Archive for July, 2019

The Amateur Eye- Square Focus on Mobility Factors

July 30, 2019

One way to illustrate the effects of planning within the realm of square count was illustrated over many years of game play. A perfect example is the trapped Queen. By trapped I mean when the powerful Queen is relegated to being boxed in from active squares found in diagonals or files. Such is sometimes seen when the Queen plays the field often alone when it finds human shortsightedness because of greed in the heart of her champion.

Games exist illustrating this theme. One game goes: 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 This was classic Nimsowitsch. 3. ….c5 shown by Capablanca to counter attack the center being a solid choice. 4. c3 Nc6 5. Nf3 Qb6 6. Be2 Nh6 7. B:h6 Q:b2 8. Be3 Q:a1 9. Qc2 trapping the Queen in the corner.. 9…. c:d4 10. N:d4 Bd7 11. O-O N:e5 12. Qb3!? White’s lead in count frightens Black. Now, 12…. Nc4 13. B:c4 d:c4 14. Q:b7?! (14. Qc2 was better) 14. …Rd8 15. Nc6 B:c6 16. Q:c6+ Rd7 17. Na3! Qb2 18. Nb5 with chances for both sides.

From 1993, Skembris vs. Gulko 1. d4 d6 2. Nd2 Bg4 3. e4 Nf6 4. h3 Bh5 5. Qe2 e6 6. Bg5 Be7 7. B:f6 B:f3 8. Qb5+ c6 9. Q:b7 B:f6 10. Q:a8 Qb6 11. Nd2 B:d4 12. g:f3 B:f2+ 13. Kd1 O-O 14. Nc4 Qc7 15. Ke2 Bg3 16. Rg1 Bh2 17. Rg2 Nd7 18. Q:f8 + K:f8 19. R:h2 d5 (0-1) in 30 moves.

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The Amateur Eye – On Kurt Richter

July 29, 2019

One of my opponents in postal chess learning as a teen sent me a book of games in German featuring Kurt Richter that he said would be a great asset to my development. I devoured the content several times in my study. It had I think much to do with my own aggressive style. So I was surprised to see Sadler on Books, NIC coverage authored by Alan McGowan (McFarland & Company.) It deservedly is given 5 stars. I highly recommend it to my own readers. And I concur with Sadler’s response to a mother who questioned of her young son playing chess. To see the lists of books he reviews is replying with a positive note that chess is indeed worth the effort and study.

One of worthy note is his handling of the white pieces. A pet was 1. d4 d5 2. Nc3 with a follow up of 2…Nf6 3. Bg5 e6 4. e4 Be7 5. B:f6 B:f6 6. e5 Be7 7. Qg4 was his patent response. 7. …. O-O 8. Bd3 f5 9. Qh3 c5 10. d:c5 Nc6 11. f4 B;c5 12. Nge2 a6 13. O-O-O b5 14, g4 b4 15. g;f5 White has a huge edge in square count. 15…. e:f5 16. Na4 Qa5 17. N:c5 Q:c5 18. Rhg1 Kh8 19. Ng3 Nd4 20. Kb1 a5 21. Nh5 Ra7 22. Rg6 According to the computer engine Black is winning. 22. …. a4 23. Rdg1 b3 24. R:f7 b:c2+ 25. Kc1 Nb3+ 26. a:b3 a:b3 27. Ba6!!! The computer must have got sick with this shocker. 27. …. B:a6 28. Qg3 The Bishop on a6 now blocks a-file so the threat of 29. Rg8+ is decisive! (1 – 0 ).

The Amateur Eye – QGD Charousek Var. Moscow match Karpov vs. Kasparov

July 28, 2019

Jan Timman’s The Longest Game NIC is a 5 star book every chess student and lover of quality should have on their library shelf and used. It focuses on a time in literature rivaling the previous eras of world champions when computers were yet to give sway a machine age perception of human achievement.

l. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Be7 4. c:d5 e:d5 5. Bf4 Nf6 6. e3 O-O 7. Nf3 Bf5 8. h3 c6 9. g4 Bg6 10. Ne5 Nfd7 11. N:g6 f:g6 12. Bg2 Nb6 13. O-O Kh8.

Square count is w13/b8 Please note each has 7 pawns, g-file doubled pawns. Black has access to two half open files and white a half-open c-file. The position is dynamic but Karpov almost owns the whole board requiring Kasparov to strike out for aggressive counterplay using his active Rooks, defensive Bishop and two Knights. One advantage he has is a solid pawn chain b7-d5 and a good King side passive defense which is a target that Karpov attempts to undermine.

14. Ne2!?

It was suggested that 14. Bh2 Bd6 15. B:d6 Q:d6 16. e4 was a good plan of attack for White but it seems to me that getting the Knight to the kingside was logical to support an attack against the king position and pressure on f4/g3 squares as possible jump-off points in furthering an attack against the enemy monarch. Sometimes just threatening to tickle squares entering the enemy’s grounds will create the pressure necessary to soon engage the enemy in direct fashion. Kasparov seems to favor counter play to sitting on a position and perhaps in this thought of character traits of the opponent that Karpov chose this Knight maneuver aiming at steadfast pressure while avoiding premature aggression.

14. …. g5 15. Bg3 Bd6 16. Qd3 Na6 17. b3 Qe7 18. B:d6 Q:d6 19. f4! g:f4 20. e:f4 Rae8! 21. f5

The pawn soldiers march on!

21. …. Nc7 22. Rf2 Nd7 23. g5 piles on his pawn majority attack that presents continued threats into the end game.

23. …. Qe7 24. h4 Qe3!!

Ingenious plan initiated by Kasparov here is to just trade Queens and using his control over the e-file to extract suitable counter on White aggression.

25. Rd1 Nb5 26. Q:e3?!

White falls into a trap that exchanging Queens only helps the defense since the Rook is activated on the e3 square and proves an annoyance.

26. …. R:e3 27. Kh2 Nb6 28. Ng3 Nc8

This Knight is headed to the d6 square! There, it will exert pressure to counter balance Karpov’s edge to this point.

29. Nf1! Re7?!

Not best as 29. …. Rc3 was needed to keep in the game.

30. Rd3! Ncd6 31. Ng3 Ne4?

Now it is the “Case of the Active King!

32. B:e4 d:e4 33. Re3 N:d4 34. Kh3!

Black wins a pawn but the active King assures Karpov the advantage with the advanced pawns and King mobility.

34. …. Re5 35. Kg4 h5+

The 3rd error blunder clearly loses. He had to play the passive defense ….Rfe8 and pray.

36. K:h5 N:f5 37. R:f5 Rf:f5 38. N:f5 R:f5 39. R:e4 Kh7 40. Re7 b5 41. R:a7 b4 42. Kg4 Black resigns.

The Amateur Eye/a look at f7

July 26, 2019

One of my early lessons pointed to the f7 square weakness. Low and behold I found an excellent example for you.

l. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 d:c4 7. e4 g5 8. Bg3 b5 9. Be2 This is called the Anti-Moscow Variation. The main line goes as follows: 9. …. Bb7 10. Ne5 Nbd7 11. O-O Bg7 12. N:f7 selected because it appeared an interesting try by the young Russian 16-year old Andrey Esipenko. 12. …. K:f7 13. e5 Nd5 14. Ne4 Qb6 15. Nd6+ Ke7 16. a4!? See NIC 57-9 (2019#2. A sharp and problematic position arises where the time clock can add to this complex position.

The Amateur Eye – It’s Territory count that wins!

July 25, 2019

The art of chess skill emerges out of Square Count as seen in Duda vs. Gelfand in the St. Petersburg historic chess city of Russia. Here youth prevails in a Blitz world tournament featuring a square count favorite of mine called the Trompowsky Attack.

l. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5 d5 3. B:f6 g;f6 4. c4 d:c4 5. e3

The purpose of the early Bishop development is shown here.. White’s aim is attack and to get the Rabbi into enemy territory quickly so the pawn structure can be consolidated in the white center where the bishop square count will not be restricted by the e3 pawn. White’s choosing to exchange is an interesting plan based upon the idea to weaken Black’s pawn structure. The dark squares could become weaker by the exchange which is a tradeoff to consider. The attack on enemy squares is a plan often seen in openings.

5. …. c5 6. d5 b5 7. a4 Bb7 8. a:b5 Q:d5 9. Q:d5 B:d5 10. Nc3 Bb7 11. Be2 Nd7 Taking the g2 pawn is hard to assess. Black hopes to achieve better chances by keeping pieces on the board. 11B:g2 12. Bf3 B:f3 13. N:f3 Nd7 led to exchanges. Black preferred tension and keeping the black-square Bishop on the board.

12. Bf3 B:f3 13. N:f3 e6 14. Nd2 f5

Fighting chess has long been a forte of Gelfand’s natural and inspirational attack mode. The text gains two squares for his side. But choosing this, he opens up the Queenside too much for piece play by White. Maybe best would be 14….Nb6 but he probably saw that 15. Ra6 Bd6 16. Kd1 leads to a strong Q-side plus. 16… 0-0 17. Kc2! Be5 18. Rha1 Rfb8 19. R:a7! is winning.

15. N:c4 Bg7 16. b6 Ke7 17. b7 Rab8 18. R:a7 Ne5 19. Na5 Rhd8 20. Ke2 Kd7 21. Rd1+ Kc7 22. Nb5+ Kb6 23. R:d8 R:d8 24. Ra8 Black resigns.

In conclusion, it might be said that square count tallies might express a space, superior placement of forces, defensive resources from recognition of the need to act in a spirited manner to position needs especially in defensive structures. Showing confidence is a vital necessity in handling most situations in life. One should remember to examine possible moves even if they look impossible. When you examine game position tactics, they often start with tactics by their position to be total surprises. Always look for them in your own games.

Don’s Coffee & Tea Break

July 15, 2019

What people want and what they need to aspire and succeed is not the same because effort and personalities are not the same. Success for me may well be different for others. Effort is always a guiding principle to live by. Viewing plans and practice do not sometimes fit well in the scheme of things but what alternative promises more?

Garfield is a cat with few meows and uses his paws to convey his thoughts thus: “Remember, people….Laughter is medicine…. unless you have stitches.”

Blondie is always working to better the catering business. “I can cater your anniversary party for 18 dollars a person.” Her client says: $18? My dear, I also run a catering business and I could cater my own for $13 a person.” Blondie remarks, “Then why don’t you do so?” The customer’s response: “Because I know how difficult I am to please!”

Pickles is one of my favorites. In this four panel episode, Grandma and Nelson are featured. She is telling Nelson if he would like to help her. Nelson tells her okay. She says: “Empty the garbage and I’ll give you a cookie and glass of milk.” Nelson says he would rather have some money. Grandma responds with, “Yes, and I’d rather not have to get up 3 times a night to use the bathroom, but we don’t always get what we want, do we?”

Shoe’s two panel entry sees Shoe & co. in a cemetery examining the inscription. Yeah, that is my aunt’s recipe alright. She always said we’d get her chocolate chip cookie recipe over her dead body.

The Amateur Eye – Tarrasch Variation of the French Def.

July 12, 2019

This variation 4. Nd2 got my interest from Modern Chess Openings (MCO) and from chess play at the Rochester Chess Club for how it coincided with my Square Count theories. The game in question here is from the Portland Area League 2018; a time limit of (60/5) as the winner Avi Gupta notes: makes it conducive for aggressive plans. Ari’s opponent Kabir Rathore Muthu answers Gupta’s king pawn opening play, choosing the ancient French, replying with pawn to e6. The game appeared in CHESS LIFE.

l. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. Bd3

This sortie put pressure on the w/s diagonal b1/h7.

5. …. c5 a freeing move attacking the d4 square was a favorite plan of Jose R. Capablanca re counter-play against the white center which is a common theme in other openings as well. The advantage is to get counter-play against the central squares and obtaining a free type development.

6. c3 supporting the center d-pawn and making room for a bishop retreat (c2) if attacked.

6. …. Qb6 7. Ne2! White keeps f3 available for the d2 knight, eying f4 or g3 at the same time. Black’s Q move may not be best. Black’s minor pieces need relocation with a timely pawn push to gain more square count on the wing.

7. …. Nc6 8. Nf3 Be7 9. O-O f6

This center-counter action is played when White is better developed so a better idea could be Nf8. It also weakens the e6 square.

10. Nf4! f:e5 11. N:e6 Bf6 12. Nfg5 e4 Here Black misses the White shot 13.N:g7! in his calculation planning as 13. ….B:g7 14. Qh5+ Kd8 15. Ne6 axes it. Gupta’s planned idea is just as convincing. Sometimes it is smart to just follow a plan to it’s conclusion.

13. Re1 c:d4 14. c:d4 Nf8 15. Nf4 B:g5 16. N:d5 Qd8 17. Qh5+ g6 18. Q:g5 Q:g5 19. B:g5 Ne6 20. R:e4 Kf7 21. Be3 Bd7 22. Nc3 Rhe8 23. d5 Black resigns.

Ari Gupta had a dream come true by appearing on the 2019 Jeopardy Teen Tournament.

Chess Life noted that The Catlin Gabel Chess Club was founded in September 2015 by Mathus Leungpathomaram, Hansen Lian, Avi Gupta, and Seth Talyansky with the mission of raising the profile of chess in the Catlin Gabel and greater Portland area communities. / pg. 76 July 1919 Chess Life/

The Amateur Eye – Watch 7/10-20 on USCHESSCHAMPS.COM

July 4, 2019

Here is a great opportunity to see live coverage of America’s chess stars in action.

The Amateur Eye – Dutch Idea in the Leningrad System

July 3, 2019

GM Hikaru Nakamura’s final game in the US Championship required risk; he answered GM Jeffery Xiong opening play 1. d4 Queen Pawn Game choosing a vigorous Leningrad Dutch setup that involves both players into a dynamic but spirited fight. That decision in the final decision allowed victory edging out the runner-ups to claim the title.

White: Jeffery Xiong vs. Black: Hikaru Nakamura

l. d4 f5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 g6 4. g3 Bg7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O d6 7. Nc3 Nc6 8. d5 Na5 9. b3 c5 10. Bb2? Odd how square count seems to give an edge to Black.

Post analysis by computer favors Jeffery’s plan and the thought is: “white is good; black is bad.” Now, correct would have been what was not played. White gains a clear edge with the odd looking 10. Bd2! a6 11. Rc1 Rb8 12. e4! according to analysis in Chess Life.

10. …. a6 11. Ng5 Rb8 12. Qd3 Qe8 13. Nd1 b5 14. Qd2 Nb7 15. Ne3 Nd8 16, Nh3 Bd7 17. Rad1 b4!

18. Qc2 a5 19. Nf4 a4 20. h4 Ra8 21. Qb1 Ra6 22. Bf3 Qf7 23. Neg2 Ng4! 24. B:g4 f:g4 25. e4 B:b2 26. Q:b2 Qg7 27. Q:g7 + K:g7 28. e5 Bf5 29. e:d6 e:d6 30. Rfe1 Nf7.

A long battle ensues to the 58th move with Black winning after a wild melee. Try to make up some ideas within this game and position. Ideas and plans make up strategies to build on. The final position and game can be found on page 35 of Chess Life July 2019 issue.

Black keeps a tiny edge in square count.


The Amateur Eye–Dragon

July 2, 2019

The Dragon variation of the Sicilian Defense offers up a counterpunch meeting the Yugoslav in the hands of Ray Robson.

White: Ray Robson vs. Black: Hikaru Nakamura

l. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 c:d4 4. N:d4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 O-O 8. Qd2 Nc6 9. Bc4 Bd7 10. O-O-O Rb8 11. Bb3 Na5 12. Bh6 B:h6 13. Q:h6 b5 14. Nd5 N:b3+ 15. N:b3 e5 16. N:f6+ Q:f6 17. h4 Rb6 18. h5 Qe7 19. h:g6 20. Qe3 Be6 21. Rhf1

As Warburton, a correspondence player of British repute, told me he rarely castled long less he could get the King out of the center post haste. In that context I would venture to say that 21. Kb1 was a logical idea where a safe King position might radiate a more aggressive plan going forward.

21. … Rc6 22. f4 Qc7!

Nakamura gains a tempo with the attack on c2. He is eying building up square count with the a-pawn advance threat coming with a plus of seeing better positioning of his forces and leaving White little to show for his own setup.

23. Rd2 a5! 24. Kb1

A Nimsowitsch like prophylactic decision late and not as useful as had it been played earlier.

24. …. a4 25. Nc1 b4

Square count wise, the position plays itself through it’s special ground pawn swell. The soldiers are marching!

26. Rdf2

Good or bad, Robson had to try 26. f5 to stimulate his side for action. Instead, he gives his opponent an almost free hand in the coming action.

26. …. e:f4 27. R:f4 Rc8! 28. Rf6 R:c2

One of my lessons dealt with the time element in chess. Here the master weaves his web and concludes the game giving the student a classic lesson to study, learn and apply in their own game play.

29. R:e6 Qc4 30. Ref6 a3

There remains no defense to the coming breakthrough.

31. b:a3 b:a3 32. Q:a3 R:c1 33. R:c1 Q:e4+ 34. Kb2 Qe5+ 35. Rc3 Rb8+ 36. Kc2 Q:f6 37. Rf3 Qd4 38. Rb3 Qe4+ 39. Kc1 Qe1+ 40. Kc2 Qe2+ 41. Kb1 Qd1+ 42. Qc1 White Resigned on the 55th move.