Tonight the final round of the 95th Annual Marshall Chess Club concluded and we here at Brooklyn64 congratulate GM Kekelidze on becomming the 2011 Marshall Chess Club Champion. Here are complete crosstables for the event. In the final round, the 12 year old Wu needed only to draw to clinch the championship, but lost a tough positional battle to FM Ostrovskiy who managed to succeed with an interesting queenside plan against Wu’s Najdorf. Up until the last round, Wu had been a likely contender for clear first, and so the following game was closely watched by hundreds of spectators on ICC.
Usually, surprising sidelines tend to be objectively dubious, but the following is totally sound according to several sources (I’m keeping some of them under my hat.) The idea I have in mind is similar to the Caro-Kann “two-knights,” which occurs after 1.e4 c6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Nf3. Here, white holds back the d-pawn at least for a while and simply develops. This line was a favorite of Fischer’s, but it doesn’t cause black any immediate trouble and his plans are straight forward and in keeping with the themes of the Caro-Kann. However, after the move 3.Qf3!? instead of 3.Nf3, we have the following eye popping position, which may occur through several move orders but properly belongs to the 1.Nc3 Dunst opening more than any other.
I hope to show that this position is more than playable for white- it is sound- and moreover black has no clear path to equality. This may be reached through a number of different move orders, including the Scandinavian 1.e4 d5 2.Nc3 c6 3.Qf3, as well as through the Dunst via 1.Nc3 d5 2.e4 c6 3.Qf3. Here, there a number of moves that look playable for black. There are: d4, e6, Nf6, e5 and dxe4. Black is immediately confronted in the center and must decide on a plan early. This position will almost certainly be a surprise to your opponent, who will no doubt think that the queen sortie is incorrect and therefore try to “punish” you. The upside to this is getting out of book and playing chess. The queen sortie is perfectly sound and supported by some theory, and this idea was first pointed out to me by Asa Hoffman who uses it regularly. He said he got it from a book on 1.Nc3 by Keilhack, titled “Der Linksspringer.” Since then, I have seen it in a few different places, and even had a brief conversation with Yaacov Norowitz (who plays the caro-kann exclusively) about it. Norowitz seemed to think it wasn’t that frightening for black, but admitted that he had wrestled with how to meet it and decided upon the straightforward move 3…e5, but seemed a little uncertain still.
I’ve heard it said that if black is willing to give up a pawn in the opening than he should have no problems. Last night, while going over some instructive games in John Watson’s eye-opening manual entitled “Chess Strategy in Action,” I came across the following idea. In a chapter entitled “Surrendering the Center,” Watson demonstrates how black breaks classical chess rules by giving up the center, as well as a center pawn in exchange for incredibly fast piece coordination and development. The plan involves black exchanging off his e pawn for white’s d pawn, and later blasting away at white’s position with a gambit. Gallagher’s idea is to exchange on d4 in the following diagram, then following up with Re8, a6, Rb8, b5, c5 and hitting white’s center with everything he’s got.
Naturally, this leaves the d6 pawn weak, but black plans on gaining a tempo off the queen if she captures it with the rook lift to b6, then doubling rooks by shifting it along the third rank to e6. This attacking scheme is so straightforward that any King’s Indian Defense player should have it in his back pocket for the next time he faces the ubiquitous fianchetto variation.
In the following game, Watson declares that black is winning easily after move 23. A quick glance at the position demonstrates just how much activity he got in return for his d-pawn.
There is an idea which I think is a wonderful bit of knowledge to have for the c3 player. It is advocated by both Rosentalis and Hartley in their tome on the c3 sicilian, as well as Sveshnikov in his recently released manual on the c3 Sicilian. It has been my experience that of the two most common replies to 2.c3, 2…Nf6 and 2…d5, the latter is by far the most common. The idea involves offering an early exchange of queens with dxc5. One line which I have seen in practice is 1.e4 c5 2.c3 d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 Bg4 and now 6.cxd5!? giving us the following position.
Here, if black accepts the exchange of queens, then he seemingly enters an ending down a pawn. However, this ending is actually the most testing, since after Qxc5, white will win tempo off the queen to develop rapidly and bring pressure to black’s queenside immediately. One miniature, which I played in a tournament recently, followed this pattern to a quick conclusion.
The other day, while listening to the live commentary to the game Short-Anand in Round 4 of the London Chess Classic, GM Gordon and IM Peterson noted briefly a common attacking theme that is popular among class players. It was a plan I had seen before, and even employed myself in the Dutch. In its simplest form, it is illustrated In the introduction to “The Classical Dutch” by Simon Williams. Including only the relevant portion of the board and noting that black’s pieces are on their ideal squares for an attack, he demonstrates the attacking motif with the following diagram:
Here, the idea is simply to win by playing Bxg2, fxg3, Rxf3, and either mating on h2 or winning a ton of material. This setup occurs naturally in the Classical Dutch, following the maneuver Qd8-e8, h4. By coming to the king-side so quickly, the queen brings enormous pressure to bear on white’s position. The move 7…Qe8 is common in both the Classical Dutch and the Leningrad, and is a move that I favor for precisely this reason. A dream continuation in a game would look something like this:
I have a secret to confess. When I face the Marshall in a blitz game my strategy is to weather the storm and win on time. It may sound like a cowardly strategy, but it can be very effective. If you think about it for a moment, in the Marshall, black builds a massive attack at the expense of a pawn and will wind up draining tons of time racking his brain for that elegant “coup de grace” continuation. Meanwhile, if white makes strong defensive and simplifying moves very quickly, then black will soon be faced with the ultimatum of either delivering mate somehow or losing on time. Naturally, as your time advantage grows the merits of your position matter less and less. I offer the following blitz game as an example of this strategy in action:
For anyone who plays the Sveshnikov Sicilian, or other Sicilians with 2…Nc6, a knowledge of the Rossolimo variation is crucial. The 3.Bb5(+) anti-Sicilians are extremely popular, and it’s impossible to play 1…c5 without encountering them. In this 3 part series, I’m going to look at some games and try to find some themes and ideas for both sides in this variation. The three posts will revolve around positions where white plays (1) Bxc6 (2) c3 and/or (3) 0-0. Naturally, many of these lines transpose, and so I will look for games that reflect ideas unique to these positions.
The great thing about the Rossolimo from white’s perspective is that the variations tend not to be as forcing as some other lines of the Sicilian, and so white can play a maneuvering game and decide upon piece placement and long term positional plans. The following game illustrates an idea for white that I rather like. It’s a stylish knight maneuver that clamps down on the center, played by our hometown hero Yudasin. I’m not sure whether he was the first to play this idea or not, but this was the first game I found with this knight maneuver when searching for ideas for white. While Kramnik is able to draw here, I think that Yudasin’s idea of Nd2-c4-e3 is worth its weight in gold, particularly in a blitz game where black might not have the time to reckon with the activity of this wonderfully placed knight.
Lately I’ve been having a lot of success with the dutch. There are a couple of attacking themes which black can use to drum up quick king-side play. In this first game I employ the attacking idea, Kg8-h8, Rf8-g8, and g7-g5. Stepping the king over, placing the rook on the g-file, and pushing the king-side pawns has proved to be a good practical attacking theme for me, though it requires black to have a stomach for risk. Here, it was my only chance for survival, since white is on the brink of breaking through on the queen-side, my only hope was to make the king-side attack happen…and I was lucky to find a nice Rook sacrifice.
Drazen Marovic’s manual on pawn play offers a great deal of practical knowledge to the tournament player. The format of the book is a game collection, with chapters organized around common pawn structures. The chapters are (1) Isolated Queen’s Pawns (2) Isolated Pawn Couples and Hanging pawns (3) Passed Pawns (4) Doubled Pawns (5) Backward Pawns (6) Pawn Chains (7) Pawn Islands. While the book has been criticized as merely restating common knowledge and theory about such positions, I don’t think a book should be held to such a high standard of being theoretically novel. In fact, a succinct restatement in one text of what is already known is often more instructional than an original theoretical work where, as here, the passage of time has stripped away the flowery language and unnecessary polemics (think my system), leaving the fast and hard rules in their brute simplicity.
Richard Reti’s eponymous hyper-modern opening is a solid choice for the positional player, especially when paired with it’s over lapping cousins the nimzo-larsen attack and the english. In this post, I’m going to show you a concept that I have been able to successfully implement many times, even in blitz games, with very positive results. The idea is to set up a powerful double battery. If the concept of hyper-modernism is to control the center with pieces rather than occupy it, than this positional concept is as hyper-modern as it gets.
Everyone knows that you should centralize your King in an endgame, and that a poorly placed King can be the key feature of an ending; that the King is worth roughly as much as a minor piece on an open board, and obviously should be used accordingly. However, there are a few rare instances where the king has led an attack in the middle game. Below, find two such examples.
Finding something new about an opening is always fun for a chess student like myself, and finding something radically wild and crazy is… well, a lot of fun. I can only think of a handful of lines that involve a queen sac in the opening (the Golubev line in the Sicilian Dragon that resurrected the 9…d5 pawn push against 9. 0-0-0 comes to mind), but the sparks that fly in the the Bryntse Gambit are hard to match. The Bryntse is a variation in the 2. f4 Sicilian or so-called McDonnell attack.
The Catalan has become a go to weapon at the elite chess level for many top players, from Wang Yue to Carlsen. It has also been the key to Topalov’s defeat in his last two world championship matches, as both Kramnik and Anand employed it against him with impressive results. The appeal of the Catalan is obvious, white takes little risk and yet generally gets a positional pull that lasts deep into middle game because of his fianchettoed king’s bishop. This opening is also likely to be become very popular at the class level since the publication of “wojo’s weapons,” and the two volume series “1.d4 Grandmaster repertoire.” In this post, I would like to offer black a “simple” system against the Catalan, involving good piece placement, active queenside play, and the pawn break c6-c5.
Earlier this week, I wrote a post on the Ruy Lopez Breyer games that Anand and Carlsen have been playing recently. So, when Mamedyarov uncorked a lovely novel idea against shirov yesterday at the Tal Memorial in Moscow, I had to post it here. In the game, the new idea involves the pawn sacrifice 17…b4! This breaks up white’s queenside pawns, and black will get excellent play with his queenside rook along the open file and 4th rank. The rook swings into action and crosses along the fourth rank all the way to the kingside of the board, where it harasses white’s king for the rest of the game. A lucid and fascinating concept from the Azerbaijani – comments by chessvibes-
Continuing in our series of posts on the Ruy Lopez, Open, I thought I would go over some of the ideas in the Howell attack, an interesting sideline that involves a queen sacrifice. After the moves 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb4 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7. Ba3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 we have the following position which is extremely common in the Ruy lopez open: