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Monday, February 29, 2016

White To Play And Win

     A while back while playing over some games of the relatively unknown and “minor” master Weaver W. Adams, I discovered that there was more to his play than is generally recognized today. Adams (April 28, 1901 – January 6, 1963) greatest achievement was winning the U.S. Open Championship in 1948 where he came ahead of Isaac Kashdan, Olaf Ulvestad and George Kramer all of whom tied for second. The next group were Max Pavey, Robert Steinmeyer, Arthur Bisguier and Albert Pinkus, so the tournament was not a weak one. He played in the U.S. Championship five times. Internationally he was not very successful. He was unsuccessful at Hastings in 1950 where he finished ninth (out of 10), scoring +2 -6 =1. His two wins were over the last place finisher and Jonathan Penrose. Adams was handicapped because he always played exactly the opening lines he published in this books. 
Dallas 1940
     Adams books were: White to Play and Win, Simple Chess, How to Play Chess and Absolute Chess. When he published White to Play and Win in 1939 it created quite a sensation because Adams claimed he could prove that White has a win by force against any defense. Needless to say he could never prove it, but he knew the lines in his books well enough that against lesser players he was was nearly unbeatable. These first two books were revised and combined in 2007 with pictures and 34 games added plus introductions by Dr. Leroy W. Dubeck and Sam Sloan. On Amazon you can “Look Inside” and read a lot of the book. It's well worth looking inside because it's fascinating stuff even if there are a lot of pages missing.
    In this game we are going to take a look at a really complicated game where Adams was defeated by Harry Lyman using the Frankenstein-Dracula Variation against the Vienna Game although it can also be reached from the Bishop's Opening. The Frankenstein-Dracula Variation was given its name by Tim Harding in his 1976 book on the Vienna Game, in which he said that the bloodthirstiness of the character of play was such that "a game between Dracula and the Frankenstein Monster would not seem out of place." It's not the kind of opening you'll see top GMs but Ivanchuk once used it against Anand back in 1992; the result was a draw. 
     In return for his material, black has a good P-center and his Bs are well placed on the long diagonals. For his part, white will, as usual, tend to his Ks safety and hang on to his material and then, hopefully, after solidifying his position, launch a counterattack. 
Harry Lyman
    In the following game Adams' opponent is Harry (real name Henry) Lyman (June 15, 1915, died Sep-05, 199 at the age of 84) was the Dean of New England chess. He won the US Amateur Championship in 1957 with a perfect 6-0 score and was the New England Champion in 1965, 1968 and 1970. In 1988, he received the Meritorious Services Award from the U.S. Chess Federation. He was the uncle of Shelby Lyman. The game itself, lost by Adams, was really complicated, but it indicates his style and is a lot of fun to play over.

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