Archive for January, 2020

The Amateur Eye – Vasily Smyslov Remembered

January 25, 2020

My brother Ray bought me a chess book on Vasily Smyslov for my birthday which I studied along with him as my teacher.  It had a different flavor from that of Capablanca, Alekhine, Reti, Tarrasch, Nimsowitsch and other studies I had made during my formative pre/teen years.

He played World Champion Mikhail Botvinnik winning the title and then lost it in the guaranteed rematch.  Both as a player and composer his laurels were well deserved.

Vasily Smyslov  versus Milko Bobotsov from the 1958 Munich Olympiad presents a good reflection of his talent and style.  He was noted largely for his masterly handling of attack and defensive positions backed up by solid middlegame strategy.

After 1. c4  e5 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. O-O e5 6. Nc3 Nge7 7. d3 O-O 8. a3 d6 9. Rb1 h6 10. b4 Rb8 11. e3 h6 12. Bd2

This quiet developing move shows patience while keeping options by quietly preparing for action.

12 ….. Be6 13. Ne1 Qd7 14. Nd5 Kh7 15. f4 f5 16. Nc2 Rfc8 17. b5!

An excellent example of using square count as this readies action hitting the central complex. This creates room on the Q-side.

17. …. Nd8 18. e4 f:e4 19. d:e4 e:f4 20. g:f4 N:d5 21. c:d5 Bh3 22. Qf3 B:g2  23. Q:g2 Nf7 24. Kh1 Re8 25. Rg1 Nh8 26. a4!

Strategy and tactics go hand in hand.  Smyslov’s Knight is aiming to leap it to the c4 square.

26. …. Qe7 27. Rbe1 Rbc8 28. Qh3! Qf7 29. Rgf1 Rc7 30. f5! Re5 31. Bf4 Rce7 32. B:e5 R:e5 33. Na3 Re7 34. Nc4 Be5 35. f:g6+ Q:g6 36. Rg1 Qe8 37.Ne3 Rf7 38. Nf5 Bf4 39. Qg4 Resigns.






The Amateur Eye – Tarrasch Defense=a joy in square count

January 23, 2020

I have long advocated students employ the Tarrasch Defense toward the aim of seeing the benefits of opening variations within the scope of this historic adventure into practice of the isolani QP attack.  Made popular by the chess teacher and Grandmaster of old times, Siegbert Tarrasch in his treatise THE GAME OF CHESS.

Chess Life’s article by John Hartmann’s TARRASCH RETURNS, page 20-21 investigates the system of the isolated QP which takes a look at the system studied and practiced by some of the leading world class players over the past 100 years or more.  It has to be called the “fighting Queen’s  Gambit” with three new books: THE DUBOV TARRASCH, THE ART OF THE TARRASCH DEFENSE, and FIGHT D4 WITH THE TARRASCH.

Players are always looking to improve the results and strengthen their understanding of the game.  Perhaps these books will add to such understanding.

Decades– Ever Upward for US Chess and Chess Life

January 20, 2020

In Chess Life MY BEST MOVE, I see that a new addition to creative chess adventure was introduced by Ashley Lynn Priore titled Queen’s Gambit Chess Institute.  She writes: “The wonderful thing about life, and chess, is that there is never one way to act in a situation.”  How true!!  For story see page 72 Chess Life, Jan. 2020 issue.

During my active years in chess promotion I served during the 1950s-1980s assisting in organizing various local or regional activities for the area chess population, and like many other chess enthusiasts across America, it was a true labor of love for both postal and o-t-b play.  I struggled through various ills after retirement but started my website KindredSpirit’s Kaleidoscope.

My site is widely followed by both USA and world-wide friends, Various topics. Free. Includes poetry, chess, stories and shorts by Don. 1970s on; daily-yearly.

The Amateur Eye – Ah, a Judit Polgar Ruy Firewall

January 20, 2020

l. 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. Nbd2 Nc5 10. c3 d4

Comparing the older defensive pattern samplings previously viewed, Black more effectively employs the square count theory to this defensive setup. This pawn display into the center is rarely played today.

11. Ng5 Bd5 12. N:f7 K:f7 13. Qf3+ Ke6 14. Qg4+ Kf7 15. Qf5!+

Black’s thought here might have been familiar with a previous game between Anand against Svidler (white) 15. e6 B:e6 16. Re1 Qd7  17. B:e6 N:e6 18. Nf3 Re8 19. Ng5 Nd8 20. Bd2 h6 21. Nf3 Qd5 22. Re5 Qd6 23. c:d4 h5 24. Qe4+ Kf7 25. d5 with a superior position that Black escaped with a hard fought draw.

A word of advice is to never take previous moves played without careful analysis beforehand.

15. …. Ke7 16. e6 B:e6 17. Re1! Qd6 18. B:e6 N:e6 19. Ne4 Qe5 20. Bg5+ Kd7 21. Nc5+ B:c5 22. Qf7+ Kd6 23. Be7+ Resigns.

The Amateur Eye – A tickling central Ruy Lopez

January 16, 2020

Space and time often make up my theory of chess.  Right from the opening moves I advocate attack and defense from move one regardless the openings chosen for battle.  And chess is a battle! It can reflect both the temperment of the combatants as well as the management of strategy and tactics employed.  That is the joy of the chess struggle where both sides might vary their aims in similar situations of planning, and yet turn out a product for both original as well as copies of past struggles where a sort of trail exists coming out of past performances that will leave for the student of chess an ever expanding array of variations inside and outside of known theory and opening structures.  The result is an opening name or specific defensive pattern where results come from work and preparation for such competitions and practice arising from individual thought and purpose.

Here we see another Ruy Lopez set-up using a more modern plan.  Yet, here the pattern is pushed in a different direction but still the issue of square count with central pressures within the Black camp emerging.

l. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6

This was an early thought given the name of the Morphy variation.  One of the oldest and worthy systems employed by the defense against the Ruy Lopez. White aims for the Mackenzie’s variation

4. Ba4  Nf6  5. d4  Initiating the Mackenzie variation.

This opens the long diagonal for the  black QB.

7. N:d4 Bd7 8. B:c6 b:c6

This doubles the Q-side pawns and keeps his d4 Knight posted well for future action with added square pressure.  Black relies on having the bishop pair.

9. Nc3  Be7

White strives for immediate activity against the center in this known line called the Mackenzie’s Variation hoping to use his bishop-pair coming in future play.

10. Bf4!?

Certainly understandable but also interesting is 10. Qf3 aiming with a knight hop via Nd4 to f5. The Q would have pressure on c6.

10. …. O-O  11. e5 Ne8 12. Re1 d5 13. Nb3 a5 14. Na4! f6 15. e6!

Fnally making some headway against stubborn defense.

15. …. Bc8 16. Nd4 Bb7 17. Re3 c5 18. Nf5 d4 19. Rg3! Kh8 20. Qh5 Qd5 21. Q:h7+ K:h7 22. Rh3+Kg6 23. N;e7 Mate.

In the endgame of this fight, chances were unclear and did Black have a losing position or just a headache holding on?  The result of the battle is sometimes skewed by the complexity of time effecting choices made during a game.

The Amateur Eye – Hitting the center in a French line

January 14, 2020

William Goichberg and Robert Potter were both well established masters of both correspondence and finding occasional opportunities to aid the spread of chess over decades of chess promotion.  Many examples of their talent are in print for both their individual effort to promote the game for all of us to enjoy.

This game from the 1967 US Open held in Atlanta, Georgia in the 12th round illustrates once again the potent square count factor that put the icing on Bill’s dominant structural victory.

l. e4  e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 d:e4 4. N:e4

For Gambiteers who steer the game and want more action often might go for a risky pawn sac like 4. c3 for space and time to offset the pawn deficient.

4. …. Nd7 5. Nf3 Ngf6 6. N:f6+ N:f6 7. Bc4 h6 8. Qe2 White’s aim is to use the half-open e-file with future pressure on square e6.

8. …. Be7 9. Bf4

Again pressuring the central squares and adding count.

9. …. O-O 10. O-O-O

White chooses to set his forces on aggression as the R now sits already on the d-file. A possible danger is the King left in the center file.  If 10. O-O the King would be a little safer having been removed from the central file.

10. …. Nd5?!

This is not a happy time for Black who should work toward a wing pawn demonstration via either …. a5  c6.  The question is why move a developed piece fairly well situated already.  He needs to secure some aggressive counter play which the pawns would give him against the King position.

11. Bd2

This retreat on the c-h6 file doesn’t effect the Bishop’s power and pressure on h6,

11. …. a6 12. h4 b5

Black can hope to follow this up with c7-c5 but the earlier Knight move was a weak turn that gives a clear edge to White with his next play.

13. Bd3! Qd6 14. Ne5! Bb7 15. B:h6

Black is suddenly horror struck with this shot.  Black’s pawn structure is suddenly ripped open.

15. …. g:h6 16. Qg4+ Kh8 17. Qh5 Kg7 18. Rh3

White starts the finishing blow with a typical Rook-lift occurring in such positions. That is why study of books teaching all aspects of chess play is so important to be a success at the board.

18. …. Nf4  19. Qg4+ Bg5 20. h:g5 N:h3 21. g:h3 Qe7 22. g:h6+ K:h6 23. Rg1 f5 24. Qg6 mate.



The Amateur Eye – Using Square Count

January 13, 2020

The objective is to present examples from actual game play that illustrate the art of using square count by showing games  that illustrate effectively how plans and game play develop into winning strategies. Enjoy while learning!

l. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O d6 5. d4 e:d4 6. N:d4 Bd7

This is a variation by Black to test a line long known in chess opening theory and occasionally revived because it is stable and has few defects in strategy. To combat it effectively White must be aware of its nuances.  White follows a strategy often seen in the early half of the century and practiced with an eye on space and square control.

7. Nc3 Be7  8. B:c6 B:c6

This entices further piece exchanges which keeps defensive resources at a good level to avoid limiting chances for upcoming countering of White’s attacking potential.

9. Nf5!?  O-O 10. Bg5 h6 11. Bh4

Keeping up the pressure on f6.

11. …. Kh7 12. f4

Other good tries are either 12. Qd4 or 12. Re1. Note the pressure placed along these lines effecting local squares.

12. …. Ng8

This defensive strategy by Black has serious flaws. While it offers a chance toward exchanging to soften a White attack, it proves soon that it lacks vitality and defensive resources.

13. Qg4  Now a mate threat pops up requiring Black’s energy to defend.

13. …. g6  14. N:e7 N:e7 15. Bf6 Qc8

This nice play makes it difficult for Black to get out of the bind on his position.  Black seeks a remedy by a Queen exchange offer.

16.  f5 Ng8 17. Bd4 Qd8. And a little better here for Black was ….Qd7 to connect his Rooks.

18. f:g6+ f:g6  19. R:f8 Q;f8 20. Rf1 Qe7 21. Qf4  Be8 22. Nd5 Qd8 23. Qf7+ B:f7 24. R:f7 mate.



Don’s Coffee & Tea Break

January 10, 2020

The best teacher in the world will be no benefit to you if you fail to work on a daily practice to improve and take steps to build upon what you believe are goals worth time and energy to achieve.  There is no shortcut possible to achieve without personal commitment to that end.

Today’s cartoon pages contain some valuable ideas toward that goal.


Here we see the cartoonist putting together 4 panels showing Nelson and Grandpa and Nelson is asking Grampa how old he is now.  Grampa gives some advice on that question by responding with the comment that someone once said that it is not how old you are but how you are old. Then, Grampa, how old are you? Well, Grampa tells him, Oh, I’ve got being old–down to a science.


Taking a story from Jack and the Bean Stalk, the cartoonist explores the thoughts of Hagar talking with Jack from the story. Jack relates to Hagar asking him if he was familiar with the expression “I.m waiting for the other shoe to drop? Sure have, Jack.  We see the shoe in the next panel resting next to the bean stalk and Jack running off from Hagar with the comment that he is not waiting.


The manager ask Dilbert how things went with his project.  Dilbert replied that it was fine until a thick wave of stupidity swept over it and extinguished my spark of divinity. I actually don’t know what will become of me. His manager told him not to worry–I’ll transfer you to marketing as they are all like that in that department.


Woodstock! That was Woodstock who just flew over!   BONK!!! The beagle buddy thinks:  Even on a clear day, Woodstock flies in a fog!





The Amateur Eye has returned!

January 8, 2020

Well folks –one and all– I am back finally after a long battle in hospital and nursing recovery care.  One of my nurses said I should be able to write a book on my adventurers within the confines of finding a host of pricks and blood tests…a long trek from a forced hospital stay.  What would we do without having a good insurance policy and dependable surgeons, doctors, nurses and other staff who help make patients well? Did I learn anything from the experience.  Yes.  I can say I did and will pass on what I learned here.  You have to take it one day at a time–no fretting or worries but keep the eye on the goal to improve one day at a time.

I am thankful to have communion every day by a dedicated group of volunteers which I truly believe gave up lift to my soul and spirit in this steady recovery.

All of  this occurred during the political woes forced upon our President and my personal daily prayers for our nation and our leaders to exercise good judgment did have an effect on guiding our nation through a very trying time.  It is too bad when there are those who clip their own wings by false assumptions and poor guess work, and those who don’t walk the talk as seen by their petty ways back in their own backyards.

A lot  of travelers lost their lives, and or were in careless accidents due to excessive speeding on the highways.  Is there a lesson to learn from this?  I know what it is but I doubt if anyone is interested in my opinions that only time will resolve as valid thoughts.  Ho, hum!  God bless us all!!