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Monday, July 25, 2016

Short approach against the Scandinavian

Nigel Short has played several interesting games against the 2…Qd5 Scandinavian where White went for the setup with Bc4, d3, Bd2, and Qe2, preparing long castle. Initiative is surprisingly long lasting and in all 3 games – persisted into the endgame. Here is the illustrated summary of several key positions:

Short, Nigel D - Gonzalez, Renier
   2007 , B01

1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5 4. Bc4 Nf6 5. d3 c6 6. Qe2 Nbd7 7. Bd2 Qe5 8. a4 Qxe2+ 9. Ngxe2 a5 10. O-O e6 11. Ne4 Be7 12. f4

250White has slight initiative because black bishop on c8 is still undeveloped.
12. ... Nc5 13. Ng5 O-O 14. Ng3 b6 15. f5
251
15. ... h6 16. Nf3 exf5 17. Nd4 Bd7 18. Ndxf5 Bd8 19. Bc3 Nxa4 20. Rxa4 b5
252
21. Nxg7!? bxa4
( 21. ... Kxg7 22. Nh5+ Kg6 23. Nxf6 Bxf6 24. Rxf6+ Kh7 25. Bxb5 cxb5 26. Rh4 +/- )
22. Rxf6 Bxf6 23. Bxf6 Rab8 24. Ne4 Be6 25. Nxe6 fxe6 26. Bxe6+ Kh7 27. Be7 Rfe8 28. Bf5+ Kg7 29. Bf6+ Kf8 30. Bd7 Re7 31. Bxc6
( 31. Bxe7+ +- )
31. ... Re6 32. Bxa4 Rb4 33. b3 Rbxe4 34. dxe4 Rxf6 35. Bb5 Ke7 36. g3 Kd6 37. Kg2 Ke5 38. Bd3 Rf8 39. h4 Rf7 40. Kh3 Rg7 41. Kg2 Rf7 42. Kh3 Rg7 43. Kh2 Rc7 44. Kg1 Rf7 45. Kg2 Rf8 46. Kh3 Rg8 47. Kg2 Rf8 48. Kh3 Rg8 49. Kg2 1/2-1/2

Short, Nigel D - Ateka, Nathan
   2013 , B01

1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5 4. Bc4 Nf6 5. d3 c6 6. Bd2 Qc7 7. Qe2

253
7. ... Nbd7 8. a3 Nb6 9. Ba2 Bg4 10. Nf3 e6 11. h3 Bh5 12. g4 Bg6 13. O-O-O Bd6 14. Rde1 O-O-O 15. Ne5 Bxe5 16. Qxe5 Qxe5 17. Rxe5 Nbd5 18. f4 Nxc3 19. Bxc3 Nd5 20. Bxd5 cxd5 21. Bd4 a6 22. f5
254
22. ... exf5 23. gxf5 f6
( 23. ... Bh5 24. f6 gxf6 25. Rxh5 )
24. Re7 Bxf5 25. Rxg7 Rdg8 26. Bxf6 Rxg7 27. Bxg7 Rg8 28. Be5 Kd7 29. h4 h5 30. Bf4 Rg2 31. Bg5 Bg4 32. Rf1 Re2 33. a4 Re8 34. b3 Kc6 35. Kb2 Kd6 36. Rf6+ Kc5 37. a5 Re6 38. Rf7 b6 39. axb6 Kxb6 40. Bd8+ Kc6 41. Ra7 Kc5 42. Kc3 d4+ 43. Kd2 Rc6 44. Rf7 Kd5 45. Rf1 Ke6 46. Bf6 Kd5 47. Bg5 Rc8 48. Ra1 Rc6 49. Kc1 Bd7 50. Ra5+ Rc5 51. Rxa6 Bf5 52. Kd2 Rc6 53. Ra4 Bg4 54. Ra5+ Rc5 55. Ra1 Rc6 56. Rf1 Re6 57. Bf6 Re2+ 58. Kc1 1-0

Short, Nigel D - Lioe Dede
   2004 , B01

1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5 4. Bc4 Nf6 5. d3 c6 6. Qe2 Bf5 7. Bd2 Qc7 8. h3 e6 9. g4 Bg6 10. f4

255
10. ... Be7 11. Nf3 Nbd7 12. O-O-O Nb6 13. Rde1 Kf8 14. Bb3 Bd6 15. Ne5 Bxe5 16. Qxe5 Qxe5 17. fxe5 Nfd7 18. Ne4 Kg8 19. d4 h5 20. g5 Bxe4 21. Rxe4 Nd5 22. Rf1 g6 23. Bxd5 cxd5 24. Ref4 Rh7 25. Bb4 Nb8 26. Bd6 Nc6 27. R1f3 Rd8 28. b3 Rd7 29. Kd2 Ne7 30. Bxe7 Rxe7 31. Rc3 Kg7 32. Rc8 Rh8 33. Rxh8 Kxh8 34. Rf3 Kg8 35. Rc3 Kf8 36. a4 +/-
256
36. ... Ke8 37. Rc8+ Kd7 38. Ra8 a6 39. Kc3 Kc6 40. Kb4 Rc7 41. c4 dxc4 42. bxc4 Kd7 43. Rb8 Kc6 44. a5 Kd7 45. d5 exd5 46. cxd5 Rc1 47. Rxb7+ Ke8 48. Ra7 Kf8 49. Rxa6 Rh1 50. Rf6 Rxh3 51. e6 Rg3 52. Rxf7+ Ke8 53. a6 1-0

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Where to Sacrifice the Knight?

DDT3000-JHamberg
imageWhite to move. Solution.
I played what seemed like an obvious sacrifice, but the computer found that in fact I made a wrong choice. What does your intuition suggest to you?

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Mikhalevski’s Sharp games in 5…Ne4 variation of Four Knights Scotch

In case 5…Ne4 variation of Four Knights Scotch sounds like a mix of various buzzwords, this refers to the first moves 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. d4 exd4 5. Nxd4 Nxe4 which seems to be dropping a piece, except for it does not.

Alexander Mikhalevski seems to be among the strongest players who ever tried this line, with mixed results as the following two super sharp games illustrate:

Sutovsky, Emil - Mikhalevski, Alexander
   1994 , C47

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. d4 exd4 5. Nxd4 Nxe4 6. Nxe4 Qe7 7. f3 d5 8. Bb5 Bd7 9. O-O dxe4 10. Bxc6 bxc6 11. Re1 O-O-O 12. Rxe4 Qf6 13. Qe2 c5 14. Nb3 Qb6 15. Be3 Bd6 16. Qf2 f5 17. Rc4 Qb5

212Harassing the rook is Black's best hope for counterplay.
18. Rc3 c4 19. Bc5 Bc6
( 19. ... cxb3 20. Bxd6 )
20. a4 Qa6 21. Bxd6 Rxd6 22. Nc5 Qb6 23. Rxc4 Qxb2 24. Re1 Re8 25. h3 Qb6 26. Rxe8+ Bxe8 27. Qe1 Bxa4 28. Qe5 Bxc2 29. Rxc2 Qb1+ 30. Kh2 Qxc2 31. Qe8+ Rd8 32. Qb5
213
32. ... Rd2 33. Qe8+ Rd8 34. Qe6+ Kb8 35. Qc6
214
35. ... Qxc5
( 35. ... Qb2 36. Na6+ Kc8 37. Qxc7# )
36. Qxc5 g6 37. Qe7 Rd6 38. Qxh7 a5 39. Qf7 Kb7 40. Qc4 Kb6 41. g4 fxg4 42. fxg4 c5 43. h4 Rd4 44. Qe6+ Kb5 45. Qxg6 a4 46. Qe6 Rd2+ 47. Kg3 Rd3+ 48. Kf4 c4 49. g5 a3 50. g6 a2 51. Qe5+ Ka4 52. g7 Rd8 53. Qb2 1-0

Timmerman, Gert - Mikhalevsky, Alexander
   1996 , C47

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nxe4 6. Nxe4 Qe7 7. f3 d5 8. Bb5 Bd7 9. Bxc6 bxc6 10. O-O dxe4 11. Re1 O-O-O 12. Rxe4 Qf6 13. Qf1 Bc5 14. Qa6+ Kb8 15. Be3 Rhe8 16. c3 Rxe4 17. fxe4 Bb6

215
18. a4 c5
Activating the light squared bishop is essential in this structure.
19. a5 Bc8 20. Qc4 cxd4 21. axb6 axb6
( 21. ... dxe3?? 22. Qxc7+ Ka8 23. Qxa7# )
22. Bxd4 Qe7
216
23. Bxg7
( 23. Qa2 Bb7 24. Qa7+ Kc8 )
23. ... Rd2
In return for the pawn Black gets to activate his pieces, which is always important in positions with bishops of opposite color.
24. Bh6 Rxb2 25. Bc1 Rc2 26. Qa4 Qc5+ 27. Kh1
217
27. ... Qa5! 28. Qxa5 bxa5 29. Bh6 Bb7 30. Rxa5 Bxe4 31. Re5 Bc6 32. Rc5 Bxg2+ -/+
218
33. Kg1 Bh3 34. Bf4 Rg2+ 35. Kh1 Rf2 36. Be3 0-1

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Kosintseva plays Isolated Pawn to beat the French

Here are a couple of games that illustrate how White can opt into standard IQP structure against the French defence – this method was used effectively by Nadezhda Kosintseva to beat a couple of strong players:

Kosintseva, Nadezhda - Vysochin, Spartak
   2004 , C07

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 c5 4. c3 cxd4 5. cxd4 Nc6 6. Ngf3 dxe4 7. Nxe4 Bb4+ 8. Nc3 Nf6 9. Bd3 O-O 10. O-O Be7 11. a3 b6 12. Re1 Bb7 13. Bc2 Rc8 14. Qd3 Qd6

231
( 14. ... g6!? 15. Bh6 Re8 16. Rad1 )
15. d5 exd5 16. Bg5 g6 17. Rxe7! Nxe7 18. Nb5 Qe6 19. Nfd4 Qe5 20. f4
232
20. ... Qe4 21. Bxf6 Qxd3 22. Bxd3 Nc6 23. Nxc6 Rxc6 24. Bd4 a6 25. Nc3 Re6 26. Na4 Rfe8 27. Kf2 Bc6 28. Nxb6 Bb5 29. Bxb5 axb5 30. Nxd5 Re2+ 31. Kf3 R8e6 32. Rc1 f6 33. Rc8+ Kf7 34. Rc7+ Kf8 35. Nxf6 Rd2 36. Be5 h6 37. h4 Rd8 38. h5 gxh5 39. Ke4 b4 40. axb4 Rb6 41. Kf5 Rd2 42. g3 Rxb4 43. Kg6 1-0

Kosintseva, Nadezhda - Xu Yuhua
   2009 , C07

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. Ngf3 dxe4 6. Nxe4 cxd4 7. cxd4 Bb4+ 8. Nc3 Nf6 9. Bd3 h6 10. O-O O-O 11. a3 Be7 12. Bc2 Re8 13. Bf4 a6 14. Qd3 Bf8 15. Rad1 Ne7 16. Ne5 Bd7 17. Rfe1 Bc6 18. Qh3

233
18. ... Bd5 19. Re3 Qb6 20. b4 Rec8
234
21. Rg3
Kingside threats are now impossible to defend against without material losses.
21. ... Rxc3
( 21. ... Kh8 22. Nxf7+ )
22. Rxc3 Nc6 23. Bxh6 Nxd4 24. Be3 Ne2+ 25. Kf1 Qd6 26. Ng4 Ne4 27. Bxe4 1-0

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Modern Chess Combinations: January, February, March 2016

Modern Chess Combinations: January, February, March 2016 (Quarterly Chess Tactics Book 5) is now out with over 200 puzzles for you to solve. It is available on Amazon and on Kobo. There is also a Russian Edition! The Kindle free sample contains dozens of combinations, so you can first practice those positions and see if you like the selection. This publication is a collection of over 200 best combinations played by strong chess players in tournaments that took place the first quarter of 2016. I first filtered the correct combinations with various computer-assisted approaches, and then manually went through the entire collection to select only the puzzles useful to practical chess players.
The book is the first volume in the "Quarterly Chess Tactics" series for 2016, which provides instructive tactical positions from the most recent top chess tournaments. This volume among other tournaments covers the decisive game from the Moscow Candidates Tournament. The frame below will also allow you to preview the first portion of the book

Saturday, May 7, 2016

From the Opening into the Endgame – Alapin Siclian selection

I have always been tempted to adopt opening lines that take the game straight into the endgame, since that would, at least in theory, both allow me to practice my endgames skills, and utilize my opening preparation to control the nature of resulting play. Here is one example of such an "opening to endgame" transition that I came across recently:

Benjamin, Joel - Serper, Grigory
New York CITS   1996 , B22

1. e4 c5 2. c3 d5 3. exd5 Qxd5 4. d4 Nf6 5. Nf3 e6 6. Be2 Nc6 7. O-O Be7 8. c4 Qd8
304
9. dxc5 Qxd1 10. Rxd1 Bxc5 11. Nc3 O-O 12. a3 b6 13. b4
305
There have been a number of games in this theoretical opening/endgame position. This game and the following ones present some typical ideas for White – pressure on d file and play for queenside passed pawns.
13. ... Be7 14. Bf4 Bb7 15. Nb5 Rad8 16. Bc7 += Rxd1+ 17. Rxd1 Rc8 18. Bf4 Ba8 19. Ne5 Nxe5 20. Nxa7 Rc7 21. Nb5 Rxc4 22. Bxe5 Rc2 23. Bd3 Rc8 24. Na7 Rf8 25. Rc1 Nd5 26. Rc8 Bb7 27. Rxf8+ Kxf8 28. Be4 f6 29. Bb2 h6 30. Bf3 e5 31. Nb5 Ba6 32. Na7 Bb7 33. Nb5 Ba6 34. Na7 Bb7 35. Nb5 Ba6 36. Na7 Bb7 37. Nb5 Ba6 38. Na7 1/2-1/2


Kharlov, Andrei - Istratescu, Andrei
Metz op 11th   1993 , B22

1. e4 c5 2. c3 d5 3. exd5 Qxd5 4. d4 Nf6 5. Nf3 e6 6. Be2 Nc6 7. O-O Be7 8. c4 Qd8 9. dxc5 Qxd1 10. Rxd1 Bxc5 11. Nc3 O-O 12. Bf4 b6 13. a3 Bb7 14. b4 Be7 15. Nb5 Rad8 16. Bc7 Rxd1+ 17. Rxd1 Rc8 18. Bd6
306
18. ... Kf8 19. Bxe7+ Kxe7 20. Nd6 Rb8 21. b5 Nd8 22. Ne5 Bd5 23. Nf5+ exf5 24. cxd5 Kd6 25. Nc4+ Kc5 26. d6 Kxb5
307
27. Nxb6+
( 27. Ne5+!? Ka5 28. Rc1 += )
27. ... Kc5 28. Nc8 a5 29. Rc1+ Kd4 30. Rc4+ Kd5 31. Ne7+ Ke6 32. g3 g6 33. Rd4 Rb6 34. Bc4+ Kd7 35. Nd5 Nxd5 36. Rxd5 Nb7 37. Rd1 Rxd6 38. Rb1 Nc5 39. Bxf7 Ne4 40. Bg8 Nf6 41. Bxh7 Nxh7 42. Rb7+ Ke6 43. Rxh7 Rd1+ 44. Kg2 Ra1 45. g4 fxg4 46. Kg3 Rxa3+ 47. Kxg4 Kf6 48. Ra7 Ra1 49. h4 1/2-1/2


Rublevsky, Sergei - Zhou, Jianchao
CHN-RUS Summit Men 7th Rapid   2010.08.13 , B22

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. c3 d5 4. exd5 Qxd5 5. d4 Nf6 6. Be2 Be7 7. O-O O-O 8. c4 Qd8 9. dxc5 Bxc5 10. Nc3 Qxd1 11. Rxd1 Nc6 12. a3 b6 13. b4 Be7 14. Bf4 Bb7 15. Nb5 Rfd8 16. Bc7 Rxd1+ 17. Rxd1 Ne8 18. Bg3 f6 19. Nfd4 Nxd4 20. Nxd4 Kf7
308
21. c5!? Bd5
( 21. ... bxc5 22. Nxe6 Kxe6 23. Bc4+ Kf5 24. Rd7 Rd8 25. Rxb7 Rd1+ 26. Bf1 Ke6 = )
22. Nf5 bxc5 23. Nxe7 Kxe7 24. bxc5 Rc8 25. Rc1 Bc6 = 26. f3 g5 27. h4 h6 28. f4 gxh4 29. Bxh4 Rb8 30. Bf2 Nc7 31. Re1 Rb3 32. f5 e5 33. Bh4 Rxa3 34. Bh5 e4 35. Kh2 Nb5 36. Bg3 a5 37. Bf3 Ra4 38. Re3 Rc4 39. Bf2 Kd7 40. Bd1 Rxc5 41. Rh3 Rc1 42. Bb3 Nd6 43. Be6+ Ke7 44. Rxh6 Rc2 45. Rh7+ Ke8 46. Bd4 e3 47. Bxf6 Rxg2+ 48. Kh3 Rg3+ 49. Kxg3 Ne4+ 50. Kf4 Nxf6 51. Rh8+ Ke7 52. Kxe3 Bd5 1-0


Sveshnikov, Vladimir - Gagliardi, Christian
Riga RTU op-A   2011.08.12 , B22

1. e4 c5 2. c3 d5 3. exd5 Qxd5 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. d4 e6 6. Be2 Nc6 7. O-O Be7 8. c4 Qd8 9. dxc5 Qxd1 10. Rxd1 O-O 11. Nc3 Bxc5 12. a3 b6 13. b4 Be7 14. Bf4 Bb7 15. Nb5 Rad8 16. Ne5 a6 17. Nxc6 Bxc6 18. Nc3 Rc8 19. Be3 Rb8 20. Bf4 Rbc8 21. Rac1 Rfd8 22. Rxd8+ Bxd8
309
23. c5 bxc5 24. Bxa6 Ra8 25. b5 +/-
310
25. ... Be8 26. Na4 Nd5 27. Bd6 Nc7 28. Bxc7 Bxc7 29. Nxc5 Bd6 30. a4 g6 31. g3 Kf8 32. f4 Ke7 33. Ne4 Bb4 34. Rc7+ Kf8 35. Rc4 Ba5 36. Kg2 Ke7 37. Nc5 Rd8 38. Nb3 Bb6 39. a5 Ba7 40. b6 Bb8 41. Bb7 1-0






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