Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bogoljubow defense - the most complicated line of defense

The Bogoljubow defense is often named the best defense for black in the Blackmar Diemer. I tend to agree on that, but have to note that the lines are getting horribly complicated. Even my faithfull companion Houdini does not always see the correct assessment and needs to be "taken down the lane".

For example, I have been focusing lately on the lines after 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 g6 6.Bc4 Bg7 7.00 00 8.Qe1 ( The Studier Attack ) Nc6 9.Qh4

Now 9...Bf5 10.h3 is a very difficult continuation, as white attacks on the kingside whilst black will be grapping pawns. Half a year ago, I discovered that the line 10...Bxc2 11.Rf2 Na5 gave black the upper hand as 12.Bxf7+ Rxf7 13.Rxe2 was better for black.

But now I found the correct reply for white : the simple 12.Bf1 forces black to retreat and loose valuable time.

Black only has 12...Bf5 and now 13.Bh6 gives white complete equality

So I continue to believe that the line 9...Bf5 10.h3 gives white an equal game - even if others say differently...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Second chances

I played a interesting blitz game a week ago or so at ligthning speed and discovered once again that the attacker shoulkd not dispair when missing the right continution.

1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 e6
The Euwe defense

6.Bg5 Be7 7.Bd3 00 8.00 c5 9.Qe1
The alternative 9.dxc5 might be better

9...cxd4 10.Qh4
All according to the standard attacking plan

This move obvioulsy weakens black's position, but it is not easy for white to punish it. In fact, Houdini thinks it is the best move here

Is this better than Nxd4 ? None of the lines seem to offer a crushing combination ( see below )

Only move

12.Bxe7 Qxe7
12...Nxe7 is punished by 13.Nfg5

Bad - I wanted to keep the queens on the board, but this idea is loosing because of 13...f5 or even 13...f6

My opponent fails to see the refutation, which is not abnormal at this ligthning speed

14.g4 f6 15.Nh3 Ne3
Wrong once again, 15...hxg4 would have won

16.Nxf6+ Kh8 17.Nf4
black resigns. Bottomline, dont panic when missing the right move when playing a gambit in blitz - your opponent might loose track also !

After the game, I went to analyse this line, and I looked at 9.dxc5 a bit more in detail, discovering several great white moves, eg

a/ 9...Bxc5+ 10.Kh1
a1/ 10...h6 11.Qe1 !!! with equality
a2/ 10...Nbd7 11.Qe1 with a white advantage
a3/ 10...Nc6 11.Qe1 winning
a4/ 10...Be7 11.Qe1 equal

b/ 9...Nbd7 10.b4 with a tiny white advantage

c/ 9...h6 a killer move giving black the advantage, as black simplifies the game in all lines, eg 10.Bxf6
c1/ 10...Bxc5+ 11.Kh1 Qxf6 12.Ne4 Qe7 13.Nxc5 Qxc5 14.Qe2 equal
c2/ 10...Bxf6 11.Qe1
c21/ 11...Nd7 12.Na4 equal
c22/ 11...Qc7 12.Kh1 equal
c23/ 11...Be7 12.b4 equal

d/ 9...Nc6 10.Qe1 with equality

e/ 9...Qc7 10.Qe1 with equality

9.Qe1 is also promising in various lines, eg

f/ 9...cxd4 10.Qh4
f1/ 10...h6 11.Bxh6
a11/ 11...dxc3 12.Bxg7 Kxg7 13.Qg5+ Kh8 14.Qh6+ Kg8 15.Ng5 winning
a12/ 11...gxh6 12.Qxh6 winning
f2/ 10...h5 11.Ne4 winning
f3/ 10...Nbd7 11.Bxh7+ winning
f4/ 10...g6 11.Nxd4 seems a bit better than 11.Ne4
a41/ 11...Nd5 12.Nf3 equal
a42/ 11...Nbd7 12.Nf3 with a small white advantage
a43/ 11...e5 12.Nf3 with a small white advantage

g/ 9...h6 10.Bxf6 Bxf6 11.dxc5 returning to the line in c2/ above

h/ 9...Nbd7 10.Qh4 transposing to other Euwe lines

i/ 9...Nc6 10.Qh4 equal

j/ 9...Re8 10.dxc5 with a small white advantage

The choice between 9.Qe1 and 9.dxc5 is thus not easy - and often merge after black's best move 9...h6. I do prefer 9.Qe1 however, as it is more in line with the thematic Euwe lines.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The "bad" Bb4 - as opposed to the "good" Be7 in the Teichmann Exchange

Previous posts discussed the lines 10...Bd6 and 10...Be7 in the Seidel Hall line of the Teichmann Exchange, occuring after 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 Bg4 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 c6 8.g4 e6 9.g5 Nd5 10.Bd3
We learned that black faces an uphill struggle to obtain equality.
This current blog focuses on another variation, occuring after black's 10...Bb4.

The lines with black playing Bb4 are often condemned in the Blackmar Diemer theory, but are actually very hard to play against, as black might exchange a piece and comes closer to a potentially winning endgame.

11.Bd2 has some merit as it allows the standard attach Qe4 followed by h4 and h5 if black were so kind as to play 11...00, eg 11...00 12.Qe4 g6 13.h4 (diagram) 13...e5 (trying to open the e-file) 14.h5 and white is better, eg 14...exd4 15.hxg6 Re8 16.gxf7+ and white mates in 10.
The problem is that black can simply play a waiting move 11...Nd7 (instead of the committal 11...00) and white must declare his intentions first - with black getting the better play.

11.a3 is also insufficient, eg 11...Bxc3+ 12.bxc3 Nxc3 and there is no way to create an immediate threat to exploit the two pawn deficit, eg 13.00 00 14.Bxh7+ Kxh7 15.Qxc3 Nd7 and black is better

So 11.00 ( with the automatic reply 11...00 ) is actually forced for white, after which 12.Ne4 is the only move that does not permit the exchange of pieces. Black's bishop on b4 now seems ridiculous.

The Blackmar Diemer being compared to pirate Jack Sparrow

Would you like to be compared to captain Jack Sparrow ?

Well, that's what Rick Kennedy did when he reviewed my book "Attack with the Blackmar Diemer" some time ago. The review can be found on his exciting blog.

Now Rick might be in a good position to compare our beloved gambit with this funny character - he manages to get the Jerome gambit alive - and staying alive in the midst of gunpower seems to be a speciality of Jack Sparrow...

Thanks Rick for your great review - and good luck with the Jerome gambit - Can we find a Jerome-Blackmar-Diemer gambit ? How would that look like ?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What the computer is playing against me

I am playing occasionaly on FICS under the account Ajaxke - my rating is quite low as my daughter ( 9 years old ) continuously plays under the same account.

Anyway, I was playing yesterday one of the Crafty clones and it was playing an interesting line against me. It did that again and agan, without spending any time, so I am pretty sure it must be preprogrammed.

I could not find the refutation over the board, so I decided to analyse it a bit better and came up with a nice advantage for white - but getting an advantage requires some great white moves !

Monday, June 6, 2011

An update on the refutation of the refutation (part 2)

I have listed some analysis on Euwe's refutation in the Blackmar Diemer gambit ( bear with me - it's the final part... )

After careful analysis, I believed the line discussed below offers white the best chances.
Feel free to analyse, comment and improve on it in your own games.

That's also what our favorite author Tim Sawyer did, his suggestion 9.Ne5! Bd6 10.Rf1 Qe7 11.Nxd7 Nxd7 12.Bxd7 Qxd7 13.dxc5 Bxh2 14.Qxd7+ Kxd7 15.Rxf7+ Kc6 16.000 Be5! 17.Re1 ( "with slightly better endgame for White" - Tim Sawyer ). The problem with this line is that an awful lot of pieces have been exchanged after 17...Bxc3 18.bxc3 Rae8 19.Rxg7. It will obvioulsy require master level skill to convert this rook endgame into a win for either side - something the average Blackmar Diemer gambiteer will not like so much.

So keep on sending in these comments - and keep on attacking that enemy king !

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Botvinnik Semi-Slav

After having lost badly yesterday evening against a well prepared opponent in a fierce Botvinnik Slav game, I thought it would be a good idea to look up the correct line in the de-facto standard book on this complicated opening : "The Botvinnik Semi-Slav" by IM Steffen Pedersen, published in 2000.

I saw that the line I played was not even listed - so I guess it was really that bad - but what puzzled me more, was the author's bold statement in the foreword :

"...In these Fritzy times, it is fairly easy to check analysis to a resaonable degree of accuracy, but with the highly complicated positions which make up most of this book, chess engines are often not that trustworthy, or to be more exact need far more time and have to be 'taken down the road' all the way. Naturally, various chess engines have been of great help during my work, but when analysing such complicated positions as arise in the Botvinnik System or the Anti-Moscow variation, intuition counts for a lot. For example, I wonder whether a computer will ever be able to find Sergei Ivanov's amazing 22...Rh5!! to be found in the introduction to Chapter 2...."

Well, Steffen, I checked out this position on my laptop and guess what, Houdini 1.5a identified 22...Rh5 is a fraction of a second - it did not have to be 'taken down the road' at all. Also, if finding this move is intuition - then my laptop seems to be very human indeed...

This great example convinces me once again that computer analysis is by far the most important thing in analysing complicated openings, like the Botvinnik Slav or the Blackmar Diemer. Computers are not only capable of analysing deeper using brute force, now they seem to have human characteristics also !