Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Latest on the Paleface Pirc

Last blog covered the poosition after 1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 g6 3.e4 d6 4.Be3 Bg7 5.Qd2 00 6.Nc3 c6 7.000 b5 8.g4 b4. We learned that white is able to hold, but black has the better game after the daring 9.Na4.

In the actual game, I played 9.Nb1 but it seems black gets a nice lead after 9...Qa5 10.a3 c5.

That brings us to white's last option 9.Nce2 (diagram). White denies black of an immediate target and increases the pressure on black's king side as the knight can now quickly move to g3 or f4 to support the advance of the g and h pawns.

Black has a large range of replies, but none seems to provide an advantage.

a/ 9...Qa5 10.Kb1 (diagram)
...a1/ 10...c5 11.h4 (=)
...a2/ 10...Rd8 11.Nc1 (+=)
...a3/ 10...Be6 11.Nc1 (+=)
...a4/ 10...Bd7 11.Nc1 (+=)
...a5/ 10...Bb7 11.h4 (+=)
...a6/ 10...Ba6 11.h4 (=)
...a7/ 10...Na6 11.g5 (+=)
...a8/ 10...Ba6 11.h4 (=)
...a9/ 10...Nbd7 11.g5 (=)
...a0/ 10...Nfd7 11.h4 (+=)
...aA/ 10...Ne8 11.h4 (+=)
...aB/ 10...d5 11.e5 (+=)
...aC/ 10...h5 11.gxh5 (+=)
...aD/ 10...a6 11.Nc1 (+=)

b/ 9...Qb6 10.Nf4 (+=)

c/ 9...Qc7 10.Nf4 (+=)

d/ 9...a5 10.h4 (diagram)
...d1/ 10...a4 11.h5 ( more prudent than 11.Qxb4 )
......d1a/ 11...b3 12.cxb3 axb3 13.a3 (+=)
......d1b/ 11...Qa5 12.Nf4 (+=)
...d2/ 10...h5 11.Nf4 hxg4 12.h5 (+=)
...d3/ 10...Qb6 11.h5 (+=)
...d4/ 10...Ba6 11.Bh6 (+=)

e/ 9...Ba6 10.h4 ( again more prudent than 11.Qxb4 )
...e1/ 10...Qa5 11.h5 !! Qxa2 12.Qxb4 (=)
...e2/ 10...h5 11.Ng3 (+=)
...e3/ 10...Nd7 11.h5 (+=)

f/ 9...d5 10.e5 (+=)

g/ 9...c5 10.dxc5 Qa5 11.g5
...g1/ 11...Ne8 12.Kb1 (=)
...g2/ 11...Nfd7 12.cxd6 Qxa2 13.Qxb4 (+=)
...g3/ 11...Nh5 12.Kb1 (=)

h/ 9...h5 10.gxh5 Nxh5 11.Ng3 ( safer than 11.Qxb4 )
...h1/ 11...Nf6 12.h4 (+=)
...h2/ 11...Qa5 12.Kb1 (+=)
...h3/ 11...Nxg3 12.hxg3 (+)

So we see that white gets great attacking lines after 9.Nce2. Black is able to equalize in some lines - but hey, that's life !

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Abby Marchall on chesscafe on the Blackmar Diemer

I am so glad that Abby Marshall discusses the Blackmar Diemer gambit on her blog on chesscafe.com. She really makes my day !

The line she suggests as a defense to the Blackmar Diemer is the Bogoljubow 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 g6 6.Bc4 Bg7 7.00 00 8.Qe1 Nc6 9.Qh4 and now 9...Bf5 (diagram).

Now we all know that the Bogoljubow is a difficult animal, not only for the attacker, but also for the defender. I covered an earlier blog on this "For those that do not believe" where I suggested 10.h3. Abby only briefly discusses 10.h3 and focuses on 10.Kh1. I agree with her that white gets a difficult game after 10.Kh1, but I do not agree with her in her comment on 10.Kh1 :

"...10.h3 is a useful move, preparing g4, while preventing any black pieces from going to g4. 10...Nb4 The first we get to see of ...Nb4 in action. 11.g4 (11.Bh6 is less reckless and better. 11...Qd6 taking on c2 is possible, though why not make White think about it on every move? Black is already up a pawn.) 11...Bxc2 12.Be3 Bd3 13.Bxd3 Nxd3 14.Ng5 h6 White's aggression is rebuked and Black is up another pawn...."

Hmm, let's look at 10.h3 Nb4 (diagram) ( in my earlier blog, I only discussed 10...Bxc2 11.Rf2 and proved that white is doing very well )

I agree with her that 11.g4 is reckless and that 11.Bh6 is better. Let's now take a look at 11...Qd6 that she suggests. After some assistance of Houdini, it seems 12.Rad1 (diagram) fully equalizes and perhaps even more !!!

a/ 12...Nxc2 13.Rd2 (+=)

b/ 12...Bxc2 13.Ng5 (+=)

c/ 12...Bxh6 13.Qxh6 (+)

d/ 12...Nbd5 13.Bxd5 Nxd5 14.Ng5 (+=)

e/ 12...Nfd5 13.Ng5 (+)

f/ 12...Nh5 13.Bxg7
...f1/ 13...Kxg7 14.g4 (+=)
...f2/ 13...Nxg7 14.Ne4 (+)

g/ 12...Nc6 13.Ng5 (+=)

h/ 12...e6 13.Bxg7 Kxg7 14.g4 (+=)

i/ 12...c5 13.Be3 (+=)

j/ 12...b5 13.Nxb5 (+=)

k/ 12...Rad8 13.Ng5
...k1/ 13...Qb6 14.Na4 Qc6 15.Bb3 (=)
...k2/ 13...Nxc2 14.Nd5 Nh5 15.Rxf5 gxf5 16.Bxg7 Kxg7 17.Nxe7 (=)

So Abby, welcome to reality !! The line you suggested as winning for black is certainly no win for black. On the contrary, it is black who is struggling to stay in the game as white is winning in all but one lines. If black can find all these moves behind the board - he has a chance of levelling the game against a well prepared attacker !

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Paleface Pirc - Both Ends Burning.

I got the title from an old Roxy Music song, but actually, the title should be "Both Sides Burning" as both players hurried to attack the king. Who will be first ? And can the slowest still keep up ?

Yesterday I played in the Belgian teamcompetiotion, and my opponent didn't dare to move into a Blackmar Diemer. Instead he moved into a Pirc, but the positions didn't get any simpler, with both players attacking on opposite sides.

Guido De Bouver - Kristian Pade Frederiksen
1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 g6 3.e4 d6 4.Be3 Bg7 5.Qd2
As in the game Anand - Gurevich, that is covered in an earlier blog

5...00 6.Nc3 c6 7.000 b5 8.g4 b4 (diagram)

Black attacks on the queenside, and white will throw everything on the kingside. But who will be first ? It seems black is ahead, as he is chasing the knight already, but that not really the case. Anyway, where should the white knight go ? It is really a crucial decision for the remainder of the game. I played 9.Nb1, but would 9.Na4 not be better ? ( see short analysis below ).

9.Nb1 a5
9...Qa5 10.a3 seems better for black.

10.h4 h5 (diagram)
Stopping the lightning is not easy, as my favourite Blackmar Diemer author used to say in his Keybook.

11.e5 dxe5 12.dxe5 Qxd2 13.Bxd2 Nd5 14.gxh5 Bxe5 (diagram)

A terribly complicated postition occured in the game, with white having two rooks at the enemy kings. Unfortunately, I blundered away a rook in a winning position and had to content with a draw.

But after 8...b4 (diagram above), what should white play ? 9.Nb1, 9.Ne2 or 9.Na4 ? Today, let's briefly look at the lines after 9.Na4 (diagram)

The most challenging reply is clearly 9...Qa5. Let's look briefly at the other lines.

a/ 9..a5 10.g5
...a1/ 10...Nh5 11.Bc4 (=)
...a2/ 10...Nfd7 11.h4 (+=)
...a3/ 10...Ne8 11.h4 (+=)

b/ 9...c5 10.dxc5
...b1/ 10...Nc6 11.cxd6 (+=)
...b2/ 10...Qa5 11.b3 (+=)

c/ 9...Na6 10.b3
...c1/ 10...Qa5 (transposing to xxx)
...c2/ 10...Qc7 11.h4 h5 12.Bh6 (=)
...c3/ 10...h5 11.gxh5 Nxh5 12.Ne2 (+=)

d/ 9...Nbd7 10.Qxb4 Rb8 11.Qd2 (+=)

So refraining from 9...Qa5 does not bring any advantage for black. let's look now at the main line (diagram)

e/ 9...Qa5 10.b3
...e1/ 10...Bd7 11.a3
......e1a/ 11...c5 12.axb4
.........e1a1/ 12...cxb4 13.Kb2 (=)
.........e1a2/ 12...Qxb4 13.Qxb4 cxb4 14.Nb2 (=)
......e1b/ 11...Na6 12.g5
.........e1b1/ 12...Nh5 13.Qe2 (=)
.........e1b2/ 12...Ne8 13.h4 (=)
...e2/ 10...Nfd7 11.h4
......e2a/ 11...Nb6 12.h5 Nxa4 13.bxa4 (=)
......e2b/ 11...c5 12.h5 cxd4 13.Bh6 (+=)
......e2c/ 11...Ba6 12.h5 (+=)
......e2d/ 11...h5 12.Bg5 (+=)
......e2e/ 11...Rd8 12.h5 (+=)
...e3/ 10...Nbd7 11.g5
......e3a/ 11...Nh5 12.Kb1 (=)
......e3b/ 11...Ne8 12.h4 (=)
...e4/ 10...Na6 11.h4 (=)

So it seems white is just able to hold after the critical 9.Na4 Qa5 10.b3, white might even be able to get an attack himself in some lines, but black surely has the attack.

So let's put 9.Na4 to bed quickly. In next post, I will look into 9.Nce2 in more detail. Stay tuned !

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A simple and clear reaction

In our club, I played yesterday a great Paleface against a junior. Not a junior in the sense that he is new in chess. No, junior in the sense of still being young, not crippled with traditionals fears and ideas that older people are suffering from. Junior, in the sense of being open to new ideas. Anyway, he was just back from Maribor (Slovenia ), where he participated in the world youth championship.  So I realised I was not playing against mr Nobody.

I opened with 1.d4, as always. He replied Nf6. Then I gave it a few minutes or so of thought, giving him the impression I wanted to experiment something, and played 2.f3. His facial reaction was simple and clear, a sign of unbelieve ( After the game he said he could not believe his eyes after my first move - this could not be a serious move. But he admitted my opening had worked out ! ). The game continued as follows :

Guido De Bouver - Karsten Verhasselt
1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 e6 3.e4 b6 4.Be3 Bb7 5.Nc3 d5 6.e5 Nfd7 7.f4 c5 8.Nf3 Nc6 9.Be2
Now my young opponent played 9...g6 (diagram). He said he wanted to stop the advance of the f pawn - guess the remainder of the game proves this was not the right recipe to do so

10.00 a6
A logical move after g6, preparing for king side fianchetto

11.Qe1 Be7 (?) 12.Qg3 c4(?!)
Intending the win space on the queenside, and follow up b5.

13.f5 (!) (diagram)

13...gxf5 14.Qg7 Rf8 15.Bh6 Qc7 16.Qxh7 000 17.Bxf8 Rxf8 (diagram)

A very wild and complicated game followed, leading only to a draw as the combinational skills of my young opponent proved too strong.

So, surprise your opponent as early as move 2 - play the paleface and get a clear advantage ! Guess that was the only way for me to draw this promising junior...

Saturday, November 24, 2012

I wont give up

We all know that the Bogoljubow defense is a difficult animal, not only for the attacker but also for the defender. In previous posts, I already discussed both the Studier Attack and the Long Bogo. Both have their  advantages, both have their problems :
- it seems the Studier attack is incorrect against precise defense. But it complicates the game, and that is what the attacker is hoping for, no ?
- the Long Bogo is more precise, but it just doesnt feel right to me. The attacker, hoping for wild Diemer-ish attacks, plays it quietly ? It is like Robert de Niro playing in a spaghetti western - who would believe that ?

In any case, the line 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 g6 6.Bc4 Bg7 7.00 00 8.Qe1 Nc6 9.Qh4 Bg4 10.Ne2 Bf5 (diagram) has proven to be a challenge for white.

I considered 11.Bb3 before, only to find that black is better after the simple 11...Na5.

But now is seems to me that 11.Bh6 (diagram) is much better than 11.Bb3. Let's have a look at the lines :

a/ 11...e6 12.Bg5
...a1/ 12...Bxc2 13.Rac1 Bf5 (=+)
...a2/ 12...a6 13.c3 (=)
...a3/ 12...h6 13.Bxh6 Ne4 14.Qf4 (=)
...a4/ 12..Qe7 13.Ng3 (=)
...a5/ 12..Nb4 13.c3 (=)
...a6/ 12..Re8 13.g4 h6 14.gxf5 hxg5 15.Nxg5 gxf5 16.Rxf5(=)

b/ 11...Bxh6 12.Qxh6
...b1/ 12...Ng4 13.Qd2
......b1a/ 13...a6 14.h3 Nf6 15.Qh6 (=)
......b1b/ 13...Qd6 14.h3 Nf6 15.Qh6 (=)
......b1c/ 13...Be4 14.Qg5 (=)
...b2/ 12...Bxc2 13.Ng5 (++)
...b3/ 12...Na5 13.Bd3
......b3a/ 13...Ng4 14.Qd2 (=)
......b3b/ 13...Bxd3 14.Ng5 Bf5 15.g4 (=)
...b4/ 12...e6 13.Ng5 (=)

c/ 11...Na5 12.Bb5
...c1/ 12...c6 13.Bd3 (+=)
...c2/ 12...a6 13.Bd3 (=+)
...c3/ 12...Qd5 13.c4 (=+)

d/ 11...Qd6 12.Bxg7 Kxg7 13.Ng3
...d1/ 13...e6 14.c3 (=+)
...d2/ 13...Be6 14.b3 (=)

e/ 11...Nd5 12.Ng5 (++)

f/ 11...Ne4 12.Bxg7 Kxg7 13.Bd3 (+=)

Of course, with accurate play, black is slightly better after 11.Bh6, but white holds his chances for a fierce attack. And that's what counts for a gambiteer !

Saturday, November 17, 2012

This cant be true !

I have picked up the Latvian gambit once again lately and started studying the critical lines. Now there are enough critical lines to study in the Latvian, believe me, but the poisoned pawn variation is surely one of them.
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5 3.Bc4 fxe4 4.Nxe5 Qg5 5.d4 Qxg2 6.Qh5+ g6 7.Bf7+ ( a critical move in white's attack ! ) Kd8 8.Bxg6 Qxh1+ 9.Ke2 (diagram).

Most authors indicate that black is completely lost in this line, but is seems to me that black is alive and kicking !

9...Qxc1 !!! condemned by many. Obviously, white can force a draw now with 10.Nf7+ Ke8 , but can white win ???

Let look first at 10.Nc3 ( diagram)
Black has the edge after 10...Qxc2+ 11.Kf1 c6 (making the escape hole )

The other winning candidate is 10.Nd2 (diagram), but also here, I see that 10...Qxb2 brings white nothing more than a draw.

I have checked the far majority of the lines that previously were supposed to win for white, but it just seems black can escape with a draw !!

On the downside, it seems that a line that was believed to win for black is actually winning for white :1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5 3.Bc4 fxe4 4.Nxe5 d5 5.Qh5+ g6 6.Nxg6 hxg6 7.Qxh8 Kf7 8.Bb3 Bg7 9.Qh7 (diagram)
My textbook indicates 9...Qg5 as winning for black, but my silicon assistant immediately sees the refutation 10.h4!!, stopping black's attack even before it started. But then again, I never liked that line anyway.

Does this restore the Latvian to full equality ?? Unfortunately not, as there are still other refutations to refute ! It just shows that there is so much to discover in gambit play.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Enough proof ?

After some stupid article on chess.com on the correctness of the Blackmar Diemer gambit ( cfr to my earlier blog "Another nonbeliever" ), I looked up the position that the author referred to. I was surprised that I already covered that one in May 2011. Here's the article : "Really that bad".

Today I will be going in detail in one of the resulting positions : 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 e6 6-Bg5 Be7 7.Bd3 Nbd7 8.00 c5 ( the so-called refutation ) 9.Kh1 ( the refutation of the refutation ! ) cxd4 10.Nxd4 00 11.Qe1 (diagram).

a/ 11...Nd5 A simple way to exchange pieces, no ? 12.Nxe6!! fxe6 13.Qxe6+ Kh8 14.Qe4 (+)

b/ 11...Nc5 12.Rd1 (diagram)

...b1/ 12...Nxd3 13.Rxd3 Bd7 14.Nf3 Qe8 15.Ne5 (+=)
...b2/ 12...h6 13.Bh4 (=)
...b3/ 12...a6 13.Nf3 (=)
...b4/ 12...Bd7 13.Nb3 (=)
...b5/ 12...Kh8 13.Nb5 (+=)
...b6/ 12...Qc7 13.Qh4 (+)
...b7/ 12...Qb6 13.Bxf6 Bxf6 14.Rxf6 gxf6 15.Qh4 (+)
...b7/ 12...Qa5 13.Nd5 (++)

c/ 11...Qc7 12.Qh4 (+=)

d/ 11...Qb6 12.Qh4 (diagram
...d1/ 12...h5 13.Nb3 (=)
...d2/ 12...Re8 13.Bxf6 Nxf6 14.Rxf6 (=)
...d3/ 12...h6 13.Bxh6 gxh6 14.Qxh6 Qxd4 15.Rd4 (++)
...d4/ 12...g6 13.Rad1 (+)

e/ 11...Qa5 12.Ndb5 (diagram)

...e1/ 12...Qb4 13.a3 (=)
...e2/ 12...h6 13.Nd5 (+=)
...e3/ 12...Re8 13.Qg3 (+=)
...e4/ 12...a6 13.Nd5 (+=)

f/ 11...h6 12.Bh4 
Will be covered in a later blog.

g/ 11...b6 12.Nc6 Qe8 13.Nxe7 Qxe7 14.Ne4 (++)

h/ 11...a6 12.Qh4
...h1/ 12...h6 13.Bxh6 Ne5 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.Rxf6 (+=)
...h2/ 12...Re8 13.Nxe6 fxe6 14.Ne4 (+=)

Doesn't look too bad, no ?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Pirc defense against the Paleface

I have been loosing a number of Paleface games lately as I attacked like a madman on the kingside, whilst my opponent did the same on the queenside.

Now, in a previous post, I showed how to transpose into the Benoni defense, with equal chances for both players. But that is possibile only when black plays c5 rather quickly.

Unfortunately, some black defenders will choose a Pirc-like setup and delay the development of the c5 advance. What is the best white setup against that system ? Let's browse chesslive.de for the moves played by leading grandmasters in the position after 1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 d6 3.e4 g6 (diagram)

Anand is twice in the database, twice against Mikhail Gurevich. He played 4.Be3 in both occasions ( as to avoid the advance of the c pawn to c5 ). Also Kramnik and Kasparov played the move 4.Be3, so it cant be that bad. Let's look at the Anand-Gurevich game in Venaco (France) 2005. After 4...Bg7, Anand played 5.Qd2, immediately declaring his intentions.

Gurevich now played 5...Nc6. With the advance of the c pawn blocked, Anand played 6.Nc3. With the knight on c6, black was now ready to play 6...e5. Anand now closed the centre with the advance 7.d5 (diagram).

Putting this in Rybka gives white already a decent advantage, and the game continued 7...Nd4 8.Nge2 Nxe2 9.Bxe2 00 and finally 10.g4 (diagram) !!

With the attack on the kingside already in place, Gurevich tries to attack on the queenside with 10...c5, but this is easily countered now with the simple 11.dxc5 bxc6 12.000 (diagram)

Rybka gives white a clear advantage now, eg after 12...d5 13.exd5 Qa5 14.dxc6 ( Rybka improves Anand's play by 14.Bc4, winning ) Be6 15.g5  Rfd8 16.Qe1 Nd5 17.Nxd5 Qxa2 18.c4 and white has a won game.

Bottonline - dont play g4 to quickly in your wild kingside attacks. Make sure you can deal with the c5 counterattack !

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Another nonbeliever

I regularly play blitz games on chess.com - my handle is Ajaxke. This morning I found some reference to the Blackmar Diemer gambit in a column. Please check it out yourself, but dont get too angry at the author. He calls the Blackmar Diemer one of the "..borderline-sound gambits...." !! As some authority already said 2000 years ago, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven"...

Monday, October 15, 2012

It aint over till the fat lady sings

My quest to prove a white advantage after 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 Bg4 6.h3 Bh5 7.g4 Bg6 8.Ne5 e6 9.Qf3 c6 10.g5 Nd5 11.Bd3 Nd7 12.Nxg6 hxg6 13.Nxd5 cxd5 14.00 Qe7 was highlighted by fellow Blackmar Diemer gambiteer Gary Lane. Unfortunately, my suggestion 15.Bd2 was whispered by some incorrect iPad Stockfish analysis. 

Today, I am listing the correct white line - proving that white is better in this line.

15.Rf2 (diagram) is the move !! White prepares for a triple attack on the f7 pawn and anticipates better on black potential replies

a/ 15...000 16.Qxf7 (diagram)
...a1/ 16...Rxh3 17.Qxg6
......a1a/ 17...Rh4 18.Bf4 e5  19.dxe5 (+=)
......a1b/ 17...Qb4 18.Qxe6 Qxd4 19.Qxh3 Bc5 20.Be3 Qxe3 21.Qxe3 Bxe3 22.Re1 (+=)
......a1c/ 17...Qe8 18.Qxe8 Rxe8 19.Bg6 (+=)
......a1d/ 17...e5 18.Rf7 (+)
...a2/ 16...Rh4 17.Qxe7 Bxe7 18.Kg2 (+=)
...a3/ 16...Qxf7 17.Rxf7 
......a3a/ 17...Rxh3 18.Bf4 (+)
......a3b/ 17...Nb6 18.Bf4 (+)
...a4/ 16...Qd6 17.Kg2 (+)
...a5/ 16...e5 17.Qxg6 (+)

b/ 15...Rh5 16.Qg4 (diagram)
...b1/ 16...000 17.Bf4 
......b1a/ 17...e5 18.dxe5 (+=)
......b1b/ 17...f5 18.gxf6 Nxf6 19.Qg3 (+=)
......b1c/ 17...a6 18.Re1 (+)
......b1d/ 17...Qe8 18.c4 (+=)
......b1e/ 17...Nb6 18.Raf1 (+)
...b2/ 16...Rc8 17.Bd2 (+=)
...b3/ 16...Nb6 17.Be3 (++)
...b4/ 16...Rc8 17.Bd2 (+=)
...b5/ 16...a6 17.Bd2 (+)

c/ 15...f5 16.gxf6 gxf6 17.Bxg6+ Kd8 18.Rg2 (diagram) (+=)

d/ 15...Rh4 16.Be3
...d1/ 16...f5 17.gxf6 gxf6 18.Bxg6+ Kd8 19.Re1 (+=)
...d2/ 16...e5 17.Qxd5 Rxh3 18.Bd2 (+=)
...d3/ 16...000 17.Qg3 (+=)

e/ 15...Rc8 16.Bd2 (+=)

So, I guess the fat lady actually did sing today !

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Opening Lanes

Gary Lane  has some notes on my blog "Can you believe your eyes ?" on his own blog on chesscafe.com. Unfortunately, I have since then discovered that the line is not really winning, as I suggested before ( shit happens... ). I posted an improvement to black's play in "Stockfish on iPad versus Houdini on Windows" which shows that black is equal. But the line is so difficult that it is surely possible to find improvements for either side. To be continued.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Blackmar Diemer ?... Never heard of.

Last saturday I was playing an open tournament in Belgium - seven rounds of fast chess - each player gets 25' of time. In the first round I got paired to GM Petr Velička. As expected, I got crushed. He played an unusual move in my beloved Scandinavian defense, I sacrificed a pawn ( which he happily accepted ) for development, but never saw it back. Finally, with only s few minutes left on the clock, I decided to play my last card and sacrificed a piece to bring his king in the open. Again, he did not hesitate, took the piece and rebuffed my last attack.

Between rounds, I asked GM Petr Velička on his opinion on the Blackmar Diemer. He said "What, I don't know this opening". I re-asked, and said "You know, the Blackmar Diemer, the opening in which white sacrifices his f3 pawn." Again he answered "Never heard of such an opening." So I showed him the initial moves 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3. "Never seen that" he confirmed once again, Unfortunately, after being beaten to death in our game, I realised that I was not in a position to question the chess knowledge of my GM opponent. So I asked him what he would do in this position. He was kind enough to look at the position for 15 minutes or so and we analysed 4...exf3 5.Nxf3 Bg4 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 c6 8.g4 e6 9.g5 Nd5 10.Bd3 Bd6 (diagram).

I said I wrote a book on it, maybe he would be interested... ? "I dont read books."  he said firmly and commented "Look's okay" as he dashed off, as our next round was about to start

Now I understand how Diemer must have felt when he got standard replies back from the leading chess players when trying to sell the Blackmar Diemer... But it also shows that we need to market our opening more and grasp every opportunity to show the lines to "serious" chess players. Maybe, maybe, we will get them interested.

PS. I noticed another FIDE master in the tournament with a book on the Smith Morra. Maybe there is a slight chance they get into gambit play again... Let's hope.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Vienna defense for dummies

In the Blackmar Diemer "Vienna defense", black does not take the pawn on f3, but rather defends it through the bishop 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 Bf5.

Now white has three important alternatives :
1. attack like a madman with 5.g4 Bg6 6.g5 Nd5 7.Nxe4
2. attack like an even bigger madman with 5.g5 Bg6 6.h4
3. play quietly with 5.fxe4

The first option (diagram) used to be most popular in Diemer's era.

The great point of this "Hara Kiri attack" is that white can set up some terrible difficulties for black, eg after 7...Nc6 8.c4 the dreaded "The Bouver attack" appears and the line 7...e6 8.c4 Bb4+ 9.Ke2 is not easy either.

The problem is that white has to set up his pawns like a complete beginner. Most positions in this line seem quite strange, with white advancing too many pawns. A computer might be able to handle that, but lots of humans will feel uncomfortable with the resulting positions when playing white.

The second line was recommended by Scheerer in a must-win situation.

I dubbed this line the "More than Hara Kiri". Scheerer now suggests 6...h6 7.Bg2, but 7...Nc6 seems to give black a clear advantage.

The last line 5.fxe4 is the simplest and was covered in my book "Attack with the Blackmar Diemer"

Black has two decent replies 5...Nxe4 6.Qf3 and 5...Bxe4 6.Nxe4 Nxe4 7.Bd3, both leading to equal play.

Even if I like attacking like a madman ( I play the Blackmar Diemer for a reason !? ), the "Hara Kiri" and "More than Hara Hiri" just see too much for me - I will stick to the boring 5.fxe4 for now.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Tim Krabbe

A reader from  the Netherlands contacted me last week for buying my book. He noted he favoured the line 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 Bf5 5.g4 Bg6 6.g5 Nd5 7.Nxe4 e6, now followed by 8.c4!! In an earlier blog, I prefered 8.h4, but the suggested move seems quite interesting. Chances are quite high that black develops a piece with 8...Bb4+ (diagram)

White now plays the surprising 9.Ke2!! and it is black who is in danger of loosing a piece, eg after 9...Nb6 10.c5 Nd5 11.a3 Ba5 (diagram).

The immediate 12.b4 runs into disaster after 12...Bxe4, but white should get a small advantage after 12.Kf2!!

I realise Tom Purser has written on this some time ago - also refering to the interesting article "The man who almost played 5.Ke2" in the archives of chesscafe.com, originally dated from March 2000 by Tim Krabbe on this theme. In this highly recommended article, Blackmar Diemer prodigies such as Diemer, Welling and Kasparov (...) show us the finer details of this line.

Unfortunately, black does not have to be so supportive and can deviate from 8...Bb4+ with 8...Nb6 (=+), or even 8...Ne7 (=) and 8...Nb4 (=). But it sure seems 8.c4 is an interesting alternative to 8.h4.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Ah, the joy of gambit play.

I won a nice game in our clubmatch last friday, but the result could have been quite differently. I got into a comfortable Euwe, but then things started to get difficult.

Guido De Bouver - Patrick Morote
1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 d5 3.e4 dxe4 4.Nc3 exf3 5.Nxf3 e6 6.Bg5 Be7 7.Bd3 Nbd7 8.00 00 9.Qe1 c6 10.Qh4 Qa5 (diagram)

This cant be right I said to myself - I knew that c6 was too slow and that white was simply winning here.

By far the strongest move - there is steam coming out if my analysis engine ! ( for the fainthearted under us, 11.Bxh7+ Nxh7 12.Bxe7 Re8 13.Rae1 is far simpler but less joy... )

11...h6 what else ?

12.Bxh6 Nxe5 13.Bxg7?? (diagram) completely missing the refutation 13...Ng6!

13...Kxg7 Luckily my opponent also missed it !

14.Qg5+ and I quickly won in 17 moves.

In the analysis, it is obvious that 12.Bxh6 was not optimal. I should have played 12.Ne4 (diagram), adding yet another piece into the attack, but that is not so easy to see over the board, with the clock ticking away.

a/ 12...Nxe4 13.Bxe7 (++)

b/ 12...Nxe5 13.dxe5
...b1/ 13...Qxe5 14.Nxf6+ Bxf6 15.Bxf6 (++)
...b2/ 13...Nd5 14.Bxe7 Nxe7 15.Qxe7 (++)

c/ 12...Qd5 14.Nxd7 (++)

d/ 12...hxg5 14.Nxg5 (++)

e/ 12...Qd8 14.Nxd7 (++)

So I missed a fantastic combination and was happy to win the point as I missed black's refutation 13...Ng6. But the lines after 11.Ne5 h6 12.Ne4 are so great. Black is overwhelmed with white's pieces - but the combination sure is not that easy to see over the board. Guess that does not happen in the dull Queen's gambit lines ?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Not yet equality, but close.

The O'Kelly ( or Ziegler ) defense has been a favorite of the Blackmar Diemer critics. It was even called the refutation of the gambit. An indeed, when white attacks like a madman, black might get the better prospects ( see my earlier blogs "Ziegler innovation" and "Refuted for the wrong reason" ').

But, IM Stefan Bucker published in 2010 on chesscafe.com the right approach ( cfr "O'Kelly variation – 7.Bg5 Nbd7 line" ) 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 c6 6.Bc4 Bf5 7.Bg5.

Today we will look a bit closer at a line from that earlier blog that seems to give black some small advantage 7...Nbd7 8.Qe2 e6 9.000 Be7 10.Bxf6 Bxf6 11.d5 (diagram)

In my earlier blog, I might have given some incorrect information, so I am fixing that right now.

a/ 11...cxd5 12.Nxd5 (diagram)

...a1/ 12...Nb6 13.g4!! (=)
...a2/ 12...Nc5 13.g4!! (=)
...a3/ 12...Bg5+ 13.Kb1 (=)
...a4/ 12...Rc8 13.Rhf1 (=)
...a5/ 12...000 13.Nxf6+ gxf6 14.Bb5 (+-)
...a6/ 12...a6 13.Rhf1 (=)

b/ 11...Bxc3 12.dxe6
...b1/ 12...fxe6 13.Bxe6 (=)
...b2/ 12...Bxe6 13.Bxe6 (=)
...b3/ 12....Bxb2+ 13.Kxb2 (+=)

c/ 11...00 12.dxe6 (+=)

d/ 11...Qc7 12.dxe6 fxe6 13.Bxe6
...d1/ 13...000 14.Bxf5 Qf4+ 15.Kb1 Qxf5 16.Ne4 (=)
...d2/ 13...Qf4+ 14.Nd2 (+-)

e/ 11...Qe7 (diagram)

This seems to be the only line where black could claim a small advantage. In my earlier blog, I indicated that 12.dxe6 was to be preferred over 12.d6, but now I am not so sure anymore. In an y case, my silicon friend gives black a small advantage here ( -0.37 ). Let's investigate 12.dxe6 a bit better :
...e1/ 12...Bxe6 13.Bxe6
......e1a/ 13...fxe6 14.Qe3 (=)
......e1b/ 13...Qxe6 14.Ne4 (=)
...e2/ 12...fxe6 13.Nd4 ( improving on my earlier blog )
......e2a/ 13...000 14.Nxe6 (=+)
......e2b/ 13...Bxd4 14.Rxd4 (=+)

So we have to conclude that there are some lines in the Ziegler defense that give black a very small edge ! talking about a disappointment - but it is up to you to prove the opposite !

Saturday, September 8, 2012

That's obvious, isn't it

If I had actually won all the "won" games I had on my board, I would be a decent player. But for now, I do fail to win too many so called "won" games.

As an example, a position that is encountered quite often in fast internet games occurs after 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 and now 4..e5 (diagram).

Black realises he must develop quickly - he might have heard about playing the e5 quickly ( as in 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 e5 ), but playing it on move 4 is just one move too late.

Play continues 5.dxe5 Qxd1+ 6.Kxd1 Nfd7 7.Nd5 Kd8 8.Bg5+ and by now, black should realise he is in a terrible mess. Black only has 8...f6, followed by 9.exf6 (diagram).

a/ 9...gxf6 10.Nxf6
... a1/ 10...h6 11.Nxd7
......a1a/ 11...Kxd7 12.Bf6 (+-)
......a1b/ 11...hxg5 12.Nxf8 Rxf8 13.Kd2 (+-)
... a2/ 10...Be7 11.Nxe4 (+-)
... a3/ 10...Nc6 11.Nxe4 (+-)

b/ 9...Nxf6 10.Nxf6 h6 11.Nxe4+ hxg4 12.Nxg5 (+-)

So, that look's quite simple, doesn't it ? Just remember that black should not exchange queens on move 5 and play 5...Nfd7 instead ( white can follow up by 6.f4 and have a small lead ). Also, on move 6, black can improve with 6...Ng8 and white has only a small lead after 6...Ng8 7.Nd5 Kd8 8.fxe4.

Anyway, keep on winning these "won" Blackmar Diemer games !

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The last straw

In our never ending story on Euwe's refutation of our beloved gambit occuring after 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 e6 6.Bg5 c5!, I am presenting today white's last option.

I already discussed 7.Bxf6 Qxf6 8.Bb5+ and 7.Bxf6 Qxf6 8.d5. Today, I will be covering the simple 7.d5 (diagram).

a/ 7...Be7 8.Bb5+
...a1/ 8...Bd7 9.dxe6 (+=)
...a2/ 8...Nbd7 9.d6 Bf8 10.00 (+=)
...a3/ 8...Nfd7 9.dxe6 fxe6 10.Qe2 (+)
...a4/ 8...Kf7 9.00 (=)

b/ 7...Bd6 8.Bb5+ (+=)

c/ 7...exd5 8.Bb5+
...c1/ 8...Nc6 9.Bxf6 (+=)
...c2/ 8...Nbd7 9.Nxd5 (+)
...c3/ 8...Bd7 9.Nxd5 (+=)

d/ 7...h6 8.Bxf6 (+=)

e/ 7...a6 8.dxe6 (diagram)
...e1/ 8...Qxd1+ 9.Rxd1
......e1a/ 9...Bxe6 10.Bxf6 gxf6 11.Nd5 Bxd5 12.Rxd5 (=)

......e1b/ 9...fxe6 10.Bd3 (=)
...e2/ 8...Bxe6 9.Qxd8+ Kxd8 10.000 (=)

...e2/ 8...fxe6 9.Qxd8+ Kxd8 10.000 (+=)

So it seems white enjoys a small advantage in the majority of lines, except when black chooses the single right answer, the surprising 7...a6.

We have now come to the end of our journey in Euwe's refutation of the Blackmar Diemer. In "A bit of a setback", I discovered the problem.

Blogs "An update of the refutation of the refutation !?" and "An update on the refutation of the refutation (part 2)" discussed 6...c5 7.Bxf6 Qxf6 8.Bb5+ Bd7.

"More complicated Euwe defenses" analysed 6...c5 7.Bxf6 Qxf6 8.Bb5+ Nd7.

6...c5 7.Bxf6 Qxf6 8.d5 was covered in "An alternative line" whilst 6...c5 7.d5 is looked on this page.

What line is best for white ? I guess it depends on your personal skills. If you have great positional drawing skills, then the queenless endgame after 6...c5 7.d5 will suit you best. If you like to attack like a madman, then 6...c5 7.Bxf6 Qxf6 8.Bb5+ will be your normal choice.  But whatever your preference, the Blackmar Diemer gambit offers great lines for the whote player. But I guess we already new that.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Stockfish on iPad versus Houdini on Windows

In my earlier blog "Can you believe your eyes ?", I showed that black is busted after the natural continuation 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 Bg4 6.h3 Bh5 7.g4 Bg6 8.Ne5 e6 9.Qf3 c6 10.g5 Nd5 11.Bd3.

I showed the various line, and came up with a great white 18th move, ie 11...Nd7 12.Nxg6 hxg6 13.Nxd5 cxd5 14.00 Qe7 15.Bd2 f5 16.gxf6 gxf6 17.Bxg6+ Kd8 18.Kh1 !! Now reader "Anonymous" challenged my assessment and indicated "...After 18.Kh1 black has 18...Bh6 with only a slight edge for white."

Humm, That's strange, let's look at the line after 18...Bh6 (diagram).

My Stockfish app on my iPad immediately indicates 19.Ba5+ as clearly winning for white, whilst Houdini on my Windows PC only shows a very small edge for white ??  What's happening ? Could it be that Stockfish on my small iPad is better than Houdini on my serious Windows operating system ??

After 19.Ba5+ b6 20.Rae1, Houdini on Windows suggests 20...Rc8. Stockfisk on iPad answers 21.Bc3 (diagram). The disagreement continues as Houdini on Windows suggests a small advantage for white ( +0.23 ) whilst Stockfish on iPad sees a large white lead ( +1.5 ). Who is right ?

In this position, Houdini on Windows plays 21...Bg5, which is answered by Stockfish on iPad by 22.Bf5. Houdini on windows now defends with 22...Rc6 (diagram).

The disagreement continues : iPad says : 23.Re2 ( +0.8 ) Windows shouts : 23...Qf7. iPad plays 24.Bd3. Windows 24...f5 (diagram)

Houdini on Windows sticks to his earlier judgement and still sees a tiny white advantage ( +0.15 ), whilst the assessment by Stockfish on iPad has changed dramatically. From an earlier +1.5, it has now dropped to 0.5.

Who is right ? I guess Houdini on Windows is right, but actually... I dont care. I am happy that both engines, playing on such a master level, have problems assessing this position. I just shows the Blackmar Diemer is a serious chess opening leading to hugely complicated positions.