moscow Olympiad which nailed down the greatest honor as a Grand Master of Chess. In those days, there were only a handful of stars having earned that prestigious title.  Having made the 1965 Candidates event, Larsen reached the semi-final losing out to Mikhail Tal in a grueling match 5.5-4.5. The fact that he iced Tal in the lst game made the world take notice that Larsen was a threat to Soviet dominance.

The aggressive and tense struggle was always an earmark of Bent Larsen. Like Fischer, he played to create winable positions from either side of the board. In the example I give here is just a sample of opening philosophy that differentiated Petrosian’s positional style and the fighting spirit of Larsen who played black in this opening struggle at Santa Monica. White: Petrosian vs Black: Larsen; Opening: King’s Indian Defense.

1.c4  Nf6  2.Nc3  g6.

This may have surprised Petrosian since Larsen was not normally a KID opening specialist except from the white side. I would dare say that Larsen was using this defense as a counter to Petrosian’s usual solid opening play and wanted a fight from the start.

3.g3  Bg7 4.Bg2 O-O 5.d4  d6  6.e3.

I believe this is why Larsen chose the KID since Petrosian had employed it against Spassky in defense of their lst match and also Botvinnik had adopted it in his match with Smyslov.

6…c6  7.Nge2  a5  8.b3  Na6,

Larsen shows the value of my square count theory here with setting up counterplay and gaining space on the Q-wing. Most deploy this Knight to d7 as did both Smyslov and later Spassky. Note how flexible Black’s move remains as he keeps open the long Bishop diagonal.

9.O-O  e5  10.Bb2  Re8  11.a3  Rb8.

Larsen is aiming to challenge for the initative early on.

12.h3  h5!  13.Qc2.

Here, I was thinking 13.Rc1. But it could be simply transitional.

13…  Be6  14.Kh2  Qc7  15.Rac1  b5.

Again, I point to the idea of square count in planning. Note how the black Q-wing is gaining breathing and oxygen (space) for life. The minority attack motif executes a clear challenge and the exchange of the c- pawn for a wing pawn enables Black to realize a dream of sharpening tactics pending on that side of the board. Pawn exchanges open lines and Black is dynamically prepared to take advantage of that fact.

16.cxb5  cxb5.

Here, the famous prophylactic specialist forgets that MY SYSTEM is famous in Larsen’s Denmark as around the world in literature and teachings of Nimsowitsch.

17.Qd1  Qe7  18.Nb1  Bd7  19.Nd2  e4 20.Nf4.

I like 20.d5 somewhat here because it prevents Black consolidating in the center. In analysis of this game, Larsen did suggest 20.d5 Nc5 21.Rxc5 dxc5 22.Nxe4 breaking up the center with reasonable counterplay.


Cementing the center and closing the long Q-financhettoed Bishop diagonal.


Although not bad, this number of Q-moves seems suspect. Perhaps Petrosian is satisfied with just drawing or it could be he was suffering from the beginnings of the illness that eventually claimed his life. In any case, his passivity on the surface is a common thread throughout his career of making something out of nothing at times as if magic came from his fingers as well as his brain, fails him here with the skillful and stubborn play as to squeeze every bit of juice from the fruit.  Sharper was 21.f3 which offers more risk perhaps but puts some hope into his own chances.  The text maintains a equalibrium in square count with only a slight edge for Black’s number count. Note now how Larsen increases that square count.

21…Qd6 22.Rc2 Rec8 23.Rfc1  Rxc2 24.Rxc2  h4  25.Nf1 hxg3+ 26.fxg3  b4  27.a4  Rc8 ! 28.Rxc8 Bxc8 29.h4.

Looking to exchange Bishops and hope to make Black work for any progress toward winning. The objective of any such tournament battle is to put stress and wear down the player where one or two points can make a big difference on the final standings.  Having achieved a possible winning advantage still requires a lot of work as this game demonstrates.

29….Nc7 30.Bh3 Bxh3  31.Nxh3  Bf8  32.Kg2  Qc6  33.Qd1  Bd6 34.Nf2  Ne6  35.Bc1  Ng7  36.Bd2

The bad Q-Bishop blocked in by its own pawns has no future other than to defend squares. In fact, I would come close to saying that Black has White in a near Zugswang position where  moves he makes improves his position and White minor pieces will eventually be forced into concessions by getting  them to lite on vulnerable squares. I give the rest of the game without comment.

36…Nf5  37.Kh3  Qc8  38.Kg2 Kg7  39.Nh1  Nh6  40.Be1  Qa6  41.Nf2  Nf5! 42.Qd2  Bb8  43.Nd1  Ng4  44.Kg1  f6  45.Kg2  g5  46.Nf2  Ngh6!  47.hxg5  fxg5  48.Nd1  Kg6  49.Nh2  g4  50.Qc2  Bd6  51.Nf1  Ng8  52.Nh2 Nf6  53.Nf1  Kh5  54.Nh2  Kg5  55.Nf1 Nh5  56.Bf2  Nf6  57.Be1  Nh5  58.Bf2  Qa8!! 59.Be1  Qh8! 60.Qc6  Bxg3  61.Bxg3  Nhxg3. Petrosian resigns at this point.

Lessons learned from this game:

  1. Modern chess strategy and tactics rely greatly upon the dynamic character of the position as it relates to pawn structures;
  2. The old school said that it was Black’s duty to equalize the position and chances as White had the advantage of the lst move;
  3. The advancement of both strategic and tactical motifs requires alert attention given almost every move as each relates to the overall plan;
  4. Try to make the best of every position and to try and formalize a plan that offers chances even if somewhat risky;
  5. The importance of endgame play is vital to achieving success in close games;
  6. Historical research into old masters and their games through current times is a valuable aid toward appreciation of every struggle;
  7. Progress comes from crediting your opponent with having workable ideas on the board and trying to enforce your own will in advancing a plan of operations;
  8. Recognition that every game presents a critical moment when the battle necessitates clarity and direction.

Adios for now!