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Sunday, May 30, 2021

You Should Try Weird Openings!

     Unless you're trying to improve or are preparing for a serious tournament, you should give some weird openings a try! 
     Online I often play 1.h4 or 1.g4 and with black I like to meet 1.e4 with 1...g5. The Grob Attack (1.g4) has long been one of my favorite openings dating back to the days of my serious postal play, but the Grob Defense (1...g5) is a recent addition to my repertoire. I like it because it befuddles a lot of opponents. 
     This weird stuff is often successful because many opponents get frustrated that they can't play their favorite opening or often they try to get an immediate advantage and may end up making rash decisions in the hopes of getting an immediate mate. This is unwise because there is rarely an instant refutation and so the best results will be gotten by playing sound opening moves.
     As Eric Schiller observed in his book Unorthodox Chess Openings, these weird, contentious, controversial, unconventional, arrogant and outright strange openings fly in the face of tradition, but they can be filled with tricky surprises. 
     As is usually the case, more often than not these openings result in games being decided by tactical means as seen the the following game. It features a pseudo-sacrifice of my Queen...I actually got sufficient compensation for it. The game was decided by the side making the last blunder.

Guest - Tartajubow

Result: 0-1

Site: Online G/10

Date: 2021.05

Grob Defense

[...] 1.e4 g5 2.d4 This is the almost universal response because it attacks the g-Pawn.
2.♗c4 was tried by one opponent and it lead to him getting a decent game after 2...e6 3.c3 ♗g7 4.d4 Here I should have tried either 4...h6 or 4...d5, but in either case white has a solid position. Instead I played 4...c5 5.dxc5 ♘a6 6.♗xa6 Unexpected, but best! 6...bxa6 7.♘e2 ♗b7 8.♘g3 White has a good game.
2.d3 This is a solid, if unambitious, try. 2...♗g7 3.c3 h6 4.h3 c5 5.♘f3 ♘c6 6.♘a3 A pointless waste of time, but after 6...d6 7.♗e2 e6 8.♗e3 ♘ge7 9.♘c2 The position is quite equal.
2...♗g7 3.♗xg5 c5 I always try to play this then bring the Q to b3. 4.♗e3 ♕b6 The assault on the b-Pawn almost always causes white to use a lot of time thinking about how to meet the threat. In reality, it is not really a serious threat at all. 5.♘f3
5.♘c3 ♕xb2 6.♘d5 ♔d8 7.♖b1 ♕xa2 8.♖a1 ♕b2 9.♗c4 White already has a winning advantage. Petrienko,V (2440)-Svatos,J (2370)/Pardubice CZE 1992
(5.c3!?5...♘f6 6.♘d2 d5+⁠−) 5...♕xb2 6.♘bd2 cxd4 7.♖b1 This routine move meets with an unexpected reply. Either 7.Bf4 or 7.Nc4 were better. 7...dxe3
7...♕xa2 was no doubt what my opponent expected. Then after 8.♘xd4 ♘c6 9.♗c4 ♕a5 10.♘f5 with an excellent game.
8.♖xb2 exd2+ 9.♕xd2 ♗xb2 Black's R, N and B are sufficient material compensation for the Q. White does manage to work up an attack against my K however. 10.c3 A good move cutting off the B. 10...♗a3 11.♕d4 An unpleasant move to meet. 11...f6 As horrible as this move looks there seems to be no way for white to take advantage of it. The sober Komodo evaluates the position as equal and the even more optimistic Stockfish concurs.
11...♘f6 was playable, but after 12.e5 ♘g8 I was worried about either 13.e6 or 13.Qg4, but Komodo evaluates the position as equal after either move. 13.e6
12.♗c4 ♘c6 13.♕d5 e6 14.♕h5+ ♔f8 The K would have been just a tad safer on d8. 15.O-O ♘ge7 16.♕h6+ ♔f7 17.♕h5+ This tempting looking check turns out to be to white's disadvantage.
17.e5 trying to go after the K doesn't lead anywhere after 17...♘xe5 18.♘xe5+ fxe5 19.♗d3 d6 with equal chances.
17.♘h4 is another try that also results in no more than equality after 17...♖g8 18.♕xh7+ ♔e8 19.♖d1 ♘e5 20.♘f5 ♘f7 21.♘g7+ ♔f8 22.♘h5
17...♘g6 18.e5 With the N on g6 this is now a bad move. White is too anxious to attack. Best was the modest 18.Nd4 with equal chances. 18...fxe5 19.♘g5+ ♔g7 The K is quite safe here and now I get a chance to get my remaining pieces into play. At this point black must be considered to have the advantage. 20.♕g4 d5 21.♗b3 d4
21...♖f8 was best. 22.♘xe6+ ♗xe6 23.♕xe6 ♖ad8 24.♕g4 (24.♗xd5 The P is immune. 24...♖f6) 24...♗c5 Black is much better.
22.♗xe6 dxc3 23.♗xc8 ♖hxc8 24.h4 and white has equalized. 24...♘d4 25.h5 c2 26.hxg6 c1=♕ 27.♖xc1 ♖xc1+ 28.♔h2
22.♘xe6+ is not good because after 22...♗xe6 23.♕xe6 dxc3 24.♕d7+ ♗e7 25.♕xb7 ♘a5 26.♕e4 ♘xb3 27.axb3 ♖ac8 and black is much better.
22...♖e8 Since the capture of the e-Pawn was not a cause for concern a better move was 22...Be7 preventing white's next move which puts him right back in the game. 23.h4 h5 24.♕xh5 ♖h8 25.♕g5 A serious mistake that leaves his Q vulnerable and allows me to consolidate my K's position.
25.♕f3 keeps the chances even after 25...♗e7 26.h5 ♘f4 27.g3 ♘d5 28.♕g4+ ♔f8 29.♕f3+ and black can accept the draw after 29...Kg7 or play on with 29...Ke8 29...♔e8 This is the most exciting! 30.♗xd5 exd5 31.♘f6+ which is unclear.
25...♗e7 26.♕g4 ♖xh4 27.♕f3 ♖f4 28.♕e2 ♗d7 The last several moves spent harassing white's Q have allowed me time to complete my development. 29.g3 ♖af8 Wrong R to f8!! What was I thinking?! 30.gxf4 ♘xf4 Fortunately my position was so good that the loss of the R does not lose the game, but now white can get good chances if he plays 31.Qb5
30...dxc3 was also worth considering. 31.♖d1 (31.♘xc3 ♘d4 32.♕e3 ♖xf4 with an excellent position.) 31...♘d4 32.♖xd4 Best. 32...exd4 33.♘g3 ♘xf4 34.♕e5+ ♔h6 35.♕xd4 ♗c6 36.♕xc3 ♘h3+ 37.♔f1 ♖xf2+ 38.♔e1 ♖f6 39.♘f5+ ♖xf5 40.♕xh3+ ♔g7 41.♗xe6 ♖e5+ With a crazy position. In a Shootout white scored +0 -0 =5
31.♕g4+ ♔f7 32.♘g3 dxc3 Now with any R move white maintains equality., but instead he commits a grave oversight. 33.f3
33.♘f5 would leave black with a won game after 33...♔e8 34.♘g7+ ♔d8 35.♘xe6+ ♗xe6 36.♗xe6 ♘d4
33...♗c5+ After a few seconds thought white, who was also short of time, realized he was lost and so resigned.
33...♗c5+ 34.♖f2 Best, but it won't save the game. (34.♔h1 ♖h8+ 35.♘h5 ♘xh5 36.♕h4 ♘g3+) 34...♖g8 35.♕h4 (35.♕xg8+ is no better. 35...♔xg8 36.♘e4 ♗xf2+ 37.♔xf2 ♘d5) 35...♖xg3+ 36.♕xg3 ♘e2+ 37.♔g2 ♘xg3 38.♖c2 ♘d4 39.♖xc3 ♗d6 Black has a won game.
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Thursday, May 27, 2021

San Remo 1930, Colle and Gastric Ulcers

     Every chessplayer has at least heard of Alekhine's great victory at San Remo 1930, but probably few are aware that San Remo also hosted the first international chess tournament in Italy in 1911. It was organized by the German master and writer Theodor von Scheve. 
     Hans Fahrni of Switzerland was undefeated in a strong field while Miss Kate Belinda Finn won the Ladies' Tournament; she was the first British Women's Champion in 1904 and defended her title in 1905. 
     San Remo is a city on the Mediterranean coast of northwestern Italy. In modern times it has a population of about 55,000 and is known as a tourist destination on the Italian Riviera. It hosts numerous cultural events, such as the famous San Remo Music Festival and the Milan–San Remo cycling classic. 
    The 1930 tournament was played from January 16th to February 4th. The games were played in the casino during the day and in the evening the playing hall was used for dancing. 
     After taking the world championship from Capablanca in 1927, Alekhine dominated chess into the mid-1930s and San Remo was one of his move famous victories. He dominated the field with a score of 14.0-1.0, finishing 3.5 points ahead of Nimzovich. 
     In great tournaments like this one it's often forgotten that other great players were participating and they also produced some enjoyable games. One such game was the Colle-Bogoljubow contest in which Colle used his famous opening. 
     Belgian master Edgar Colle (May 18, 1897 - April 19, 1932) is remembered today primarily for the Colle System with which he scored excellent results in major international tournaments. Unfortunately his career was short and hampered by ill health because he suffered from gastric ulcers, or as they are sometimes called, peptic ulcers. 
     A gastric ulcer is an of erosion in the stomach lining, resulting in abdominal pain, possible bleeding and other gastrointestinal symptoms. The most common cause is a stomach infection associated with a bacteria. The spread of the bacteria among humans is not completely understood, but it's believed it may spread through contaminated food and water. Many people become infected at a young age, but symptoms most commonly occur in adulthood. 
     Damage to the stomach lining from stomach acid increases the likelihood that the bacterial infection will result in a gastric ulcer. Severe illness has also been associated with developing a gastric ulcer. 
     Symptoms include abdominal bloating, burning and pain, belching, loss of appetite and nausea. More severe symptoms can include bloody stools, severe abdominal pain and vomiting blood or black material that resemble coffee grounds.
     Up until the discovery in 1982 of the bacteria causing peptic ulcers it was believed they were caused by lifestyle choices that could include consuming a diet rich in spicy foods and an inability to properly manage emotional and personal stress. A paper published in 1967 even reported that peptic ulcers appeared in families with dominant and obsessional mothers. 
     It was believed these factors resulted in an overproduction of gastric acid, leading to the formation of ulcers. Because of this, treatment for peptic ulcers at that time was limited to adopting a bland diet, bed rest, and taking medications that blocked new acid production and neutralized existing acid. This alleviated symptoms, but did not cure them. 
     Not everyone who is infected will develop peptic ulcers, but researchers have established a link between the bacterial infection and gastric cancer, which is the 14th most common cause of death worldwide. 
     Surgery for gastric ulcers is rare these days, but it used to be performed fairly routinely to take out the part of the stomach. Colle survived three difficult operations for his gastric ulcer, but died in Ghent at the age of 34 after a fourth.
     Hans Kmoch described Colle as courteous, kind and chivalrous although for all the time Kmoch knew him, Colle was always sick. According to Kmoch, Colle had a "feeble, bloodless little body, always trembling with cold, always bent with pain. Rarely was he able to take any solid nourishment." In spite of this, according to Kmoch, he never complained, was always in good humor and never asked for any special consideration.

Edgar Colle - Efim Bogoljubow

Result: 1-0

Site: San Remo

Date: 1930.01.17

D04: Colle System

[...] 1.d4 ♘f6 2.♘f3 d5 3.e3 c6 4.♘bd2 ♗f5 In all the lines where black plays ...Bf5, if white plays correctly, black is going to face an uphill defensive battle. Even in some lines which the books gives as being equal, it often turns out that black gets an unfavorable middlegame. 5.♗d3 Because white has not yet played c3 he can now answer ...Bxd3 with cxd3 giving him a center P-majority and the useful half open c-file. 5...♗xd3 6.cxd3 e6 7.O-O ♗e7
7...c5 8.dxc5 ♗xc5 9.e4 Better was 9.b4 and 10.Qb3 9...♘c6 10.e5 ♘d7 11.♘b3 ♗e7 12.d4 ♖c8 Black has equalized. Krainski,A (2220)-Malik,J (2253)/ Poronin POL 2014
8.♖e1 his centralizes the R, but more importantly, it makes room on f1 to reposition the N.
8.b3 is less effective. 8...O-O 9.♗b2 a5 10.a3 Dresen,U (2300) -Westerinen,H (2425)/Hamburg 1981
8...O-O 9.e4 ♘a6 With this move black hopes to find opportunities on the Q-side an at the same time reserves d7 for the retreat of the K after white plays e5.
9...a5 10.e5 ♘fd7 11.♘f1 ♕e8 12.♘g3 f5 13.exf6 ♗xf6 White has the advantage but eventually lost to his much higher rated opponent in Markus,J (2210)-Van der Sterren,P (2510)/Antwerp Open 1996.
10.e5 ♘d7 11.♘f1 c5 Black must act quickly to generate Q-side counterplay because to sit passively by only allows white to build up a dangerous K-side attack. 12.dxc5 ♘dxc5 13.a3 A nice positional move with the dual purpose of preventing ...Nb4 and it also prepare b2-b4 driving the N away and taking control of the c5 square. 13...♕d7 This connects his Rs and also threatens to counterattack on the light squares with either ...Qa4 or ...Qb5. 14.b4 White takes immediate action to prevent the threat. 14...♘a4 15.♘d4 The threat is prevented plus the N has a nice central outpost. 15...♖fc8 16.♘g3 ♘c7 Black brings the N back into play and hopes to trade off white's well placed N on d4 by ...Nb5. 17.♕g4 Brilliant! Colle wastes no time in launching his K-side attack and forcing black to play the weakening ...g6 otherwise he runs into a nice winning tactical solution by white. 17...g6
17...♘b5 As planned is met by 18.♘df5 g6 (18...exf5 19.♘xf5 g6 20.♘h6+ wins) 19.♘xe7+ ♕xe7 20.♘h5 and the threat of Nf6+ cannot be met.
18.♗g5 This forces black to trade off the defender of the dark squares around his K. 18...♘e8 Played in order to guard the dark squares around the K, but it turns out to be a mistake.
18...a5 playing for immediate counterplay was probably his option. 19.♕h4 ♗xg5 20.♕xg5 ♕d8 21.♕d2 axb4 22.axb4 ♘b6 and white's advantage is minimal.
19.♗xe7 ♕xe7 20.h4 Opening more lines. 20...a5 21.h5 axb4 22.hxg6 hxg6 23.axb4 Colle offers a P for a very dangerous K-side attack, however 23.f4 was more forceful.
23.f4 bxa3 24.f5 ♘c5 (24...exf5 25.♘gxf5 ♕f8 26.e6 is deadly.) 25.fxg6 fxg6 26.♖f1 ♘g7 27.♕xg6 and white is winning.
23...♕xb4 Taking the bait and in the process he removes his Q from the defense of his K.
23...♘b2 would have equalized! 24.♖ab1 ♘xd3 25.♖e3 ♖c1+ 26.♖xc1 ♘xc1 with equal chances.
24.♖ab1 ♘b2
24...♕e7 25.♖e3 This move, suggest by Kenneth Smith is not dangerous to black. 25...♘c3 Not Smith's 25...Ng7
25...♘g7 26.♘ge2 with the intention of playing Rh3 would leave white slightly better.
26.♖c1 ♖a4 27.♖f3 ♘g7 and black has equalized.
25.♖e2 looks like it wins the N, but after 25...♖a4 26.♖exb2 ♕xd4 27.♕xd4 ♖xd4 28.♖b3 the chances are equal.
25...♘g7 This looks logical, but it's results in a quick defeat.
25...♕d2 is a brilliant defense resource that would have allowed him chances of defending himself. After 26.♘f3 ♕c2 27.♖f1 ♘xd3 28.♘g5 ♖a1 29.♕f3 ♖xf1+ 30.♘xf1 ♕xf2+ 31.♕xf2 ♘xf2 32.♔xf2 Both Stockfish and Komodo give white the advantage here, and in a Shootout Stockfish scored +2 -0 =3 for white, but at 19 plies it drew an ending with 2Ns vs a lone P in 169 moves! 32...♖c2+ 33.♔g1 b5 34.♖b3 ♘c7 35.♘e3 ♖c1+ 36.♔h2 ♔g7 37.♘g4 ♖f1 38.♔g3 d4 39.♘f3 ♖a1 40.♘f6 ♖a4 41.♖b1 d3 42.♖h1 g5 43.♘xg5 ♖a3 44.♔f4 d2 45.♘f3 ♖d3 46.♖d1 ♘a6 47.♖xd2 ♖xd2 48.♘xd2 ♘c5 49.♔e3 ♔g6 50.♘de4 ♘a6 51.♘d7 b4 52.♘d2 ♔f5 53.♔f3 ♘c7 54.♘c4 ♘d5 55.♘d6+ ♔g6 56.♘c4 ♔f5 57.♘c5 f6 58.exf6 ♔xf6 59.♘d3 ♔g5 60.♘c5 ♔f6 61.♘d3 ♔g5 62.g3 ♘c3 63.♘c5 ♔f6 64.♘d3 ♔g5 65.♘xb4 ♘e4 66.♔xe4 ♔g4 67.♘e5+ ♔xg3 I will spare you the other 102 moves.
26.♕h4 ♕d2 This comes a move too late to be of any good.
26...♖a4 was the only chance to try and defend himself. 27.♘ge2 ♘f5 28.♘xf5 ♕xh4 29.♘xh4 ♖c2 30.♘f3 ♘xd3 31.♖xd3 ♖xe2 White won 5 Shootouts...here's how: 32.♖d2 ♖xd2 33.♘xd2 g5 34.♖xb7 g4 35.♖b2 ♔g7 36.♔h2 ♔g6 37.♔g3 ♔g5 38.♖b3 ♖a1 39.f4+ ♔f5 40.♖b7 f6 41.♘b3 ♖d1 42.exf6 ♔xf6 43.♔xg4 ♖b1 44.♔f3 ♖f1+ 45.♔e3 ♖e1+ 46.♔f2 ♖b1 47.g4 d4 48.♘c5 ♖xb7 49.♘xb7 and wins
27.♘f1 was even better. 27...♖c1 28.♖h3 ♘h5 29.♘b3 and black can resign.
27...♖c1+ 28.♖xc1 ♕xc1+ 29.♖e1
29.♔h2 was slightly better as after 29...♘d1 30.♖e1 b5 31.♘g5 white has a winning attack.
29...♕c8 This loses quickly, but other moves would not have saved the game. 30.♘g5 ♕c3 (30...♘xd3 31.♕h7+ ♔f8 32.♕h8+ ♔e7 33.♕xg7 ♘xe1 34.♕xf7+ ♔d8 35.♘xe6+ wins) 31.♕h7+ ♔f8 32.♖e3 ♖a1+ 33.♔h2 ♕d4 34.♖f3 It's mate in 8 so Bogoljubow resigned.
34.♖f3 ♖h1+ 35.♔xh1 f5 36.♘xf5 exf5 37.♕h8+ ♔e7 38.♕xg7+ ♔d8 39.♖h3 ♕xe5 40.♖h8+ ♕e8 41.♘e6+ ♔c8 42.♖xe8#
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