Archive for July, 2013

KindredSpirit’s Kaleidoscope: The Club Player’s Bible On Traps

July 30, 2013

Many chess clubs exist with players of all class strengths from top master rankings to classes A-D.  There is as much variety to learn from opening structures whether it be positional, gambits or a combination of different styles that attract players affording the club members to gain experience from a variety of challenging games.  I benefited from the many chess friends met over six decades and having club leadership experience.  In that position, I was able to assist in the many opportunities to broaden the horizons of several junior players and close fellowship with local, state and national figures in expanding interest and a competitive but friendly spirit among the chess public.

One of the major concerns for any student of the game who is just learning to play concerns TRAPS.  I have seen so many beginners and even those with a fair amount of experience fall prey to the guy or gal I call the ‘trapper”. They delight in quick wins or mates that brings some embarrassment to the loser especially with their friends near at hand.

How do you set traps or play to avoid traps?  There are ways to frustrate the trapper.  Play one move at a time. Play a pawn to the center (I favor 1.e4  e5); develop Knights before Bishops; do not move a Bishop or Knight beyond your half of the board until you develop your King Bishop usually to c4 as white or normally either c5 or e7 if black. Once you play out the e-pawn and develop toward the center Nf3 / Nc3; Nc6 / Nf6; add security or attack to the center by your d-pawn advance either defensive one or attacking two squares.  Square count is useful in choosing opening moves with a little experience. That is why I say plan from move one!  Following these suggestions will enable you as a beginner or master to weave your planning to a successful middle game.  Your opponent will realize that you know the basics of chess development and the trapper will lose his or her hope to whip you quick.

Castling has always been linked to doing so early as practical. It connects the Rooks and adds safety to the King behind the wall of pawns.  But it really is a neutral move used initially for defense of the position. It carries no square count value.  Many strong players will delay castling either Kingside or Queenside to exert pressure on the terrain.

Of course playing with a stronger player will undoubtedly cause losses, maybe more than you want to have happen.  The stronger and better prepared player will usually win.  But you have the knowledge that whenever you play a stronger player and expect to probably lose, it is the best way to improve your skill.

Traps can occur in the later stages of a game.  If you or your opponent attacks the center with the d-pawn where an exchange of pawns is offered, exchange it.

Lets look at the following, 1. e4  e5  2. Nf3  Nc6  3. Bc4  h6

This is often played by inexperienced players wanting to play Nf6 but want to stop white from playing Ng5 with a double attack on the f7 pawn.  This seems logical but wastes a tempo.  3. ….Bc5 or Be7, or Nf6 aids square count and furthers development. Once castled an attack by Ng5 on the f7 square is okay because N x f7  R x f7  B x f7+  K x f7 and the Bishop and Knight are worth more than the Rook and Pawn.  White’s plan has wiped out his developed forces which again points to the logic of square count.

A horrible conclusion comes from 1. g4  e5  2. f3 Qh4 checkmate. You can see the effect of neglecting/promoting square count in choosing moves.  Beginners often choose wing pawns to start the game, especially h or a pawns with the thought that the Rook is very strong and should be in the battle as soon as possible.

Finally, here is a dual example featuring a pinned Knight, a Queen sacrifice and a King forced into the open in the center file and squares gobbled up by the Bishop and Knight pair in a classic Smothered Mate!

A famous mating attack is seen even where a pinned Knight is still dangerous. 1. e4  e5  2. Nf3  d6  3. Bc4  Bg4   4. Nc3  h6 5. N x e5  B x d1  6. B x f7+  Ke7  7. Nd5 checkmate.  Again, black fears of Ng5 led to this famous trap.

What is the name given this famous mate trap?

This short article will give you the importance of developing forces that features a short-range plan against violation of the principles I gave to avoiding traps or how to set them.

KindredSpirit’s Kaleidoscope: 50 Years Ago in American Chess

July 28, 2013

The chess players of the United States represented by the official US chess organ, United States Chess Federation, can and should be proud of a grand old champion of journalistic integrity of the highest order.  Long before recognition of the USCF, the US chess official national bodies were known as the American Chess Federation and the National Chess Federation, that collaborated together in forming eventually the United States Chess Federation.

I first heard of Hermann Helms from my brother and subsequent reading of his Chess Review magazine copies.  That magazine carried the Bill Lombardy memorial in the February 1963 issue and excellent article on the life and achievements of Hermann Helms, 1870-1963 by John Collins and friends.

He was born in Brooklyn, NY on January 5, 1870.  His family moved to Germany.  While on the sea crossing, his father died.  The family resided with his paternal grandparents, uncle Hermann, whom he was named after, his mother and brother for seven years when they returned to North America, settling in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada residing there for another seven years. At the age of 17, he returned to the United States, settling in Brooklyn, NY.  He had received a quality education in Hamburg and Halifax.

It was a school chum in Halifax who taught Helms to play (how often this has happened to many first attracted by cassia) and he developed rapidly in Brooklyn.  Another game that attracted him was cricket where he captained a team and was secretary of the Brooklyn Cricket Club.

He considered Emanuel Lasker to be the hardiest chess fighter of all time.

In his youth he was a bookkeeper for a few years which might account for his skill at journalism, reporting, and leadership in chess work as organizer, tournament director and writer for three newspapers; he founded the American Chess Bulletin which was the official organ of the National Chess Federation.  For many years he reported both cricket and soccer for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, NY Times and through the medium of Flannery News Service which he operated and later owned.

In 1889, he helped organize the Chess and Checker Club of the Central YMCA Branch, serving as secretary for 3-years.  He joined in 1892, the famous old Brooklyn Chess Club and was a member of the team led by Harry Nelson Pillsbury, “Hero of Hastings” and won the club title twice in 1895-6.  From 1896-1910, he played  for the U.S. and Brooklyn Chess Club against England in five cable matches.

Of course as his skills advanced in both chess and journalism, he established a remarkable chess record. He began writing a column in October 1893 for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and continued until the paper folded in 1955.

In 1898, Helms married May Whitney, a well-known musician and painter who died in 1943.  She was a member of the Mozart sextet, a group made up of her parents, two sisters, a brother and herself.  They had one daughter who died at age 40.  She helped her father at the office and sometimes was his companion to tournaments and assisted in reporting the results.

Together with Hartwig Cassel, died 1926, began publishing the American Chess Bulletin, a magazine devoted to the interests of all branches of chess literature at home and abroad.  They jointly organized and directed the famous and historic 1904 Cambridge Springs Tournament and several New York City events from which the magazine evolved.  In his office at 150 Nassau Street, New York, NY, Helms presided as publisher, editor, reporter, and annotator for over 50-years until his death.  He won the NY State Championship 19-years after leaving Halifax and repeated it again in 19-years in 1925!  He wrote for the New York Times for over 50-years, retiring in 1962; a column in the NY World for 15-years, 10-years each with the New York Post, NY Telegram and Sun and another NY Sun later taken over by the World Telegram in 1926.

He was an industrious chess devotee and was a great inspiration for blitz and postal chess. He arranged a huge 253 board team match between Philadelphia and New York and another 100 board team match between Brooklyn and Chicago. He was honored as the vice president of the Pillsbury National Correspondence Chess Association and involved in the amalgamation of various correspondence bodies which form the Correspondence Chess League of America.

In 1923, he directed the Ninth American Chess Congress at Lake Hopatcong which led indirectly to the famous 1924 New York International Tournament, at the Alamac Hotel.  He wrote a book of the tournament with notes by Alekhine. He organized simultaneous exhibitions for Alekhine, Capablanca, Lasker, Maroczy and Marshall.  These included two spectacular events by Alekhine and Capablanca  In 1931 and 1932, respectively, staged at the Seventh Regiment Armory in New York that had a brass band on hand.  Each grandmaster encountered two hundred opponents on 50-boards, with a record attendance.  This was a product of achievement cherished by Helms for the remainder of his life.

At Syracuse, NY, 1943, George Sturgis, president of the A.C.F. bestowed upon him the honorary title of “Dean of American Chess” that lasted until his death.  He was a regular attendee at the Marshall and Manhattan chess clubs where he loved to play blitz chess.  He attended the Strong Place Baptist Church in downtown Brooklyn, believed in “old-time religion” and practiced the old-time virtues of honor, honesty, courage, frugality, and forthrightness. Strict, and sometimes aloof, he was withal kindly, patient, understanding, a warmhearted dear friend with an extraordinarily sweet smile.  The many visits to the Collins home where he would bring ice cream and sweets but just have a cup of tea which Ethel Collins, John’s sister, was expert.  As old people do, Hermann would reminisce about his life and play and discuss chess with his good friend, John Collins.

His aggressive and fighting chess I present here to celebrate his prowess and skill for the game.

White:  Frank J. Marshall   vs.  Black:  Hermann Helms   Opening:  Ponziani

1.  P-K4  P-K4 /  2. N-KB3  N-QB3 /  3. P-B3   P-Q4 / 4. Q-R4  P-B3 /  5. B-N5  N-K2  /  6. O-O   P-QR3 /  7. P x P   P x B /  8. Q x R  N x P /  9.  P-QN4   B-Q3 /  10.  Q-R3  O-O /  11. P-Q3  P-R3  /  12. B-K3  P-QN3  /  13. Q-N3  B-K3  / 14. N-R3  Q-K1 /  15. Q-B2  N/3-K2 /  16. P-Q4  B-KB4 /  17. Q-N3  P-K5  /  18. N-R4  B-K3  / 19. P-N3  P-KB4  /  20. Q-B2  P-N4  / 21. N-N2  P-B5 /  22. B-Q2  P-B6 /  23. Q x P  B-R6  /  24. N-K3  N-B5 /  25. P x N   R x P /  26. N-Q5  R x Q  /  27. N-B6ch  K-B2/  28. N x Q  K x N   /  29. N x P  R-N5ch /  30. K-R1  B-N7ch  / 31. K-N1  B x Pch  / 32. K x B  R-R5ch / 33. K-N3  N-B4 checkmate!

Helms  defeated Marshall in the 1906 NY State Championship and had done so in the 1897 Brooklyn Chess Club Championship as well.  I would say that he was a true champion of the game with an entertaining style that, had he spent more time on tournament play, there is no telling where he would rank, certainly a top chess master level.

Hermann Helms died peacefully on Wednesday, January 9, 1963 at 2 pm.  Rev. Robert L. Dillon officiated. Relatives, friends, business associates and several chess notables attended the service. Several beautiful floral pieces were sent. Interment was at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.

So thus ended a rich and fulfilled life of a wise and industrious kind man who lived life to the fullest.  He was beloved by many who came to know him.  Miss Catherine Sullivan, a friend and devoted secretary-assistant of Helms for over 35-years and associates contributed to the author in Chess Review to make this a memorable past life in American chess history–50-years ago. I thank CR for its excellence in giving me, for one, the opportunity to enrich the American chess scene for my readers.

KindredSpirit’s Fighting Chess In the Opening Stage

July 23, 2013

I am asked just what square count holds out for the opening phase of the opening, any opening, and how does it set the tone for competing effectively in an imbalanced struggle?  To show some samples from major tournaments how openings do indeed find square count valuable is herewith my attempt by reviewing some openings as played by the elite of the chess world.  It is my attempt to illustrate strategy for both sides for my readers who I hope will benefit by my teaching from move 1 recognizing that you are not a chess machine but should let you begin to grasp what good planning adds to your enjoyment of chess play by these examples chosen at random.  There is a word of warning.  Opening variations as played by these elite may well find ways to improve game play or find a variation losing its flavor merely by inciting  new ideas to try.

1. d4  d5   2. c4  c6  3.  Nc3  Nf6  4. e3  e6  5. Nf3  Nbd7  6. Qc2  Bd6  7. g4

This was a relatively new idea by White that by offering to sacrifice this pawn White will benefit from the open file. Black accepts the challenge.

7. … Nxg4  8. Rg1  Nxh2  9. Nxh2  Bxh2 10. Rxg7  Nf8  11. Rg2  Bd6 

What should White do now with s/c in mind?

12. e4

This opens up the diagonal for the Bishop, pressures the center which increases s/c. Black now activates the N with gain in s/c.

12. … Ng6  13. Bg5!  Be7  14. Bxe7  Qxe7  15. O-O-O  dxe4

On 15. … dxc4  16. Bxc4  Bd7  17. e5  Nh4  18. Rh2  O-O-O  19. Ne4  Nf5  20. Be2 and White is better.

16. Nxe4  f5  17. Nd2

What is a good strategic plan for White? The N retreat should give you a clue.  One try for Black would be 17… Bd7 (develop) 18. c5  O-O-O  19. Nc4  Kb8  20, Nd6  Nf4  21. Rg3 with good chances.

17. …c5  18. dxc5  Bd7   19. b4 O-O-O

Here Black misses the opportunity to play what s/c move?   19. … a5! 20. b5  Qxc5 and doesn’t s/c point to a better idea?  Castles looks risky because White appears to be launching a Queenside attack.  White now plans to play the Rook to the Q-side.

20. Rg3  e5!

I am a rat.  I want you to think.  Some good ideas are possible in this opening variation.  Good training.  Do you still think me a rat for leaving you in this whirlwind position with both sides slugging it out?  Chess is such a fun game!!

This is one example where I hope you start to see the value of my s/c theory.  Perhaps for the elite players who can spend hours on their chess study, my theory is not viewed highly probably but a way for any amateur or beginner to play an intelligent game with some practice.  I hope this occasional look on this series will give you food for thought in planning your own game moves and anticipate that of your opponent.  Clarity helps and that is basically what square-count offers me and hopefully will you as well as we walk the road to good chessmanship.

KindredSpirit’s A Duel in the Scheveningen Variation

July 20, 2013

Two giants of the chess board in the 1990s and thereafter produced a host of inspiring, if grueling, games from either side.  The chess of both Anand and Kasparov leaves to each of us a rich heritage that chess is alive and well.  Certainly in the United States it deserves both public and financial rewards in this field as a creative ART.

White:  Viswanathan Anand    vs.   Black:   Garry Kasparov   Opening:  Sicilian Defense, Scheveningen Variation

1.  e4  c5   2.  Nf3  d6   3.  d4  cxd4  4.  Nxd4  Nf6  5.  Nc3  a6  6. Be2   e6  7.   O-O    Be7   8. a4  Nc6   9. Be3   O-O  10.  f4  Qc7  11.  Kh1  Re8  12.  Bf3

This identical position was reached in one of my international correspondence (ICCF) games going back to the 1960s-1970s which shows the popularity of the Scheveningen as a timeless and challenging system. At move 12, both Bd3 and Bf3 I studied and elected the text which pleases me that I elected Anand’s continuation.  It reflects my theory of s/c and vying for a spatial advantage.

12.  ….  Bd7  13. Nb3  Na5  14. Nxa5  Qxa5  15. Qd3  Rad8  16.  Rfd1  Bc6  17. b4  Qc7  18. b5!  Bd7 19. Rab1  axb5  20. Nxb5

White decides on piece action instead of playing for a structured position that occurs with 20. axb5 which is a plan that probably gives Black time and leads to a different type struggle.

20. … Bxb5

Kasparov likes complex positions with lots of piece play but it cedes Anand the 2-Bishops which often suggests a positional advantage.

21. Qxb5

In P/M review Anand suggested that maybe 21. Rxb5  d5  22. e5  Nd7  23. a5 which places great stress on Black.

21. … Ra8  22. c4 e5  23. Bb6  Qc8

My readers who view this position might examine 23. … Qc6  24. Qxc6 bxc6  which might tempt a bad choice here of 25. c5  where Black has a sharp central response by 25. … d5! giving him counter-play.  Best would be 25. fxe5  dxe5  26. a5 with control over important board sectors.

24. fxe5  dxe5  25. a5  Bf8  26. h3

This adds safety for the King by vacating a square for King maneuvering.

26. … Qe6  27. Rd5

Wow!  White feels confident that yielding up the Exchange will position-wise give good chances of success.  Black could look to gaining s/c by …h5 that gives his King safety against a back-row mate.  Maybe GK simply now says: “Prove it is good!”

27. … Nxd5  28. cxd5  Qg6  29. c5  e4  30. Be2

This will effectively block any counter push of the e-pawn while letting White pawns roll-up the Queen-wing.  Anand has spotted the relative lack of mobility for Kasparov’s pieces.

30… Re5  31. Qd7  Rg5  32. Rg1  e3  33. d6  Rg3  34. Qxb7 Qe6

Hey!  Doesn’t the Rook lack defense?? What does  Black have after 35. Qxa8? The answer is a Smothered Mate!  35… Rxh3+ 36. gxh3  Qxh3++.

35. Kh2!  Black resigns. (1-0).

The complexity that arise in many Sicilian positions lend themselves to reaffirm my belief in learning all about King Pawn Games first before venturing into the likes of a Sicilian, French, Caro-Kann or what I call “The Rat” 1…g6. I coined this years ago when as a TD a pal of mine met 1. e4 with g6 and he exclaimed, “Oh, Rats!”  As far as I know it had no specific or interesting name so…

KindredSpirit Sizes Up the Defense Among the Sicilian Population– Part III

July 19, 2013

Perhaps I should mention the ATTACK feature in the Sicilian population that from the IBM event saw a very deep struggle where White seemed to please the crowd best.  Also I chose the games that were relatively short and decisive rather than long protracted struggles which the Sicilian Defense generally forecasts.  This battle is no exception as White outplayed his opponent.  What can I say?!  But I hope you will learn from the sharp ideas posed by the contestants.

White:  Vlastimil Jansa took a winding road to reach the grandmaster title.  In crucial games, he often stumbled at deciding moments on the verge of victory such as his blunder against Robert Bryne in the Olympiad.  The Czechs were beginning to wonder if he would ever make it.  But his is a story of persistence and hard work that eventually paid off and was awarded the coveted title that is the aspirant of every serious pupil of the game.

White:   V. Jansa    vs.   Black:  A. Planinc        Opening:  Sicilian Defense          IMB Tournament

1.  e4  c5   2. Nf3  e6   3.  d4  cxd4   4.  Nxd4  Nf6  5.  Nc3   d6  6. Be2   a6   7.  O-O   Nbd7

Chess mastership finds a good variety of chess stars who favor certain planned operations.  Planinc adopts an immediate Knight maneuver whereas others appear to like holding back this deployment in favor of jump moves in  the  Scheveningen variation…a6 > Be7 > Qc7 >  O-O.  The problem with deploying the Knight has some misgivings because Black can find himself with forced moves in the defense.  It can be said that one might be best served by keeping options open as a general plan than being forced into a specific set up prematurely.  Tastes can vary among players which creates an interesting variety of handling an opening position.  White increases s/c as his opening plan unfolds.

8. f4  b5 !

This deserves an !  because if he had played 8….Qc7, then White gets strong Kingside attack by 9. g4.

9. Bf3  Bb7   10. e5   Bxf3   11.  Nxf3   dxe5   12.  fxe5  Ng4  13. Qe2   Rc8  14. Bf4  Be7

It seems like Planinc had in mind a plan such as 14….Rc4 with the idea of 15.  Bg3  Qb6+  16. Kh1    that makes sense with his choice of 12…Ng4.  If White plays the weak move 15. Ne4? Nc5! with Black getting a good position.  And finally, if 14. h3  Qb6+  15. Kh1  h5!

As you can see, modern chess tactics vary from the olden days when a move like 14. …Be7 might be considered toward completing development of forces.  But as you can begin to see, both sides must stay alert and vision plans that carry out development of pieces but also have venom hidden within the framework of such plans.

15.  Rad1   Qb6+  16. Kh1   Nf8

While White has increased s/c, Black has because of the Knight play to f8 has prevented Black to perform what very important move?

17. Ng5   Nh6  18. Nge4  Nf5

S/c is 17/16 and the White men have a greater tactical position.  Once again you should evaluate the board and squares.  Looking at the position, the f7 square is weakly defended and center operations and control are White potential inroads.  Black has been blocked from castling so his King is vulnerable in the center.  Black pieces do not operate as a team or even with a plan.  The black Knight looks pretty on f5 but is now subject to a pawn attack. That is a good starting point for an aggressive plan and attack.

19. g4  Nh4   20. Bg5  Nfg6  21. Bxe7   Kxe7  22. Nd6  Qc6+  23. Kg1  Qc5+  24. Kh1 Qc6+  25. Nce4  Nxe5  26. Qe3  f6

Black has to hope for a miracle.  And Jansa per usual complies. Now, White needs to play 27. g5  >28. Qa3 winning but leaves this move out.

27. Qa3?  Rcd8??

Planinc  misses 27. …Rc7!  and the position looks quite defendable.

28. Nf5+ Black resigns. (1-0).

There are many reasons for falling off the ledge and perhaps the time clock had something to do with it.  Time pressure can be deadly. But for my readers whom I have emphasized numerous times to always keep hope alive by looking for saving moves or at least make it most difficult for the attacker may just find an occasional miracle rising from human error.

KindredSpirit Sizes up the Defense Posture Among the Sicilian Population…Part II

July 18, 2013

An exciting player who uses his own version against the Sicilian Defense, a system he developed and saw willing opponents desirous of testing his personal theories.  Herewith I give some lines during the long event for your study and joy.  An interesting observation by former World Champion Max Euwe  noted, “Winning or losing, he is always sharp.”  This seems to be a concise level for achievement which I cannot top in describing DVs performances.

White:   Drashko Velimirovic    vs.   Black:  I. Csom      Opening: Sicilian Defense

1. e4  c5  2. Nf3  d6  3. d4   Nf6  4.  Nc3  cxd4  5. Nxd4   a6  6.  Bc4   e6  7.  Bb3  Be7

Csom adopts a setup which he says is inferior to 7. …b5.

8. Be3   Nc6   9. Qe2   Qc7  10.  O-O-O     O-O

This is a crucial position in the Velimirovic Attack.  Two ideas existed at the time, both 11. Rg1 and 11. g4 where both tended to fall on draw ears. DV comes up with a new idea of his that gives the nod to Black to find a plan but opens strategic and tactical ideas which White can fight for creating an imbalance structure that opens the door to DV love for attack.

11. Kb1

The play turns tasty for both sides now.  Black has a few decent looking moves…but what is a correct choice in the present game?  Here a new term crops up, that being ‘intuition’ where a player has to get a plan formulated and he or she feels it is a correct decision.   On 11. … Bd7,  Csom  sees White having 12. g4   Nxd4  13. Bxd4  e5  14.  g5!  On other hand, if Black tries 11. … Na5, a tempo is gained by 12. g4!  But what other idea can be tried? Csom suggested 11….Rb8 might be studied.  Such a mindset crops up in many chess positions where players have to use that term ‘intuition’ in making a planned response.

11. …  b5  12.  Nxc6   Qxc6   13. Bd4  Bb7

Black choices are limited which is a danger sign that things are not going well.  For example, supposing he tries 13…b4?  Then he sees 14. Nd5 coming,  and on 14… exd5  15.  Bxf6   Bxf6   16.  Bxa8 and Black faces hardship and White should win.

14. Rhe1  Qc7

Again Black would like to play b4  but runs into 15. Nd5  exd5  16. exd5 with advantage.  But now he does threaten to play 15…b4.

15. a3   Rac8  16. f4  e5   17. fxe5 dxe5  18. Nd5!

Once again in the past turns, square-count has provided clues to a good plan.

18. … Bxd5  19. exd5 exd4  20. Qxe7  Qxh2  21. d6  Rce8

Setting the stage for the sparkling play of DV in this game.  s/c is 17/14  but the 14 is  deceptive because the count is almost worthless  in this position. White dominates the board.  The inherent weakness of the f7 square turns its ugly head again.

22. Bxf7+!!  Rxf7  23. Qxe8+  Nxe8  24. Rxe8+  Rf8  25. d7  Qd6  26. Rf1  Black  resigns (1-0).

KindredSpirit Sizes Up the Defense Posture Among the Sicilian Population (Part I)

July 16, 2013

One of the most interesting tournaments three decades ago was the IBM Tournament held in Amsterdam, Holland.  What made it so was the eleven Grandmasters who had the reputation of fighters–willing to mix it up for both the advancement of theory and to provide for the onlookers as well as the press releases, some sparkling and imaginative chess.

The first round exhibited such desire to jump into the plus column quickly, and with the combative nature of inner strength, both players in the game presented here tossed the often seen ‘play safe’ tossed out the window.  Black choses the Sicilian Defense and ignites the fire with playing the very sharp Dragon variation, a most popular defense pattern.

White:  V. Tukmakov     vs.   Black:   G. Sosonko          Opening:  Sicilian Defense–Dragon Variation

1. e4  c5  2. Nf3   d6   3. d4   cxd4   4. Nxd4  Nf6  5. Nc3   g6  6. f3  Bg7  7.  Be3   Nc6  8. Qd2  O-O  9. Bc4  Bd7  10. O-O-O  Rc8

Sosonko adopted the line that promised fairly good counter-play for the middle game.  An alternate try is 10. …Qa5  11. h4  Rfc8  12. Bb3  Ne5  13. h5 gives White time to build an attack on the King-side.

11. Bb3  Ne5  12.  h4  h5

This was a specialty of Sosonko and  a U.S. chess star, Andy Soltis .  Kavalek questions whether it was necessary.

13. Kb1 

This has much to recommend it. It adds safety to the King position after which he can begin to concentrate on a King-side roll-up.

13. … Nc4  14. Bxc4  Rxc4   15. Nb3   Qc7  16. Bd4!

In this variation, Black often gets good counter-play by Rxc3 which this move now discourages as the fianchetto Bishop diagonal is neutralized.

16. … Be6  17. g4  Rfc8  18. gxh5  Nxh5  19. Rdg1  Kh7  20. Bxg7   Kxg7  21. Nd4  Qc5  22. Nce2  Ra4  23. b3  Ra6  24. Rg5  Qa3  25. Nc1

White deploys the least number of units necessary for defense of the King position. Both sides endeavor to grow their s/c total.

25. …Rc5  26. Rhg1

White’s pressure is becoming too much for the black defense.  Now, if Black plays to exchange Rooks, White has a powerful rejoinder in 27. Ne6+! fxe6  28. Qxg5 and Black is left in a naked state.  So, Black tries to salvage something with….

26. … Bd7  27. Nf5+  Bxf5  28. Rxh5  Bh3  29. Qh6+ Kf6  30. Qf4+  Ke6  31. Rh7  f6  32. Qg3  f5  33. Qxh3  Black Resigns. (1-0).

The popularity of fianchettoing the King Bishop always carries with it the loss of dark square coverage should it be put in the box due to an exchange.  Often the result seen is like a hot knife in butter…the position often melts.  One attack mode in finding this situation requires alert  play always while taking into account the defense of this piece around which often is seen plans for its demise by enemy forces.

KindredSpirit’s Kaleidoscope: Reporting–It Stinks

July 14, 2013

The events of the past days of this TV and media trashing of our laws and courts turns me off.  So, please don’t ask me to give a critique on the whole mess.  President Obama chimed in to put his face on TV.  The characters in the stories all had a say.  Personally who would want to be associated with the jerking around of our judicial system?

The actors in this both were in a location that had violence, robberies, break-ins, a store Seven Eleven as I recall that has to be suspect as a dumping ground of drugs.  While only one brief mention of this lad having pot or other drugs on his bed and stupidly took pictures of it as joy high went virtually unanswered by the media, one has to tip his hat (I don’t wear one but I would if I did) to this young volunteer who braved the area that was plagued with corruption and was ruining the community.  Was there any wonder why he carried a pistol?

The police and law enforcement said he was justified and no charges were made. But Jackson, the Black Panthers, the likes of that deadbeat who was caught not paying his fair share of taxes (you know who I mean) all went on TV and screamed bloody murder that brought into the streets a host of folks who have a nose blow or tear wipe for every sad story and left-wing nut case who follow every cause, giving them a spotlight on the nightly news just to continue beating our American heritage under feet. As a consequence, two good honest public officials lost their jobs.

I just saw on TV the prosecuting woman had refused to give the defense documents which is a violation of law. So much for conducting trials on TV and misinforming both the public viewers as well as the Zimmerman defense team. Justice…it stinks!!

What about the woman police officer who turned her K9 dog loose that bit a burglar (two in fact) and found to be illegal aliens to boot.  The Justice Department brought charges against her and she was imprisoned for ten years. That was another trial conducted by the liberal establishment and by a prosecutor looking for brownie points.  It has happened all around the country, similar attacks on any cop who does his or her job whenever a minority can be upheld as being deprived of their rights.  NO MATTER THE CRIME.

I really don’t care because our politicians do nothing; the government bodies that are supposed to protect American citizens do nothing; and those who bad mouth America around the world sit in the highest office in the land except when he is out on the golf course with his ESPN cronies.

No! I really do not want to give a hoot until the country wakes up and the bums whomever they happen to be are fired, die, go to jail or leave the country.

KindredSpirit’s Chess Special: Blackboard Jungle ala– Slav Treat

July 14, 2013

White:  A. Saidy    vs.   Black:  K. Rogoff       Opening:  Slav Defense   1974 U.S. Chess Championship, Chicago

1.  Nf3  Nf6  2. c4   c6

This happened to be my own favorite way of entering a Slav system.  See my game versus Brig. Gen. Frank S. Clark from 1952 postal.

3.  Nc3  d5  4. e3  e6  5.  b3   Bd6  6. Bb2  O-O  7. Be2  Nbd7  8. d4  dxc4! 9. bxc4  e5  10. O-O  exd4  11. exd4 

Black answers the standard transposition 8. d4 with the energetic pawn exchange that leaves White with the famous “hanging pawns.” As a consequence, Black has a potential pawn structure edge of handing White 3-pawn islands versus his 2-pawn islands that  represents a plus in position.

11. … Re8

Black increases square-count which indicates a central spatial edge.  Furthermore, it gives the black monarch extra mobility and, too, that of the Knight.

12. Re1  Nf8  13. Qd3  Bg4  14.  h3  Bh5  15. Nh4  Bxe2  16. Rxe2 

Best.  If 16. Nxe2  Ne4  17. Nf5 ?  Qf6!

16. … Ne6!

Black needs to get some threats going and finds it with this sharp idea threat: 17…Nf4  18. Rxe8+ Nxe8.  Also, he has another threat in the guise of 17… Nxd4  18. Qxd4  Bh2+ winning the Queen.  Correct now is 17. Nf5  Bf8  18. Qg3  g6 with better chances than the text.

17. g3

This slow move is okay but leaves his position somewhat stale.

17. …  Bf8  18. Nf3

Not really a bad move but if you think square-count, doesn’t 18. Rd1 seem more dynamic and thus give the favorable impression of leading to an imbalance not unfavorable in my view.  Rogoff also considered this as a strong alternative.

18. … Qa5  19. Re5  Qa6  20. Ne2  Rad8  21.  a4

This appears to have a two point motive.  It is aimed at discouraging b5 and at the same time blocking the Queen to the Q-side a-file.  Black has time for a tactic weapon called regrouping forces.

21. … Nd7  22. Re3  Nb6  23. Nd2   Nxa4!

The threat of one thing or another usually means gaining ground toward a clear edge in material, position, or both.

24. Qc2  b5   25. d5  Nec5

You have to keep your mind on the game.  Think of Yogi’s, “It ain’t over til it’s over.”  If you were thinking …cxd5? 26. cxb5 wins a piece.

26. Rxe8   Rxe8  27. Nd4   cxd5  28. Nxb5  Qb7!

If now, 29. Rxa4  Nxa4 30. Qxa4  a6  31. Nd4  Re1+  32. Nf1  Qxb2

29. Bd4  a6  30. Nc3  Nxc3  31. Qxc3  Ne6  32. cxd5  Nxd4  33. Qxd4  Rd8  34. Nf1  Rxd5  35. Qe4  Qb5  36. Rxa6 ? Rd1  White resigns(0-1).

With the double attack on the Knight, the battle is over.  It was necessary to play 36. Ne3 where Black’s a-pawn should prove decisive after many moves.  For example, 36. …Rd6 and the extra passed pawn should win.

What is seen and learned from this game?  White’s quiet line gave him a slight pull but permitted Black the opportunity to create an imbalance and at the same time gain a favorable pawn structure.  Both sides jabbed and danced trading interesting plans.  I suspect Black had the better chances since he established some threats.  White does not appear to have found anything that forced Black’s play.  Time trouble appears to play a role but at what point toward the end did it manifest itself?  In all, a very interesting fight by both maturing young players.

Kindred’s Special: Ruy Lopez — Ancients and Moderns Meet via The Berlin Defense

July 8, 2013

The Ruy Lopez has been around for a long time, having believed to be founded at least on a grand scale by the Spanish Priest who writers and players of his day named as the principal exponent and product of his written material.  The American, Arthur Bisguier, was a principal advocate of the likewise ancient defense called The Berlin Defense to the Ruy Lopez.  This defensive plan for which there are a number of variations that fit in that category of honorable and time-tested opening book analysis by advocates in over-the-board as well as via correspondence play gave it life among a devoted list of players.  Still, its defensive posture lacked zip that numerous alternative systems against the Ruy Lopez appeared to offer.  Thus, it was adopted often as a side-line weapon for surprise.  But to my knowledge it was never condemned as a bad choice and found acceptance in one form or another by its fan club.

It became a weapon of choice among a small group of players in modern times that saw Tony Miles, Karel Mokry, Ivan Sokolov, Kramnik and Topalov and  post Kramnik by Leko,  Ponomaariov and Ivanchuk who essay it occasionally in their games and I am sure a database search will turn up many examples and additional players.

One particular variation that causes great publicity occurred in the World Championship Match between World Champion Garry Kasparov and his challenger Vladimir Kramnik.  The name took on life as the Berlin Endgame Variation.  The champion was unable to solve the defensive strategies employed by Kramnik and the world thus saw the rise of a new Champion of the World.  Naturally, the result produced an abundance of games in that system, much analysis devoted to it, and all of this simply enriched the whole system adding fodder for both sides of the board.

1. e4  e5  2. Nf3  Nc6  3. Bb5  Nf6  4. O-O  Nxe4  5. d4  Nd6 6. Bxc6.

Here is where history is seen in the earlier part of the position.  Dr. Emmanuel Lasker advocated this defense in his Commonsense in Chess favoring the bxc6 reply and after 7. dxe5 retreating the Knight to b7 for which he offered up some convincing reasons and play.  As a result, the chess community went to work on finding and proving that this defensive line was insufficient for equality.  I am sure there will be in the future some effort made to find flaws in current theory on it that again will make it a plausible line for Black.  In a former Marchand Open, I played it against US master Alex Dunne for surprise and he played the recommended moves that bested me. DARN!

6. … dxc6  7. dxe5  Nf5  8. Qxd8+  Kxd8

This occurred in Kasparov vs. Kramnik and many earlier games.  The question is, HOW SHOULD BLACK DEPLOY THE MOVED KING which is in the central files? Refer my lesson and comments on having the King caught in the center files.  As Susan Polgar noted in her analysis,  White is for choice having earlier viewed 9. b3 and 9. Nc3 as potential plans.  On 9. Nc3, Black has a number of replies: 9. …h6, 9…Ne7, 9….Bd7, 9….Ke8, 9…Be7, 9…Be6, or 9….a5 have been tested. She goes on to say that one doesn’t often see a position where so many different ideas yield no clarity exists to any for a judgment currently.  The side that better understands endgame play has a chance to come out on top or at least a draw.

9. Nc3  Ke8  10. h3  h6  11. b3  a5  12. Bb2  Bb4  13. Ne2  h5! 14. Nf4  a4  (15. Nd3  Be7  16. Nd2  h4 =) 15. a3? Be7  16. b4  Rh6  Black is better and went on to win the game in Mainka vs. Dautov;

9. Nc3  Ke8  10. b3  a5  11. Bb2  Bb4  12. Ne4  a4  13. a3  Be7  14. b4  Bc6  15. Rfe1  Rd8  16. Rad1  b6  17. h3  h5  18. Rxd8+ Kxd8  19. Bc1 (Neg5 is better) ..Bd5  20. Bg5 Bxg5  21. Nexg5  Re8  22. Rd1  Kc8  23. Re1  Rd8  24. Rc1  f6  25. exf6  gxf6  26. c4  fxg5  27. cxd5  Rxd5  28. Nxg5? Nd4 29. Rc4  b5  30. Rc5  Rxc5  31. bxc5  b4  32. Ne4  bxa3  33. Nc3  Ne2+ (0-1). Sedina vs. Miles.

9. Nc3  Ne7  10. h3  Ng6  11. Be3  Be7  12. Rad1+ Ke8  13. a3  h5  14. Rfe1  h4  15. Nd4  a6  f4  Rh5  17. Ne4  Bd7 (17…c5 18. Ne2  b618. c4 a5  19. c5  a4  20. Rc1  f5  21. exf6e.p. Bxf6  22. f5  Ne7  23. Nxf6+ gxf6 24. Bf4 White is slightly better but the game was drawn in 47 moves.  Kasimdzhanov vs. Topalov.

When examining these games, did you notice the theory of square count being applied in many of the positions?  The opening is excellent training for playing these endgames from either side.  The importance of squares and situation of the opposing Kings make it a good training session that will enable you to begin to see that even boring looking endgames can be delightful and challenging.