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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






Friday, April 1, 2016

Finding The Winning Attacking Idea

In the following game, I could only find a draw in a position where a computer discovered that White was completely winning. Would you be able to figure out how to develop the initiative?
Jiganchine, Roman    --    Cao, Jason
BC ch 99th   2014.10.13     1/2-1/2     B92


127 White to move
38. Qh8+ 
( Instead correct was 38. Rd6+! f6 ( 38. ... Kh7 39. Qf5+ Kg7 40. Qg4 +- ) 39. Qf5 +- Bh4 40. Qf4+ Bg5 41. Qf3   128  surprisingly White's threats of Rd6-d8-h8 are completely dominating... )
38. ... Kg6 39. Qg8+ Kh6 40. Qh8+ Kg6 41. Qg8+ 1/2-1/2

Monday, March 14, 2016

How to attack with Isolated pawn – games by Pavasovic

Here are three games from Alapin Sicilian that illustrate the typical ideas in IQP positions – d4-d5 break and piece sacrifices around the Black king.

Pavasovic, Dusko - Podkriznik, Gregor
   1999 , B22

1. e4 c5 2. c3 d5 3. exd5 Qxd5 4. d4 Nf6 5. Nf3 e6 6. Be3 cxd4 7. cxd4 Be7 8. Nc3 Qd6 9. Bd3 Nc6 10. a3 b6 11. O-O O-O 12. Qe2 Bb7 13. Rad1 Rac8 14. Rfe1 Rfd8 15. Bg5 Qb8 16. Bb1 Rd7

177
17. d5 Nxd5 18. Nxd5 exd5 19. Bf5 +/-
178
19. ... Rcd8 20. Bxd7 Rxd7 21. Bxe7 Nxe7 22. Ne5 Rc7 23. Qf3 f6 24. Ng4 Qd8 25. Rd4 Rd7 26. Ne3 Nc6 27. Rd2 Ne5 28. Qg3 d4 29. Nf5 d3 30. f4 Ng6 31. Qe3 Kf8 32. h4 Nh8 33. h5 g6 34. hxg6 hxg6 35. Qh3 Kg8 36. Nh6+ Kg7 37. Ng4 Nf7 38. Nf2 Ba6 39. Red1 Qc7 40. Nxd3 Bxd3 41. Rxd3 Rxd3 42. Qxd3 Qxf4 43. Qd4 Qc7 44. Rd3 Qc1+ 45. Kh2 Qc7+ 46. Kg1 Qc1+ 47. Rd1 Qc7 48. a4 Qc6 49. b3 Qc2 50. Rd3 Qc1+ 51. Kh2 Qc7+ 52. Kh1 Qc1+ 53. Rd1 Qc2 54. Qd3 Qc5 55. Qd5 Qc2 56. Rf1 Qc7 57. Qe6 Qd8 58. Rc1 Qh8+ 59. Kg1 Qd8 60. Kh1 Qh8+ 61. Qh3 Qd8 62. Qc8 Qd2 63. Qc3 Qd8 64. Qc7 Qd2 65. Rc3 Qd4 66. Rf3 Qh4+ 67. Kg1 Qe1+ 68. Kh2 Qh4+ 69. Rh3 Qd4 70. Qc3 Qf4+ 71. Kg1 Qd6 72. Rd3 Qe6 73. Re3 Qd6 74. Re8 Qd1+ 75. Kf2 Qd7 76. Rc8 Qf5+ 77. Kg1 Qd5 78. Rc7 a6 79. Qc4 Qd1+ 80. Kf2 Qd2+ 81. Kf3 Qd1+ 82. Kg3 Qe1+ 83. Kh2 Qe5+ 84. g3 Qh5+ 85. Kg2 g5 86. g4 Qg6 87. Qc2 Qh6 88. Qf5 Qh8 89. Qe6 Qa8+ 90. Kg3 Qf8 91. Qe7 Qg8 92. Rb7 1-0

Pavasovic, Dusko - Horvath, Csaba
   2000 , B22

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. c3 d5 4. exd5 Qxd5 5. d4 Nf6 6. Be3 cxd4 7. cxd4 Nc6 8. Nc3 Qd6 9. a3 Be7 10. Bd3 b6 11. O-O Bb7 12. Qe2 O-O 13. Rad1 Rad8 14. Bg5 Qb8 15. Bb1 Rfe8 16. Rfe1 g6 17. Ba2 Nh5

179
18. d5 exd5 19. Rxd5 Bf8 20. Ne4 Rxd5 21. Bxd5 Nd4 22. Bxf7+ Kxf7 23. Nxd4 Qe5 24. Nc3 Qxe2 25. Rxe2 Rxe2 26. Ndxe2 Nf6 27. Be3 Nd7 28. Bd4 Nb8 29. f3 Nc6 30. Kf2 Nxd4 31. Nxd4 Kf6 32. Ke3 Bh6+ 33. Kd3 Bc1 34. Kc2 Bf4 35. g3 Be3 36. Kd3 Bc1 37. Kc2 Be3 38. Kd3 Bg1 39. Ne4+ Ke7 40. Ne2 Bxh2 41. Ke3 h5 42. Kf2 h4 43. gxh4 Be5 44. N2c3 1/2-1/2

Pavasovic, Dusko - Groetz, Harald
   2002 , B22

1. e4 c5 2. c3 d5 3. exd5 Qxd5 4. d4 e6 5. Nf3 Nf6 6. Be3 cxd4 7. cxd4 Nc6 8. Nc3 Qd6 9. a3 Be7 10. Bd3 b6 11. O-O O-O 12. Qe2 Bb7 13. Rad1 Rfd8 14. Rfe1 h6 15. Bb1 Bf8 16. Bc1 g6 17. Ba2 Ne7 18. Ne5 Nf5 19. Bf4 Qe7

180
20. Nxf7 Kxf7 21. Bxe6+ Kg7 22. d5 Kh7 23. Qf3
181It turns out that Black can't hold on to his material advantage.
23. ... Ng7 24. Bg8+ Nxg8 25. Rxe7 Bxe7 26. Be5 Rf8 27. Qd3 Bc5 28. Ne4 Rad8 29. Bxg7 Kxg7 30. Nxc5 bxc5 31. Qc3+ Nf6 32. Qxc5 Rxd5 33. Rxd5 Bxd5 34. Qxa7+ Rf7 35. Qc5 Bb7 36. b4 g5 37. a4 Rd7 38. h3 g4 39. Kh2 gxh3 40. Kxh3 Rd3+ 41. f3 Kg6 42. a5 Rd5 43. Qc4 Rd2 44. b5 Bd5 45. Qb4 Rc2 46. Qb1 Be6+ 47. g4 1-0

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