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, 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 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.