Archive for February, 2014

Kindred’s Special: The Sicilian Closed Variation code B23/24/25

February 23, 2014

Boris Spassky played the type of chess game that both entertained and educated me in the fine art of attack and defense.  His diverse opening knowledge made him one of the most feared Grandmasters in his prime years of the 60s and 70s with scalps gained from Petrosian, Fischer, Korchnoi, Tal, Portisch, Reshevsky, Geller and Larsen.

Candidates Match 1/2 final, Game 7, Malmoe 1968

White:  Boris Spassky    vs    Black:  Bent Larsen

Opening:  Sicilian Closed B25

1. e4  c5  2. Nc3  d6  3. g3  g6  4. Bg2  Bg7  5. d3  Nc6  6. f4 e6  7. Nf3  Nge7  8. O-O  O-O  9. Bd2  Rb8  10. Rb1  b5  11. a3  11….f5. 12. Be3  Qc7  13. Bf2  Kh8  14. Re1  b4  15. a:b4  c:b4  16. Ne2  f:e4  17. d:e4  e5  18. Qd2  Be6  19. Nc1 (>Nd3)  20. N:e5.

Not quite accurate is 20. Ng5  Bg8  21. e:d5  N:d5  22. B:d5?  Rbd8 with a tiny edge.

20. … N:e5   21. f:e5

Smyslov, a known specialist in the Sicilian Closed says 21. e:d5?  Nc4  22. d6  N:d2  23. d:c7  Rbe8  24. Ra1  B:b2  25. R:a7  Nc8 and Black is better.

21. … d:e4  22. B:e4  Rbd8  23. Nd3  a5  24. Qe2  Bc4  25. Qe3  Nf5  26. Qc5  Q:c5  27. B:c5  Rfe8  28. Bb6  Rb8  29. Bc7  Rbc8  30. B:a5  Nd4 31. Nf2  Bf8  32. Bb6  Ne2+  33. Kg2  R:e5  34. Rbd1  Re6  35. Be3  Rce8  36. Rd2  R:e4   37. N:e4  R:e4  38. Re:e2  B:e2  39. R:e2  Bg7  40. Kf3  Rc4  41. b3   Rc3  42. Ke4  h5  43. Kd5  Rc8  44. Bc5  Bc3  45. Re7  Rd8+  46. Bd6  Kg8  47. Rb7  Bg7  48. Rb8!  Resigns (1-0).

Avoiding 48. R:b4?? R:d6+ 49. K:d6 Bf8+.

Spassky played the Closed Sicilian 11 times in Soloviov’s Boris Spassky’s 400 selected games, handling the system in various ways.  The next game is totally different from the above game.

White:  Boris Spassky   vs   Black:   Hjartarson

Sicilian Defense – Closed Variation

World Cup,  Belfort  1988

1. e4  c5  2. Nc3  Nc6  3. g3  g6  4. Bg2  Bg7  5. d3  e6  6. Be3  Nd4?!  7.  Nce2!  b6?

This adventure by Black’s Knight is somewhat questionable in that it violates the principle of not moving the same piece twice in the opening stage unless forced through some threat.  So is this also true of White’s Knight retreat to e2?  One might call it academic but 7. Nce2 deserves ! because it’s retreat threatens to challenge the Knight outpost by the c-pawn.  It also carries with it the tactical point in that if now, 7… N:e2  8. N:e2  B:b2  9. Rb1  Bg7  10. B:c5  Qa5+  11. Bb4  Q:a2  12. O-O.  In this line, 8…d6 instead is met by strengthening the center with 9. c3.  In both cases, White is better developed.

8. B:d4  c:d4  9. e5  Rb8  10. f4  f6  11.  Nf3  f:e5  12.  f:e5  Qc7  13. Ne:d4  B:e5  14. Qe2  B:d4

If 14. … Bg7, White goes for active central play. Visualize a plan like,  15. Nb5  Qc5  16. d4  Qb4+  17. c3  Qe7 18. Qc4 with White pressure building upon Black’s answers.

15. N:d4  Qc5  16. Nb3  Qg5  17. O-O  Ne7  18. Rae1  Rf8  19. Nd2!  R:f1+  20. R:f1  Nf5  21. Nc4  Ke7?

This turns out bad because,  22. g4  b5 (Nh4  23. Qf2  Qe5  24. d4  Q:c4  25. Qf8#) ; 22….Nd6  23. Qf2  Ne8  24. d4  Ba6 25. Ne5+ and Black defense cannot hold.  23. g:f5  b:c4  24. Qe5  Resigns. (1-0).

The final example is from the Spassky-Fischer rematch.

White:  Boris Spassky   vs.   Black:  Robert J. Fischer

Rematch 20 years later–Game 20

Belgrade  1992

1. e4  c5  2.  Ne2  Nf6  3. Nbc3  e6  4. g3  Nc6 5. Bg2  Be7

Spassky playing Black in game 23 played 5….d5  6. e:d5  e:d5  7. d3  Be7  8. Bg5  d4  9. B:f6  B:f6  10. Ne4  Be7  11. Nf4  O-O.

6. O-O  d6  7. d3  a6  8. a3  Qc7  9. f4  b5  10. Kh1  O-O  11. Be3  Bb7 (Bd7)  12. Bg1  Rab8.

Other moves have been tried here: 12….Kh8!?; 12. …Rfe8;  12….Rcc8–all seeming to fall short of equality.

13. h3  Ba8  14. g4  b4 (Kh8!?)  15. a:b4  c:b4  16. Na4  Nd7  17. Qd2  Rfc8  18. b3!  a5  19. g5  Bf8  20. Ra2  Ne7?!

Perhaps missing any opportunity to complicate things by 20…Nd8  21. Nd4 g6  22. Nb2  e5! but 21. Ng3  g6  22. Be3  Bg7 23. Qf2 keeps the slight edge.

21. Nd4  g6

A bit slow. 21… Nc5 may have been more problematic according to some.  But Fischer wants to reposition his Bishop on the long diagonal h8-a1.

22. Nb2  Bg7  23. Nc4  d5  24. N:a5  d:e4  25. d:e4  e5  26. Ne2  e:f4  27. N:f4  Ne5

Black is in a pickle to find a worthy defense.  So is it close to a Zugswang position?  Probably.  Like Dr. Marchand used to say: You play different, you lose different! But he tries a little arsenic because if now, 28. Nd5? N:d5 29. e:d5  Rb5!

28. Nd3!  Rb5  29. N:e5  Q:e5  30. Nc4  Q:g5  31. Be3  Qh4  32. Nd6  Bc3  33. Qf2  Q:f2  34. R:f2  Rbb8  35. N:c8  R:c8  36. Ra7  Kf8  37. Bh6+!  Ke8  38. Bg5  f6  39. B:f6  B:f6  40. R:f6  Bc6  41. Kg1  Bd7  42. Rd6  Bc6  43. Bf1  Resigns. (1-0).

So concludes a little trip around the 64 squares examining different possible defensive plans over a two decade period with White choosing the Closed Variation against the Sicilian deployment.  There have been many such games illustrating the types of patterns both players can utilize in plans that are alike or come through as quite different yet I categorize as a part of the Closed Variation.

Kindred’s Special: Accepted Blessings for Donations

February 18, 2014

Some family readers of my website have expressed appreciation and as I note that I do not accept donations for your enjoyment which is just a blessing to have you as friends.  That is reward enough for me.  If you feel in the spirit for giving, you would honor me by donating to the following because their needs are varied and great.

Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes

P. O. Box  96440

Washington, DC  20090-6440

(888) 447-2588

The Coalition’s Emergency Financial Aid Program provide services and aid to wounded veterans and their families. At this winter season, the families are in much need.  You can also volunteer by addressing concerns to church members, neighbors, and business groups.  Any financial support, no matter the amount, would be appreciated and mean so much as I am sure the Coalition team can use the funds where best needed.

The miracles performed by our great medical teams in saving lives of soldiers faced with a host of varied wounds and mental disorders brought on by weapons of modern war is a blessing because they live.  But in such blessing, these veterans and their families require patience, love and prayer.  Those who lost their lives for our country have families that share in this need and  have only many fond memories of their loved ones.

***          ***

USO ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP CAMPAIGN, P.O. BOX 96860, WASHINGTON, DC 20077-7677 has been a favorite of mine since 1981. Hope you consider helping either or both because they are the very best way to show support of our military and to give thanks for their commitment to our troops everywhere./Don.

Of Psalm 27

The Lord is my light and my salvation–whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of my life–of whom shall I be afraid?

Of Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be of want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,  besides still waters–

He restores my soul.

He guides me in paths of righteousness for his Name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.

For you are with me; your rod and staff comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life.

And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Of Psalm 1

Blessed is the man or woman who do not walk in the counsel of the wicked,

or stand with the way of sinners or seated with mockers.

They delight of the holy law  of the Lord,

And on his law they meditate day and night with prayer

They are like trees planted in a well kept garden by streams of running water,

yielding their fruit in season.

They prosper in the blessing of God’s love.

Not so the wicked!

They are like chaff that the wind blows away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand at the Judgment but perish.

nor will sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

Repent and be saved sayeth the Lord thy God.

No one knows the exact time of the end.

Kindred’s Special: Canadian GM Kevin Spraggett Found Happiness in Spain

February 17, 2014

Ten years ago the Spanish city of Seville held a grand open tournament over January 9-17, 2004.  Canada’s Kevin Spraggett edged out on tie-break GM Daniel Campora (Argentina) and GM Vladimir Epishin (Germany) in the final round 9 with a masterful achievement over IM I. Khamrakulov from Uzbekistan.

White:  GM Kevin Spraggett   vs.   Black:  IM  I. Khamrakulov

Opening:  Sicilian Defense = The O’Kelly Variation  2…a6

Seville, Spain Open Tournament 2004

1. e4  c5   2.  Nf3  a6

The objective of the O’Kelly is to meet 3. d4  c:d4  4. N:d4  Nf6  5. Nc3  e5 that hopefully meets 6. Nf5 d5! or 6. Nb3 Bb4 with good play out of the opening.  Spraggett chooses to initiate the Maroczy Bind that suits his positional style.

3. c4

3. … Nc6  4. d4  c:d4  5. N:d4  e6  6. Nc2

I have pointed out that moving a piece more than once in the opening could lead to lost tempi with a plus in square count for the opponent.  This move has a clear purpose. It stops exchange and also blunts an active …Bb4.

6.  …  Bc5

This move was a favorite of Dr. Marchand for a time and certainly fits my square count planning. Another idea is to set up a hedgehog type defense which has it’s merits also.

7. Be3  d6  8.  Nc3  Nf6  9. Be2  Qc7  10.  O-O  O-O   11.  Bg5  Nd7  12. a3  h6  13. Bh4  Re8  14. Kh1!

This switch to the corner foretells a plan for a King-side attack and regroup toward an aggressive posture.

14.  …. Nce5  15.  f4  Ng6   16. Bg3  Nf6  17. Bd3  Bd7

Avoiding what might appear to be a logical 17….b6 intending to fianchetto the Bishop.  If this was your thought, then 18. b4 wins a piece.  Stay alert and think before moving.  The negative side effect of this move though is it clogs movement by the Knight from repositioning to d7.  Now, White expands square count on the Q-side gaining a spatial superior position.

18. b4 !   Ba7

Marchand played this same idea though earlier against me and wound up in trouble.  Perhaps it is a sign that Black is slowly finding active defense is becoming a burden. White drives in the center with the pawn advance; Black sees he cannot safely recapture the e-pawn.

19. e5!  d:e5  20. f:e5  Nd7  21. Ne4  N:e4  22. Nd6  N:d3  23. Q:d3  Rf8  24. N:f7  e5  25. N:h6+  Kh8  26. Nf7+  Kg8  27. B:e5 Qc6  28. Qg3  g5   29. N:g5  Qg6  30. Nf7 Black Resigns  (1-0).

KindredSpirit’s Kaleidoscope: The Revolutionary Times of Martha Washington

February 17, 2014

I saw on the television news about our wondrous so called experts on US Presidents’ First Ladies.  These so-called scholars omit her through past and present listings as being among the ten most influential and useful First Ladies serving their hubbies in memorable ways.  I shall not argue with the list presented.  They have their right to say whom they consider should be on the list of the ten most influential women who served with their husbands.  It grieves me that Martha Washington was omitted many times from mention on these scholarly occasions.

Where would I put her?  At the very top with George!  I point to the excellent biography by Ron Chernow who wrote in length covering a fair portion of the 900+ page historic record of this first couple of our Nation.  She was quietly functioning behind the scenes for a very good reason.  George Washington was heading the Revolt against England and his worry was always the safety of Martha and the children.  And what of Martha’s thoughts?  Her husband was the number one the British wanted to capture.  It was perilous times, my friends!  Despite the threat of losing the war at any time, and the need for her husband to be away with his troops and keeping abreast of his spying operations, especially in the city of New York and New England area, she traveled and lived in Philadelphia and even joined him during the winter crisis facing the troops and nation’s very survival.  Certainly in those many days and nights when Washington often got bad news filtering in, it was the presence of First Lady Martha Washington that most likely kept up the fighting spirit of George.

Not very much is known of all the activities in which Martha was engaged, helping the other wives, perhaps aiding the ill and interceding when even his officers and some members of the Congress were disenchanted with failings of military operations.  She probably was very much aware of what was going on and kept such disheartening news from her husband.  And of course there was the death of two children of Martha’s from a previous marriage which affected her as all family deaths do.  All this, with the war of uncertain conclusion, put on hold for what was recorded as one of the worst winters and freezing cold to hit the east coast.  And Martha was not sitting in some hot tub with servants but by her husband as often as they could be together. Personally, I think without Martha, George would not have proved the great warrior and fighter he was.

I really hope some of these scholars of history read this.  Anybody know some of them because no names were released as far as I know of the bunch who sit in their ivory towers and visit those cafes in chic areas of Washington and elsewhere, sipping their $50 cocktails with plush dinners and have no worries of a British invasion killing them or hanging them from a tree.

Kindred’s Special: Self-Sabotage of American Ingenuity

February 15, 2014

Personally I do not like trend setters.  They abhor my soul.  But I pulled a book long ago read and recall LOSING THE RACE by John H. McWhorter, once read, felt some hope for the future of race relations, for strong family ties, and a bonding of our culturally mixed race nation. Another book coming later that I fully enjoyed was COME ON PEOPLE by Cosby and  Alvin F.  Poussaint, M.D.  There may be other books but these are the ones I consumed with my usual spirit.

I guess I blame poor governance up and down the line having been the cause of problems from the birth of our Nation to present times and probably will be experienced in different ways as social tinkers come, fade, and leave a propaganda trail down the road of today’s body of fools on both sides of a winding track.  Those who shout the loudest are social communists who emerged out of the 30s and 40s and gave birth to a whole body of red babies who, with their leftwing agendas spirited by the friendly term PROGRESSIVE, continue to stir the pot of disenchantment for capitalism which brought prosperity for the masses unlike the failed former USSR.  There are squeaks now that say the US needs a new direction, a new political force to emerge and bury capitalism.  That certainly was the intent of Barack H. Obama with full backing of the socialized media and leftwing Hollywood crowd.

What is the agenda?  It is to make good appear evil or out of favor in social menus.  It drives to cut debate.  It thrives on deception, outright lies and propaganda twists where the big con is to say it enough to make it seem believable and thus a truism.  It exists in a false world where so called elite fracture on purpose all reference of biblical teachings in legal and national entities.  It dictates the medical field.  It approves of drug legalization giving erroneous assumptions of consequences and proved out time and again by government mismanaged schemes to raise money.  Keep the masses ignorant and dissatisfied and you control them.  It is not the American way unless we let it consume us.

Kindred’s Special: Canada Attracts European Chess Stars

February 15, 2014

In 1959 newly arrived IM  Zvonko Vranesic from Yugoslavia played a 5-game match with Frank Anderson losing 3-2.  Anderson won the first and second games and with great effort the Yugoslav nailed down with brilliant play games three and four to pull even.  The fifth game followed the next game of the match.

White:   Frank Anderson   vs.   Black:   Zvonko  Vranesic

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Opening:   Sicilian Defense

Chess Match–4th Game

1. e4  c5  2.  Nf3   a6   3.  c4   e6   4.  d4   c:d4    5.   N:d4   Nf6   6.  Nc3   Qc7   7.  a3   Nc6   8.  Be3   Ne5   9.  f3   Be7  10.  Rc1   O-O   11.  Be2   Ng6  12.  g3   b6  13. O-O   Bb7   14.  Qe1   Rac8   15.  Qf2   Ne5  16.  Na4

This Knight journey to the a-file fits a plan to prepare an assault on the Queenside.  But the tempo is slow for carrying it out.

16. … Bd6   17.  b4

Anderson methodically prepares to launch an invasion on the Queenside but appears to miss the tactics that Black has prepared on the center and kingside.  Such battle preparations and planning in real warfare is deadly whereas on the field of battle covering the 64 squares, the result can either strengthen a player’s resolve and show while a battle can be lost, the war is yet to be decided.  Black strikes first and this makes all the difference.

17. ….  Neg4!!  18.  f:g4  N:e4

Completely ripping open the center and where oh where is my Knight to aid central protection?  It sits on the wing.  How often do players ask similar questions and conclude a wet noodle answer?

19.  Qe1  N:g3   20.  h:g3   B:g3   21.  Rf2  f5!

Black is playing Tal-like.  Energy has to build and pawns play a role with the human relying on an intuitive feel coming from that energy.

22.  g5   f4  23.  Bd2  f3

Who ever said, “The lust of a passed pawn to expand!”

24.  Bd3  Bh4   25.  Qe3  Qg3+  26.  Kf1  Rf4  27.  N:b6  Qh3+   28.  Ke1  Re4

Another point of my square count: the f1-square must be guarded.

29.  Q:e4   B:e4  30. Bf1  B:f2+  31. K:f2  Qh4+  32. Ke3  Rf8  33.  Rd1  e5   34.  Bc3  e:d4+  35.  B:d4  Bc2  36. Rc1  Qf4+  37. Kf2  Q:d4+ (0-1).

Just imagine the physical and mental state of match players arriving for the final game.  One who won in brilliant fashion and the loser who had to suffer the bitter taste of defeat.

White:   Zvonko Vranesic   vs.  Black:  Frank Anderson

Opening:   English Opening

Toronto, Ontario,  Canada

1959 Match Game 5

1. c4  Nf6  2.  Nc3   e6   3.  e4   c5   4.  f4  Nc6  5.  Nf3  d5  6.  e5  d4  7.  Nb5  Nd7  8.  Bd3  a6  9.  Na3  Be7  10.  Be4  Qc7  11. O-O  f5  12. e:f6  N:f6  13.  B:c6+ Q:c6  14. Ne5  Qc7  15. Qa4+  Nd7  16. d3  O-O  17. Nf3  Rb8  18. Qd1  Bd6  19. Qe2  e5  20. b4  b6  21. Rb1  e:f4   22. b:c5  N:c5  23.  N:d4  Bb7  24. Bb2  Rbe8  25. Qg4  N:d3  26. Ne6  Qd7  27. Rbd1  R:e6  28. R:d3  Qe7  29. Rd5  f3!  30. B:g7

If White grabs the pawn 30. R:f3?  Re1+  31. Kf2  Qe2 Mate.

30. … Rg6  31.  Qd4  R:g2+  32. Kh1  R:h2+  33. Kg1  f2+ White Resigns  (0-1).





Kindred’s Special: A Rare Look at Antonio Ferreira’s Sicilian Specialty

February 14, 2014

There are so many opening variations in the Sicilian that it is hard for me to imagine spotting a whole new concept as a White weapon. Yet, Kevin Spraggett does so in the Metz Open 2005 against Didier  Collas.  His brother-in-law, Antonio Ferreira’s enthusiasm for this idea over many years compelled the Grandmaster to add it to his repertoire and publish his findings in his chess  column.

White:   Kevin Spraggett   vs.  Black:   Didier Collas

Metz Open  2005

Opening:   Sicilian Defense (Portuguese Variation)

1.  e4   c5   2.  Nf3   d6  3.  d4   c:d4   4.  N:d4   Nf6   5.  Nc3   a6   6.  Bg5   e6   7.  Qe2  This is the move that was deeply explored in Spraggett’s  Chess Corner column for August 2005. I am just giving the key game.

7. ….  Be7  8.  f4 !  h6  9.  Bh4  N:e4   10.  B:e7   N:c3   11.  Qc4 !    K:e7   12.  Q:c3

A question of taste but Kevin has played this position many times with excellent results.   White gives up a pawn for development and the King will be pressed to find a safe haven.

12. … Re8   13.  O-O-O

Even though  this is good, perhaps 13. Qa3   Qb6  14. O-O-O  Qc5  15. Qf3  Kf8  16. g4 is worth study.

13. … Kf8  14.  Bc4    d5  15.  Bb3   Nd7   16. Rhe1   Nf6  17. Kb1  Kg8.

The Kings maneuver for safety.  White must attack.

18.  g4 !  N:g4   19.  Rg1  e5  20. f:e5   R:e5   21. Qg3  Re3  22. Qg2   Re4  23. Ne2 !  Qg5 24. Nc3  Ne3  25. Q:g5  h:g5  26. N:e4  N:d1  27.  N:g5.

Missed here is the sharp 27.  R:d1 !  d:e4   28.  Rd8+ Kh7  29. B:f7    e3   30.  Kc1  and it is all over.

27. … Ne3  28. Re1  d4  29.  N:f7

And White has an endgame advantage and won resignation from his opponent after move 64.

Kindred Special: The Canadian Knights Dance the Tango

February 13, 2014

Years come and go and so do thoughts about what this board game called chess contributes to my spirit.  I came across some games from Canada that gives life to those wooden pieces; it reminds me of a club player at home who just loved his Knights. He swore that they were what made chess the romantic game it is.  He distained the Bishop-pair that lectures, books and positional chess writers cranked out in numerous illustrations that Bishops disclosed positional advantages.  He would tell me furiously that the ‘bad Bishop’ was a point where you never heard anyone ever claim a ‘bad Knight’ because it’s movement made allowance for it to be of future use.  That comes with FAITH he told me.

Here is a game from Lone Pine, 1978, where Canadian Duncan Suttles gives the teacher of chess lessons a real life lesson. This is an example of the power of the Bishops while the Knights do the Tango!

White:   Jeremy Silman    vs.   Black:   Duncan Suttles

Opening:   The Rat – (1…g6)

1.  e4   g6  2.  d4   d6  3.  Nc3   a6   4.  a4   Bg7   5.  Nf3   Bg4   6.  Be3   Nc6  7.  Be2  e5  8.  d5   Nce7  9.  Nd2   Bc8  10. O-O  f5

One might call Duncan Suttles  a sidewinder when it came to classical chess positions.  His attacking skill is honed to a fine edge so I guess I could justly call his play as unique.  He liked to fianchetto his King’s Bishop.

11.  f4  e:f4   12.  B:f4  Nf6  13.  Bc4  O-O  14.  e5  Ng4   15.  Nf3  d:e5  16.  Bg5.

Black has,  if White had chosen 16.  d6+  Kh8  17.  d:e7  Q:e7  18.  Bg5  Qc5+ winning the Bishop.  Getting rid of the d and e pawns opens lines where square count will play a role.

16. …  Kh8  17.  h3  Nf6   18.  N:e5   Qd6   19.  Bf4   Qb6+  20. Kh1  Nh5  21.  Bh2  f4  22.  d6  c:d6  23.  Nf7+  R:f7  24.  B:f7  Nf5

25. Re1  Bd7  26.  Nd5  Qf2  27.  Ra3   Rf8  28. Be6  B:e6   29. R:e6  Nhg3+ 30. B:g3  N:g3+ 31. Kg2  Nf1+  32. Kh1 Bd4 33. Ne3 B:e3  34. Re:e3  N:e3 White Resigns (0-1).

The next game is an example of Knights cooperating in a nice checkmate.

White:   Kevin Spraggett  vs.  Black:  Desautels

Opening:  Queen’s Indian Defense

1. c4  Nf6  2.  Nc3  e6   3. Nf3  b6   4.  e4   c5   5.  e5  Ng8  6.  d4  Ne7

The black Knight makes three moves and helps to smother the King’s mobility.

7.  Bg5   h6

Now the Knights dance a foxtrot around the dance floor.

8.  Nb5  d5   9.  e:d6   h:g5  10.  Nc7+  Kd7   11.  Ne5+  K:d6  12.  Nb5 checkmate.  (1-0).

White:   Lawrence Day  vs.  Peter Nurmi

Hypermodern Classic Defense

1.  e3   g6  2.  Ne2   Bg7   3.  g3   d5   4.  Bg2  Nf6  5.  f4   Nc6  6.  a3   e5   7. O-O  h5  8.  b4  h4  9.  b5   Na5  10.  Bb2  Nc4  11. B:e5  N:e5  12.  f:e5   Ng4   13. Nbc3  N:h2   14.  B:d5  N:f1  15. Q:f1  O-O   16. d4  Bh6  17. Ne4  B:e3+  18. Kh2  h:g3+  19. K:g3  Be6  20.  Qf3  B:d5  21. Nf6+  Kg7  22. Q:e3  Rh8  23. Qd3  Qc6  24. Nf4!

Day has kept his Knights and now makes excellent use of them.

24.  …  c6   25.  c4  Be6  26.  d5  c:d5  27.  c:d5   Bf5  28.  Qd4

Centralizing the Queen where it sweeps the rank and files.

28. ….  Qc2   29.  e6

The question is: Whose King is in the greater danger?

29. …  Qb3+  30.  Kg2  Qc2+  31.  Kg3   Qb3+  32.  Kg2  Bh3+  33.  Kf2  Qc2+ 34.  Ke3   Qb3+  35.  Kd2  Kh6  36. Rh1  Kg5  37. Qe5+  Bf5  38.  Ne4+  Kg4  39.  Rg1+  Kh4   40.  Qf6+  (1-0).

Well, I would say that it takes the whole team to play chess.  Favoring pieces may be your thing.  Still, the chessmen are given roles to play.  Their individual movements are designed to exhibit a bond where the geometric patterns form a flow of beauty in strategy and tactics.  If you get the chess bug and desire to understand the elements of the opening, middlegame and endgame, perhaps–just perhaps–the mysteries the minor pieces posed over time will be more understood.

I have attempted to show through selected games that these wood pieces we call minor pieces deserve their reputations as key units in the hands of players everywhere and add artistry to the joy of gamesmanship.

Kindred’s Special: Our Northern Neighbor Canada Has a Rich History of Chess Personalities

February 8, 2014

This is a true story of Frank Anderson.  It is a story of a beginning out of a father’s hope to make a life worth living for his crippled son of fifteen.  It is the history of Canada; it is a history of belief in overcoming severe physical disabilities.

A stranger walked into the office of Mr. Freeman:  “My name is Anderson,” said he, “I have been advised that you would be able to help me.  My problem concerns my son Frank.  He is now fifteen and for five years he has been confined to bed, hardly able to move, with a severe attack of arthritis.  We are desperate and have tried everything. He seems quite discouraged and has no ambition to carry on his schooling.  We recently gave him a chess set and this has aroused his interest.  What do you suggest?”

Mr. Freeman arranged some games by correspondence with other patients in hospitals and small towns, and then entered him in a tournament with other beginners.

Sometime later, on one of his visits to a Veterans Hospital, Mr. Freeman was checking with a paraplegic patient who had also entered a correspondence tournament where young Frank was also participating.  Examination of the game showed that Frank was no ordinary beginner.

Mr. Freeman and Mr. Anderson senior decided to use chess as an incentive to help Frank catch up with his studies.  It worked.  In no time was he catching up with his scholastic studies.  His first efforts to get out of the house was on crutches to visit a chess club where he met two of Canada’s strongest players, R. E. Martin and Charles Crompton who took charge of his chess development. Frank’s health improved and he had ambition to make up for lost time.

Frank made rapid progress, winning the 1947 Toronto Championship at age nineteen.  This followed with a trip to the US Junior in Oakland, Tennessee with five other juniors.  He tied for lst place with Larry Evans, a future Grandmaster.

Frank did not forget the help Mr. Freeman gave him and others.  A letter dated May 31, 1955:

I understand that you are trying to enlist aid in your promotion of chess amongst the youngsters of Canada.  Perhaps the details of how chess helped me will aid interested people to appreciate the importance of this work.  I taught chess for five years until university studies forced me to give it up.  I saw twenty or thirty eager children come week after week–to first of all enjoy themselves, but without realizing it–learn some of life’s most valuable lessons at an early age.  I believe that playing chess leads one to habits of mind that once cultivated are invaluable–logic, patience, and perseverance.

Because chess was interfering with his university studies, Mr. Freeman encouraged him to put a hold on chess until he completed his degree.  He got it in Mathematics and Physics. Eventually he became successful in business, married and became a US citizen.

Frank no longer needed crutches and in 1951 he finished 2nd in the Canadian Championship.  In 1953 he tied for lst with Abe Yanofsky; in 1955 he took lst all by himself.

The Olympiads of 1954 and 1958 were his greatest achievements, scoring gold medals on board 2 for Canada 1954  (+13-2=2) and 1958 (+9-1=3).  He would have earned the GM title except for becoming ill from medicine that was prescribed in error.  The failure to show up for the final game cost him the title and it would have been given him even if he had played and lost.  Years later attempts were made to be granted the Grandmaster Title but the Russians blocked it.

IM Lawrence Day wrote an obit when Frank Anderson died on September 18, 1980 at his home in San Diego, California, having become a US citizen from lung cancer.

Frank Anderson was disabled his whole life, just getting to the Toronto Chess Club, up three flights of stairs, was an accomplishment using crutches.

That behind the scenes Soviet shenanigans ruined his Grandmaster title at the Olympiads in Munich is fairly well understood now.  He only played in three international events, and had two Olympiad gold medals on second board to show for it.  Quite a career for a disabled competitor.

I was spell-bound by this story of Frank Anderson.  The chess world no doubt hardly remembers him as all seem to get lost in the time clock of history.  But what I see in Frank Anderson is that of a true blue fighter who, with help from Mr. Freeman and his family, refused to give up.  That is a sign of a true champion.  That is a sign of a leader.  That is a sign of greatness where integrity and good character proved him to not be handicapped at all.  He overcame!!  His life enriched chess and all he met and knew.

Lets take a look at how Frank plays the game.

White:  Abe Yanofsky  vs.  Black:  Frank Anderson   Opening:  Ruy Lopez

1. e4  e5  2. Nf3  Nc6  3.  Bb5  a6  4.  Ba4  Nf6  5.  O-O  N:e4  6.  d4  b5  7. Bb3  d5  8. d:e5  Be6  9. Qe2  Nc5  10. Rd1  Be7  11. Be3  N:b3  12. a:b3  Qc8  13. Bg5  B:g5  14. N:g5  O-O  15.  c4  Ne7  16.  c:d5  B:d5  17.  Qc2  g6  18. f3  h6  19. Nc3.

In answer to 19. Ne4 intended was …Qe6!

19. … c6  20. Nge4  Qe6  21. Nf6+  Kg7  22. Re1.

White avoids exchanging on d5 to keep an active position and lessen drawing chances.

22. … B:b3  23.  Qc1  b4  24.  Ng4!  Nf5  25. Ne4  Qc4  26. Qf4  Best.

If 26. Nc5  Q:c1 27. Re:c1  Nd4! gives Black good endgame winning chances.

26. … Qd4+ 27. Kh1  Rfe8  28. Qc1  h5  29. Ngf6  Rh8!!

This aesthetic beauty point seems to be the turning point of the game.

30. Nc5  h4!  31. h3  Bc4  32. Nce4  Ng3+  33. N:g3  h:g3  34. Ne4

Black has a mating attack on 34. Re4  Qf2  35. Ng4  R:h3+  36. g:h3  g2+  37. Kh2 g1(Q) checkmate.

34. … Bd5

White is in zugwang now.

35. N:g3  R:h3+  36. g:h3  B:f3+  White resigns. (0-1).



Kindred’s Special: A Look at Deep Blue, IBM’s Match Adventuring Computer Challenge with Garry Kasparov

February 8, 2014

Strategy and tactics by the IBM team that programmed Deep Blue was kept as tight as a taunt rubber band.  The world champion had no way of knowing the caliber of the newest computer terror to hit the chess scene in the guise of the now famous chess match which was won by IBM.  Of course there was the unwillingness of the team to allow the world champion to see any games or analysis that Deep Blue had conjured up in those hours of programming and pre-schedule of the match itself.

The 1700s produced the first recognizable player by the name of Francois-Andre Danican Philidor.  For over half century he dominated the chess world of France as both writer and player.  It was he who is often referenced for saying that pawns were the soul of chess.  By this he meant that pawn structure was a key ingredient to understand chess strategy and game structure.  He explained in his writings the concept of the blockade and positional sacrifice.  Born in 1726, he was considered the top player in Europe when he died in 1795.

Over the course of history, various matches were held for the World Championship.  The first official title match in 1886 was between W. Steinitz and Johann Zukertort although chess matches among the leading players of previous times had been played.  The chess public decided that a champion of the world was needed to remedy the confusion about who the very best player was.  Prior to the Steinitz-Zukertort match which took place in the United States and covered several states during the match,  a match hailed between England and long time foe France was held.  Howard Staunton defeated St. Amant.  However, this match was more a battle between England and France than it was a battle for a world championship.  However, it was acknowledged that the winner would be the best player in the world but no thought of a world champion was contemplated.  In those days it was enough to be recognized as the leading player but there was a ladder of contenders for that ranking.    Then there came the McDonnell vs. Labourdonnais  1834 match, the Staunton and St. Amant match, several matches were held bringing popularity as never seen before by players like Adolf Anderssen,Paul Morphy, and Joseph Blackburne.

The first world title match was a real barnstormer.  In the end, W. Steinitz won from Zukertort, many of Zukertort fans said that while Steinitz won the match, Zukertort was not yet Zukertort.  Thus, did the mystery of the many championship matches to follow tarnished by this history and further by the world champion dictating conditions, mostly financial, that worthy contenders could not raise to satisfy the champion’s dictates.  This was the flaw in the whole collective mess over the years until Alekhine’s death and the AVRO Tournament was held to find a new world champion which was won by Mikhail Botvinnik of the USSR.  Since that time the title match, other than the win by Bobby Fischer over Boris Spassky in 1972 and his loss of the title to Anatoly Karpov by default has remained on the continent  of Europe.  The matches themselves in most recent times continues to plague the match cycle with problems but the real challenger is rightfully found through official tournament and match play.  From this development a number of Grandmasters have achieved the title: Fischer, Karpov, Kasparov, Kramnik, Anand, and now Magnus Carlsen.  No chess machine!

Financial rewards for World Championship matches were a pittance compared to today’s standards.  It was Bobby Fischer who raised the financial bar for chess as well as the playing conditions for tournaments as well as the matches themselves.  World Champions in the USSR received a mere few thousand dollars and perhaps a new car as a reward.  All this time they were under the yoke of the Director of Sport Committee.

At New York, 1997, a great event took place.  IBM had spent a fortune on using chess as one means of program development in tech advances.  They wanted to test Deep Blue’s updated system against the best and that was a challenge to Garry Kasparov, the World Champion of Chess.

IBM Man vs. Machine (Round 2)

Deep Blue Computer  vs.  Gary Kasparov

1. e4  e5   2. Nf3  Nc6   3.  Bb5  a6   4.  Ba4   Nf6    5.  O-O  Be7   6.  Re1   b5   7.  Bb3   d6   8.  c3   O-O  9.  h3   h6  10.  d4   Re8  11.  Nbd2  Bf8   12.  Nf1  Bd7  13.  Ng3   Na5  14.Bc2  c5   15.  b3   Nc6  16.  d5   Ne7   17. Be3  Ng6  18.  Qd2  Nh7  19.  a4  Nh4  20.  N:h4   Q:h4   21.  Qe2  Qd8  22.  b4   Qc7   23.  Rec1   c4  24.  Ra3   Rec8   25.  Rca1   Qd8  26. f4  Nf6  27. f:e5  d:e5  28.  Qf1  Ne8  29. Qf2  Nd6  30. Bb6   Qe8   31. R/3-a2  Be7  32. Bc5  Bf8  33. Nf5  B:f5  34. e:f5  f6  35. B:d6  B:d6  36. a:b5  a:b5  37. Be4!

According to GM Benjamin, former US Champion, Deep Blue shows itself as Grandmaster strength by this element of blockade strategy.  Perhaps it is a bit unnecessary flattery because the move and plan is pretty obvious but would the computer actually choose this blockading move, something computers seemed to be ignorant of as a strategy.

37. …. R:a2   38. Q:a2  Qd7  39. Qa7   Rc7   40.  Qb6  Rb7  41. Ra8+   Kf7  42.  Qa6  Qc7  43. Qc6  Qb6+  44. Kf1  Rb8  45. Ra6   (1-0).

Deep Blue went on to win the match 3.5-2.5 and also won an early game against the World Champion in 1996.

I guess human integrity is void in computers that show no emotion but just to extract the enormous power of its electronic brain.  Maybe Kasparov made himself look like a bad sport but there is an element in match play that says a player has a right to see games previously played by the opponent. IBM would not grant this request by the World Champion. Who is to say that a computer of Deep Blue’s power would not play this blockade on its own?  Also, it was raised that a strong player inputting moves could conceivably force the computer to follow a certain path. So a disagreement was laid out on the table with no resolution.  See my note above.  As seen in many past escapades, Garry Kasparov gets very uptight and angry and that anger unleashed within the confines of the business and sports world is not tolerated.  Objections or demands should be laid out on the table prior to the match or simply no match.  But there is a big difference between what IBM was offering and the modest purse demanded in past times.  Hey, that takes us back to the days of world chess matches where the champion had the final say and what purse demanded.

The “good old days” were not so good were they!  Does anyone want to say that about the ideals of integrity, honor, and character?