David - Brandon [A00]

First Recorded Game/Somewhere, NJ USA 2005

I was disappointed at seeing this game from two of my students, until I took a look at my own earliest recorded games at age 13 -- when I was practically twice their age and had already read several chess books! (See the games below). You have to start somewhere. The most important thing is that they are writing their moves down, which means they have a chance to correct their mistakes. And being able to write chess notation means that they are able to read it, which opens up the world of chess literature to them. Our next lessons should do a lot to improve their performances. These first recorded games will serve as a valuable benchmark to help measure that improvement.

1. g4!? d5 2. Nh3? e5!? Better
2... >= Bxg4
3. Bg2? Nc6!? Better
3... >= Qh4
4. f3?! f6?! Better
4... >= Qh4+ 5. Nf2 h5
5. Rf1 >= 5. Nf2
5... Be6 6. Rf2 e4? 6... >= Qd7 and
...h5
7. f4? >= 7. Nf4! unclear.
7... f5?! 7... >= Bxg4
8. Bf3?? >= 8. Ng5
8... exf3 9. exf3 Qh4 10. Ng5!

Larry - Nick [B00]

First Recorded Game/Somewhere, NJ USA 2005

>= 2. Bxb5 winning material.

>= 3. Bxb5

4... Bg7

Both players at least are very consistent with their opening strategies!

>= 6. cxd4+-

6... Bxg1?!

6... >= Bb6~~ controlling the critical diagonal and not exchanging Black's best piece for White's worst.

7... >= g4!~~ undermining the e4 pawn by attacking the base of the pawn chain.

8. Be3?

>= 8. Bxg5

8... d5!?

8... >= g4!~~

9. Nd2?

>= 9. e5!? Nfd7 10. e6 fxe6 11. f4-> >= 9. Bxg5 dxe4 10. Bxb5+ c6 11. Qxd8+ Kxd8 12. Bxf6 exf6 (12... cxb5 13. Bxh8) 13. Be2

9... d4? 10. Bxd4! b4!? 11. Qe2 Nc6 12.

>= 12. Qb5!

13. cxd4 Qxd4 14. Qb5+ Kf8 15. Qxb7 Rd8 16. Bc4 Qc3+ 17. Kb1 Rxd2 18. Rxd2 Qxd2 19. Qxc7 Qxh2 20. Rd1

13... Nxe2+ 14. Bxe2 Qd6 15. Rg2 Qxb4

and at this point White played the novel and illegal move 16.Rxe2??? capturing one of his own pieces and invalidating the remainder of the game! I was glad to discover that this was not a recording error (I at first had assumed that both players had skipped a few moves) so that I could correct this deeper error in understanding. Eventually Black went on to capture his opponent's King when he forgot he was in check!

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Tom - Mike [E34]

First Recorded Match/Cranford, NJ USA (10) 1978

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 d5 5. Nf3 Nbd7?! 6. Bf4 c5!?

6... dxc4!

>= 8. exd4

8... Bxc3+?!

8... >= e5

>= 10. Nf5! exf4 11. Qa3 with compensation.

At least consistent.

11... Ne4! 12. Qd4 Nxe5 13. Qxe5 Qa5+! 14. Ke2 Qd2+ 15. Kf3 Qxf2+!

The superficially attractive 15...

16. Kg4 h5+! 17. Kh3 Ng5+!! 18. Qxg5 e5+

My friend and I would go over the games immediately afterwards and annotate the moves -- just as we had seen in our books. The exclamation marks and question marks I've included here are almost identical to those we had recorded.

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Mike - Tom [A12]

First recorded match/Cranford, NJ USA (17) 1978

1. Nf3 d5 2. c4 c6 3. b3 Nf6 4. g3 Bf5 5. Bg2 e6 6.

Snagging a piece, which I must have foreseen on move 13. Black's fork, which I had likely overlooked, makes it two pieces for a Rook. Interesting that we are both playing to make threats and ignoring our opponent's counter-threats. Typical of beginners, but at least we were not playing defensive chess.

14... Nc3! 15. Qd3 Nxb1 16. bxa5??

Blowing it due to poor calculation. After 16. Rxb1 the Bishop is still trapped.

16... Nxa3!-+ 17. Qxa3 bxc5 18. Qxc5 Nd7 19. Qxc6 Nf6 20. Ne5 Qxa5 21. Bh3!?

I had a sneaky idea.

An incredible conception for someone who was still overlooking simple forks. White probably still loses, but at least he goes down swinging. 22. Bxe6? fxe6 23. Qxe6+ Kh8-+

22... Kxf7!

Very brave and the only way for Black to play for a win.

a) 22... Rac8 23. Nh6+ Qxh6 24. Bxe6+ Kh8 25. Bxc8

b) 22... Rae8 23. Ne5 Qxd4 24. Bxe6+ Kh8 25. Nf7+= gives White at least a draw.

c) 22... Rxf7?? 23. Qxa8+ Rf8 24. Bxe6+ Kh8 25. Qxf8+ Ng8 26. Qxg8#

Black probably wins by 24... Rae8! 25. f5+ Kh6 26. Qd6 Qxd4+-+

25. Qf5+?!

I must have contemplated the perpetual that Black had handed me. I remember taking these games very seriously--a lot of ego was on the line--and I never wanted to lose!

Position after 25...Kg6.

Fritz finds 28. Qe7! g5 (28... Rg8 29. Qf7+) 29. Qg7 with a winning attack.

28... Ne4!

The best defense!

and the best move again! We took our time and really calculated.

30. Qc6!

Good move! >= 30. fxg5! Rxf1+ 31. Kxf1 Rf8+ 32. Kg2 Qxg5 33. Qd7! also is winning for White, but that is very tough to see without the help of Fritz or a lot of calculation and skill.

30... Kg4?

Black almost has a saving resource in 30... Qe3+! 31. Kh1! (31. Kg2? Qe6! unclear ) 31... Qe6 32. Qg2-> but White should still win. We found this after the game and labelled it "unclear." Of course not 30... Rf6?? 31. Qxa8+-

31. h3+!

Or 31. Kg2!

31... Nxh3+?

31... >= Kxh3 32. Qg2+ (32. Kf2!) 32... Kg4 33. Qh2!->

Michael Goeller - Robert Frommer (1586) [C00]

Hacketstown /Hacketstown, NJ USA (1) 1979

My first rated game. Based on the recommendation of my mentor, Edgar McCormick, I was placed in a C-level quad despite being unrated. I think I swept it.

1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 c5 3. f4 Nc6 4. Nf3 Be7 5. g3 d5

You can see by comparison with my most recent game with Ken Chieu that my openings have not evolved much! Watch for how the pieces now take turns lining up along the two center diagonals.

6. Nc3?!

6. d3

6... dxe4

6... d4!?

7. Nxe4 Nf6 8. d3

11.

11... Bb7 12. Kh1 Nd5 13. a3 a5 14. Nc3?! Nc7 15. Ne5?! Nd4! 16. Qd1 Bxg2+ 17. Kxg2 f6

17... b5

18. Nf3 Nxf3?! 19. Qxf3= c4!? 20. Rad1! cxd3 21. Bc1 Na6 22. Rxd3 Qc7 23. Be3

23. f5!

23... b5 24. Rfd1 Rfd8 25. Rxd8+ Bxd8? 26. Qe4! Qe7 27. Ba7!?

a very imaginative concept, though not the best. >= 27. Qc6!+-

27... Qxa7

27... Rc8 28. Nxb5+/- 27... Rb7? 28. Rxd8+! Qxd8 29. Qxb7+-

29. Rd7! Qxd7 30. Qxd7 Nc7 31. Nd5! Nxd5 32. Qd6+

Not bad for a first rated game! I had been studying chess for over a year, had read a number of books, had received several lessons from a chess master, and had played a number of serious games. You would think I'd play better, but chess is hard! I was 14-years-old and making progress--a lot more advanced than my 6- to 8-year-old students, but a lot older and more experienced -- and still a bit shaky! Reviewing these games, I am suddenly quite hopeful that my students can be a lot better than I was (and certainly a lot better than I am now) if any of them start reading some chess books. 1-0