Sunday, July 31, 2005

Marshall-Capablanca, Lake Hopatcong 1926

Black to move after 18.Rc1.
Should Capablanca accept a draw by repetition with
18...Qa2 19.Ra1 Qc4 20.Rc1 or should he play for a
win (by 18....Qb4, for example)?

Continuing my focus on historical games from Lake Hopatcong with continued relevance to contemporary opening theory, here is the game Marshall-Capablanca, Lake Hopatcong 1926. It is considered by Karsten Muller and Martin Voigt in their book "Danish Dynamite" to be the stem game of the "Capablanca Defense" to the Danish Gambit, since it popularized the variation 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 d5 declining the gambit and seeking active counterplay in the center.

The game ended in an early draw by repetition. Of course, Capablanca was leading the tournament at that point and needed only a draw to practically assure first place. But those practical considerations aside, how would you evaluate the final position (depicted above)? Who has the edge? Should Black accept a draw or try for a win?

[Event "Lake Hopatcong"]
[Site "Lake Hopatcong, NJ USA"]
[Date "1926.07.17"]
[Round "9"]
[White "Marshall, Frank James"]
[Black "Capablanca, Jose Raul"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C44"]
[Annotator "Goeller"]
[PlyCount "135"]
[EventDate "1926.07.??"]
[Source "Tournament Book"]

1. e4 e5 2. d4 exd4 3. c3 ({In 1910, Marshall played Capablanca a theme match with the Max Lange Attack, with all games commencing} 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. Bc4 Bc5 5. O-O Nf6 6. e5) 3... d5 $5 {The best way to avoid the wilder complications that White's opening choice makes possible, and therefore typical of Capablanca's style. In their excellent book on the Danish Gambit titled "Danish Dynamite" (2003), Karsten Muller and Martin Voigt consider this the stem game of what they call "The Capablanca Defense"--though the line had been around for many years before Capablanca took it up. C.S. Howell, in his contemporary notes to the game, writes: "A safe way to avoid the Danish Gambit, which there is no particular reason to avoid. Black can safely play} (3... dxc3 4. Bc4 cxb2 5. Bxb2 d5 {(Schlechter's proposal)} 6. Bxd5 Nf6 {" and Howell offers the line 7. Nc3 Nbd7. But, according to Edward Winter, Marshall himself had noted that} 7. Bxf7+ Kxf7 8. Qxd8 Bb4+ 9. Qd2 Bxd2+ 10. Nxd2 Re8 {"would make things rather interesting" (American Chess Bulletin, November 1913) . Muller and Voigt suggest that this famous "equalizing" line against the Danish (which that great Danish proponent Marshall himself invented and not Schlechter) leads, at best, to positions with lots of play for both sides--as Marshall himself obviously felt. In any event, Howell's note attributing Marshall's idea to Schlechter may have been among the first to muddle the waters of history that Winter tries to clarify.}) 4. exd5 Qxd5 ({ According to Howell, contemporary opening books preferred} 4... Nf6 $5 { when perhaps might follow} 5. Bb5+ Bd7 6. Bc4 b5 $5 $13) 5. cxd4 Nc6 ({ Marshall had great success from this position, including the following two games: a)} 5... c5 $2 6. Nc3 $1 Qxd4 7. Bb5+ Bd7 8. Qe2+ Be7 9. Nf3 Qg4 10. Nd5 $1 Kd8 11. Bf4 Bxb5 12. Qxb5 Qe6+ 13. Be5 $1 Qc6 14. Qxc6 bxc6 15. Nc7 $18 { Marshall-Schroeder, New York 1915}) ({b)} 5... Nf6 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. Be2 Bf5 $5 8. Nc3 Bb4 9. O-O Bxc3 10. bxc3 O-O 11. c4 Qd7 12. d5 Ne7 13. Bb2 $14 Bg6 14. Ne5 Qd8 15. Bf3 Nf5 16. Qb3 $16 Nh4 17. Rfe1 Re8 18. Rac1 Nxf3+ 19. Qxf3 Nd7 20. Nxg6 hxg6 21. h3 Qh4 22. d6 cxd6 23. Qxb7 Nc5 (23... Nb6 $1 $11) 24. Qd5 Qf4 25. Re3 Qf5 26. Rce1 Qd7 $2 27. Ba3 $1 Ne6 28. c5 $5 (28. Bxd6 $16) 28... Qb5 29. Qxd6 Red8 30. Qe5 Nd4 31. Re4 f6 32. Qg3 g5 33. Qc3 Nf5 34. Rb4 Qd3 $2 35. Re8+ Kf7 36. Qxd3 Rxd3 37. Rxa8 Rxa3 38. Rb7+ Kg6 39. Raxa7 Rc3 40. g4 { 1-0 Marshall,F-Daly/Bath 1909 (40)}) 6. Nf3 Bb4+ { This move order gives White the fewest options.} ({The tactically sharp} 6... Bg4 {seems to play to Marshall's strengths after} 7. Nc3 $5 ({or} 7. Be2 Nf6 ( 7... Bb4+ 8. Nc3 Bxf3 9. Bxf3 Qc4 {transposes to the game}) 8. h3 Bb4+ 9. Nc3 Bxf3 10. Bxf3 Qc4 11. Bxc6+ bxc6 12. Qe2+ Qxe2+ 13. Kxe2 O-O 14. Be3 Rfe8 15. Rac1 c5 16. dxc5 Bxc5 17. Nb5 Bxe3 18. fxe3 Rab8 19. Nxc7 Rxb2+ 20. Kf3 Re5 21. Nd5 Rf5+ 22. Kg3 Rg5+ 23. Kf4 h6 24. Rc8+ Kh7 25. Nxf6+ gxf6 26. g4 Rxa2 27. Rd1 Ra4+ 28. Rd4 Raa5 29. Rdd8 Rg7 30. h4 h5 31. Rh8+ { 1-0 Marshall,F-Kupchik,A/Havana 1913 (31)}) 7... Bxf3 (7... Qa5 8. Be2 Nf6 9. O-O O-O-O 10. Be3 Be7 11. a3 $14) 8. Nxd5 Bxd1 9. Nxc7+ Kd7 10. Nxa8 Bh5 $13 { to which Muller and Voigt devote four pages of analysis without reaching a definitive conclusion. A game of Marshall'scontinued} 11. d5 Nd4 12. Bd3 Bb4+ $2 ({Muller and Voigt offer} 12... Bg6 13. Bxg6 hxg6 14. Kd1 $1 Nh6 15. Be3 Nhf5 16. Rf1 $1 Nxe3+ 17. fxe3 Nf5 18. Rf3 $14 { and Black has a number of choices here.}) 13. Bd2 $2 ({ Muller and Voigt give instead} 13. Kf1 $1 $16 Ne7 14. Be3 Ndf5 15. Bb5+ Kd6 16. Bf4+ Kxd5 17. Nc7+ $16) 13... Bxd2+ 14. Kxd2 Ne7 15. Rac1 (15. Rhe1 $2 Nxd5 $1 16. Re5 Nf6 $15) 15... Rxa8 16. Rc4 Nef5 17. Rxd4 Nxd4 18. Ke3 Ne2 19. Bb5+ Kd6 20. f3 Kxd5 21. Kxe2 Bg6 22. Rc1 a6 23. Ba4 b5 24. Bb3+ Kd6 25. Rd1+ $11 { 1/2-1/2, Marshall-Leonhardt, Ostende 1905}) 7. Nc3 Bg4 8. Be2 (8. a3 Bxf3 $1 9. axb4 Qe6+ 10. Be2 Bxe2 11. Nxe2 Nf6 12. O-O O-O 13. b5 Nb4 $13 { Voigt-Chandler, Germany 2002}) 8... Bxf3 9. Bxf3 Qc4 $1 10. Be3 $6 {Muller and Voigt call this move "very risky," which means it's just the thing that Marshall would go for. But Howell is probably right that "There seems no good reason why White should thus forego the castling privelege."} ({Better is} 10. Bxc6+ $142 bxc6 $5 (10... Qxc6 11. O-O Ne7 12. Qb3 $14) 11. Qe2+ Qxe2+ 12. Kxe2 {when, according to Muller and Voigt, "By castling long and playing Ne7, Rhe8, Nd5/Nf5 Black finds valuable spots for his pieces, so he can face the near future fearlessly. White searches for a slight advantage by marching to c4 with his king and fixing the center with Be3 and Rd1-d3. Afterwards, he can proceed with b4 and Na4. Yet, in the end it isn't much, we must admit."} Ne7 ( 12... Nf6 $6 13. h3 $6 {would transpose to Marshall-Kupchik above}) 13. Be3 O-O-O 14. Kd3 $5 c5 15. Kc4 cxd4 16. Bxd4 Nc6 $11) ({Also possible is} 10. Qb3 $5 $13) 10... Bxc3+ {If Black does not play actively, White has surprising chances of developing an initiative thanks in part to his two strong Bishops.} ({a)} 10... O-O-O 11. Qb3 (11. Bxc6 $6 Bxc3+ $1 12. bxc3 Qxc3+ 13. Kf1 Qxc6 14. Rc1 Qa6+ $17) 11... Qxb3 12. axb3 Nxd4 $5 13. Bxd4 Rxd4 14. Rxa7 $13) ({b)} 10... Nge7 11. Rc1 (11. Be2 Bxc3+ 12. Kf1 Qb4 13. bxc3 Qxc3 14. Rb1 $5 $44) 11... Rd8 (11... O-O 12. a3 Bxc3+ 13. Rxc3 Qb5 14. b4 $5 $14) (11... Qxa2 12. O-O Qxb2 13. Nb5 $44) 12. a3 Bxc3+ 13. Rxc3 Qe6 14. O-O O-O 15. Re1 Qd6 16. Bg5 f6 17. Be3 Kh8 18. Qb3 Rfe8 19. Qxb7 Nxd4 20. Bxd4 Qxd4 21. Rce3 Qc5 22. b4 Qd6 23. Qxa7 Qd7 24. g3 Ng6 25. Rxe8+ Rxe8 26. Rxe8+ Qxe8 27. Qxc7 Ne5 28. Be4 g6 29. Kg2 Qe6 30. h4 Ng4 31. Qc6 { 1-0 Kovacs,L-Travnicek,P/Reggio Emilia 1971 (31)}) ({c)} 10... Rd8 11. Be2 Bxc3+ 12. Kf1 Qb4 13. bxc3 Qxc3 14. Rc1 Qa3 15. d5 Nge7 16. Bc5 Qa5 17. Bf3 Ne5 $6 18. Qe2 N5g6 19. h4 h5 20. Be4 Kd7 21. Qb2 Kc8 22. d6 Nc6 23. Rh3 Qa6+ 24. Bd3 Qa4 25. Bf5+ Kb8 26. Ra3 Qxh4 27. Bxa7+ Nxa7 28. dxc7+ Ka8 29. cxd8=Q+ Rxd8 30. Kg1 Kb8 31. Qb6 Nc6 32. Rb3 Qe7 33. Qxc6 { 1-0 Smolenskiy,Y-Berul/Ukraine 1979 (33)}) ({d)} 10... Nf6 11. Qb3 $5 (11. Qe2 $1 Qxe2+ 12. Kxe2 O-O-O 13. a3 $14) 11... Qxb3 12. axb3 a5 13. O-O O-O-O 14. Rfd1 h6 15. Na2 Nd5 16. Nxb4 Ndxb4 17. d5 Ne5 18. Rxa5 Nxf3+ 19. gxf3 b6 20. Ra4 c5 21. Ra7 g5 22. d6 Rh7 23. f4 Rd7 24. Ra8+ Kb7 25. Rf8 Nc2 26. fxg5 Nxe3 27. fxe3 hxg5 28. Rg8 f6 29. Rf8 Rh6 30. e4 Kc6 31. Rc8+ Kb7 32. Re8 Rh4 33. Re6 Kc6 34. Rd3 Rf4 35. Kg2 f5 36. e5 Rd4 37. Rf3 f4 38. Rg6 Rd5 39. Re6 Rd2+ 40. Rf2 Rd3 41. Rg6 Rd5 42. Re2 Rd3 43. Rf2 Rd5 44. Re6 Rf7 45. Re8 Kd7 46. Rb8 Rxe5 47. Rxb6 Rd5 48. h4 Rf6 49. hxg5 Rxg5+ 50. Kf3 Rg3+ { Belamaric,G-Potocnik,P/Skofja Loka 1998 (50)}) 11. bxc3 Qxc3+ 12. Kf1 { Marshall was never afraid to move his King to f1. The alternative is} (12. Bd2 Qd3 $1 (12... Qxd4 $6 13. O-O Nge7 14. Bxc6+ $1 bxc6 (14... Nxc6 15. Re1+ Kf8 16. Qb3 $44) 15. Re1 Rd8 16. Qe2 O-O 17. Bg5 f6 18. Rad1 Qc5 19. Qe6+ Kh8 20. Be3 $44) 13. Bxc6+ bxc6 14. Bb4 $5 Qxd1+ (14... Qc4 15. Bc5 Nf6 16. Rc1 Qe6+ 17. Kf1 $44) (14... Qe4+ 15. Kf1 $44) 15. Kxd1 $1 O-O-O 16. Bc5 $44 { and White's compensation for the pawn does not promise more than a draw.}) 12... Qc4+ (12... Nge7 13. Rc1 Qa5 (13... Qb4 $5 14. Qd3 O-O 15. Rb1 Qd6 16. Qe4 $6 (16. Rxb7 $11) 16... f5 17. Qf4 Rab8 $6 18. Qxd6 cxd6 { 1/2-1/2 Pietrusiak,B-Lundberg,O/Sweden 1992 (42)} 19. g3 $1 $44) 14. d5 $2 (14. Qb3 $1 $13) 14... O-O-O $1 15. Rc5 Qa6+ 16. Qe2 Nb4 $17 { 0-1 Sluka,R-Sosna,J/CZE 2001 (39)}) 13. Kg1 ({ If White is content with a draw, then possible is} 13. Be2 Qd5 (13... Qb4 $5 14. Rb1 Qd6 15. Rxb7 $13) 14. Bf3 $11 Qb5+ $5 15. Be2 Qf5 16. Rb1 $36) 13... Nge7 14. Rc1 Qxa2 (14... Qb4 15. Rb1 Qd6 16. Rxb7 O-O 17. g3 Nd5 { 0-1 Kappes,D-Bierwisch,B (41)} 18. Kg2 $11 {Muller and Voigt}) 15. Ra1 (15. d5 $2 Ne5 (15... Rd8 $5) 16. Be4 f5 17. Rc2 Qb3 18. d6 Rd8 19. Qh5+ g6 20. dxe7 gxh5 21. exd8=Q+ Kxd8 22. Rd2+ Kc8 23. Bxf5+ Kb8 24. Bc2 Qb5 25. h3 Rg8 26. Kh2 Nc4 27. Re2 Qe5+ 28. f4 Qg7 29. Bc1 Qg3+ 30. Kg1 h6 (30... a5 31. Bxh7 Rd8 32. Bc2 h4 33. Re4 Nd2 34. Re7 Qc3 35. Bxd2 Qxd2 { 0-1 Herzog,A-Flear,G/Graz 1984 (35)}) 31. Bh7 Rd8 32. Bc2 h4 33. Re4 Nd2 34. Re7 Qc3 35. Bxd2 Qxd2 {0-1 Herzog,A-Flear,G (35)}) 15... Qc4 16. Rc1 Qa2 17. Ra1 Qc4 18. Rc1 {1/2-1/2 Several commentators note that Black does not have to accept the draw, though Capablanca's safe lead in the tournament hardly encouraged him to try for more. And, of course, Marshall would be satisfied with a draw. As he had famously said, "Against Capablanca, the most you can hope for is a draw." Howell notes: "Black has two passed pawns plus, so White is content, and Black can get is Queen away from the attack of the rook only by giving back material or allowing White a strong attack." However, whether to accept a draw or play for a win is at Black's option in the position. At least one game has continued forward from here:} Qb4 $1 19. Rb1 Qd6 20. Rxb7 O-O $15 {Muller and Voigt} 21. g3 Nd5 22. Kg2 Rab8 23. Rxb8 Nxe3+ 24. fxe3 Rxb8 25. Qa1 g6 ({Fritz suggests} 25... Rb3) 26. Rc1 $1 Ne7 27. Qxa7 Rb2+ 28. Kg1 $2 (28. Kh1 $142 $11) 28... Qb4 $1 $15 29. Rd1 Qc3 30. Qa8+ Kg7 31. Qe4 Nf5 32. Qd3 Qb4 33. Bd5 h5 34. e4 Nh6 35. Qf3 c6 36. Bxc6 Qc4 37. Bd7 Qc2 38. h3 Qh2+ 39. Kf1 f5 40. exf5 Qxh3+ 41. Ke1 gxf5 42. Rd2 Rb1+ 43. Rd1 Rxd1+ 44. Kxd1 h4 45. Bxf5 Nxf5 46. Qb7+ Kf6 47. Qb6+ Kg5 48. gxh4+ Kf4 49. Qf6 Qd3+ 50. Kc1 Ke4 51. Qe6+ Kf3 52. Qc6+ Ke3 53. Qc2 Qa3+ 54. Qb2 Qa5 55. Qb3+ Kf4 56. Qb8+ Kg4 57. Qc8 Kxh4 58. d5 Qa1+ (58... Qxd5 $17 {saves time}) 59. Kc2 Qa4+ 60. Kb2 Qb4+ 61. Kc2 Qe4+ 62. Kb2 Ne3 63. Qh8+ Kg4 64. d6 Qb4+ 65. Kc1 Qxd6 { This position must be proven in the Nalimov tablebase.} 66. Qg7+ Kf3 67. Qc3 Ke4 $2 68. Qb4+ $1 $11 {Bryson-Flear, British Ch Edinburgh 1985} 1/2-1/2

Friday, July 29, 2005

Kernighan-Goeller, KCC Summer Tourney 2005

White to play and mate in four.

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been contemplating playing in the NJ Open September 3-5. I realize, though, that I will be facing mostly master competition in the Open section. So to prepare, I decided to challenge NM Mark Kernighan to another game in the Kenilworth Chess Club's Summer Tournament this evening. I felt I had held my own rather well in our first game of the summer and I have done well against Mark in the past. As usual, after some minor errors on both sides, Mark played brilliantly to win a likely worse game. Of course, he was helped along by some errors on my part, but I don't think that should diminish his excellent play in difficult circumstances, especially considering the Game 60 time limit (and really Game in 5 for at least the last dozen moves).

Here is a picture of the game in progress (I look as though I were saying my prayers, which I may have been at that point):

And here is the PGN file (which you can play over by copying it to the clipboard and using Edit>Paste>Paste Game in Fritz or similar loading methods in other PGN-viewers).

[Event "KCC Summer Tournament"]
[Site "New Brunswick, NJ"]
[Date "2005.07.28"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Kernighan, Mark"]
[Black "Goeller, Michael"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B00"]
[WhiteElo "2216"]
[BlackElo "2020"]
[Annotator "Goeller, Michael"]
[PlyCount "57"]
[EventDate "2005.??.??"]

1. d4 Nc6 2. Nf3 d6 3. e4 Nf6 4. Nc3 Bg4 5. Be2 e6 6. O-O Be7 7. Bf4 $146 Nd7 $6 {Moving the same piece twice.} ({ a) Steve Stoyko thought that Black can get easy equality by} 7... Bxf3 8. Bxf3 e5 9. dxe5 (9. Be3 exd4 10. Bxd4 Nxd4 11. Qxd4 O-O 12. e5 dxe5 13. Qxe5 Bd6 14. Qb5 Rb8 15. Bxb7 c5 16. Qc6 Qc7 17. Qxc7 Bxc7 18. Bf3 Rxb2) 9... dxe5 (9... Nxe5 10. Be2) 10. Be3 Nd4 $11) ({ b) The only game I could find in general databases continued} 7... O-O 8. d5 exd5 9. exd5 Bxf3 10. Bxf3 Ne5 11. Re1 Nfd7 12. Be4 Bg5 13. Bg3 $6 (13. Qh5 $1 h6 $11) 13... f5 $1 $132 14. f4 Bxf4 15. Bxf4 fxe4 16. Bg3 Nf6 $6 (16... Rf5 $36 {with the super-strongpoint at e5 and prospects of initiative with Qe8-g6 and Raf8.}) 17. Nxe4 Nxe4 18. Rxe4 Qf6 19. Qe2 Ng6 20. c3 Qf7 21. c4 Rae8 22. Re1 Rxe4 23. Qxe4 Ne5 24. Qe2 Qf5 25. Bxe5 dxe5 26. Rf1 Qg5 27. b3 Rxf1+ 28. Kxf1 Qf5+ $11 29. Ke1 Kf7 30. Qf2 g6 31. g4 Qf4 32. Qxf4+ exf4 $6 33. g5 $1 Ke7 $2 34. c5 $1 b6 $4 35. b4 $18 bxc5 36. bxc5 Kd7 { 1-0 O'Chee,K-Morris,M/Sydney 2005 (36)}) 8. Be3 $6 {This seems a waste of time. } ({Several people suggested the stronger} 8. d5 $1 exd5 (8... Nce5 9. Nxe5 $1 $16) 9. exd5 (9. Nxd5 $5 $14) 9... Bxf3 10. Bxf3 Nce5 11. Be4 $14 { though Black can likely equalize with} O-O { with play similar to the database game above.} (11... Ng6 12. Be3 Bf6 $14)) ({ Mark says he considered} 8. e5 {but after} d5 $11 {Black has a good French.}) 8... Nb6 {And now moving that Knight a third time.... In retrospect, I don't know what I was thinking.} (8... O-O 9. d5 $1 Bxf3 10. Bxf3 Nce5 11. Be2 Nb6) 9. Nd2 $6 ({Still best is} 9. d5 $1 $14) 9... Bxe2 10. Qxe2 O-O ({ Black needs to seize the opportunity to play} 10... d5 $1) 11. Rad1 (11. f4 $6 d5 12. e5 Qd7 13. g4 f6 $15) (11. d5 $1 exd5 12. Nxd5 Re8 $14) 11... d5 12. Rfe1 Bb4 $1 $15 {This gains an edge for Black.} ({Possible was} 12... dxe4 13. Ndxe4 $1 (13. Ncxe4 $6 Nxd4 $1 $15 ({during the game I also looked at} 13... f5 $2 14. Nc5 f4 15. Nxe6 fxe3 16. Nxd8 exf2+ 17. Qxf2 $1 Rxf2 18. Nxc6 $1 $16)) 13... Nd5 {and it is not immediately clear how White can gain an edge, despite Black's many knight moves:} 14. Nxd5 Qxd5 15. Nc3 Qf5 16. d5 Nb4 $1 $11) 13. Qh5 $5 (13. Qg4 Bxc3 14. bxc3 dxe4 15. Qxe4 (15. Nxe4 f5) 15... Qd5 $15) 13... Bxc3 14. bxc3 Na4 $6 ({a) Most interesting is} 14... f5 $1 15. exf5 Rxf5 $1 ( 15... exf5 16. Bf4 Qd7 17. Re3 $1) 16. Qe2 Qf6 17. c4 (17. Nf3) 17... dxc4 18. Nxc4 Nd5) ({b)} 14... dxe4 $6 15. Nxe4 Qd5 16. Qh4 Qxa2 17. Bh6 f6 18. Qg3 Rf7 19. Nc5 (19. Nxf6+ Kh8)) ({c)} 14... Qf6 $5 15. Bg5 (15. Nb3 dxe4 16. Nc5) 15... Qg6 16. Qxg6 (16. Qh4) 16... hxg6 $11 { and Black has better long-term prospects.}) 15. e5 $5 {Kernighan felt that if he did not do something desperate, he was eventually going to get squeezed on the queenside.} ({ Stoyko thought White should actually sacrifice the exchange by} 15. c4 $5 Nc3 16. cxd5 Nxd1 17. Rxd1 exd5 18. exd5 Ne7 19. c4 a6 $15 (19... Qd7)) 15... Nxc3 16. Bg5 $5 f6 {I had completely dismissed White's attacking prospects and did not calculate accurately here.} ({Fritz suggests} 16... Qe8 $2 { but White actually gets dangerous attacking prospects with} 17. Re3 $3 (17. Bf6 $5 Nxd4 18. Re3 Qc6 19. Bxg7 (19. Rh3 Nce2+ 20. Kh1 Qxc2) 19... Nce2+ $19) 17... Nxd1 18. Rh3 h6 19. Bf6 $3 (19. Bxh6 $2 f6 $1 $19) 19... Ne7 $8 20. Bxg7 f6 21. Qxh6 Qg6 22. Bxf8 Qxh6 23. Bxh6 $16) 17. exf6 gxf6 $2 {Now White's attack is completely justified. But I was still underestimating it. Black has at least two stronger plans that likely win:} ({a)} 17... Qe8 $3 18. Qg4 Nxd1 $17 {is the best defense.} (18... h5 $5 19. Qh4 Nxd1 $17) 19. Bh6 $5 (19. Rxd1 h5 20. Qh4 Qg6 $17) 19... Qg6 $1 20. Qxe6+ Rf7 $19) ({ Going into the main line, I had looked at} 17... Nxd1 $2 { before noticing that White plays} 18. f7+ $1 $18 {, of course, and not} (18. fxg7 $2 Rf5 $1 $19)) ({b) Also better was} 17... Rxf6 $1 18. Bxf6 Qxf6 $44 { and Black has a strong initiative.}) 18. Bh6 Qd7 $2 ({ Fritz finds a drawing defense in} 18... Qe8 $1 19. Qg4+ Qg6 20. Qxe6+ Rf7 21. Qe8+ $1 Rf8 $1 ({I had only examined} 21... Rxe8 $4 22. Rxe8+ Rf8 23. Rxf8#) 22. Qe6+ Rf7 $11 {with perpetual.}) 19. Ra1 $6 {White can afford to take his time with Black's King so permanently exposed, but this move loses a lot of momentum.} ({Faster, however, is} 19. Qg4+ $1 Kh8 20. Bxf8 Nxd1 21. Bh6 Nb2) 19... Rf7 20. Re3 Nb5 21. Nb3 b6 22. Rae1 e5 $2 { ...just when I was pulling it together! This is the most fatal error.} ({ Black has a saving resource in} 22... Re8 $1 23. Qg4+ ({ White must have something slower, but we could find nothing clear after} 23. c3 $44 Nd6 24. Qg4+ Kh8 {and now what is better than} 25. Rxe6 Rxe6 26. Qxe6 Qxe6 27. Rxe6 Re7 $15 {with the same thing?}) 23... Kh8 24. Rxe6 Rxe6 25. Qxe6 Qxe6 26. Rxe6 Re7 $15 { and Black may even have the edge here since he will win the pawn at d4.}) 23. dxe5 fxe5 24. Rg3+ Kh8 25. Rxe5 $1 Re8 $2 {White to play and mate in four:} ({ Black can soldier on a bit with} 25... Nbd4 {or}) (25... Nd6) 26. Bg7+ $1 Kg8 ( 26... Rxg7 27. Qxe8+ Qxe8 28. Rxe8+ Rg8 29. Rexg8#) 27. Qxh7+ $1 { the prettiest, but also winning was} (27. Bf6+ Kf8 28. Rxe8+ Qxe8 (28... Kxe8 29. Rg8#) 29. Qh6+ Rg7 30. Qxg7#) ({or} 27. Rxe8+ Qxe8 28. Bf6+ Kf8 29. Qh6+ Rg7 30. Qxg7#) 27... Kxh7 28. Rh5+ Kg8 29. Rh8# 1-0

Former NJ Open champions Steve Stoyko (1973 and 1983, right foreground) and Tom Bartell (2004, center, dark hair and beard) were on hand to critique the game afterward and several of their remarks have informed the notes above. Looks like I have quite a ways to go to be in their league... :-)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

New Jersey Open, September 3rd - 5th

I think the Kenilworth Chess Club should organize a contingent of players to attend this year's New Jersey Open, and we should talk about it this week. In any event, I hope to put together an article and game collection for our site featuring the players from our club (so save those game scores). I had been scouring the net searching for information on the tournament (always on Labor Day weekend), and finally found a listing at NJoyChess under "Upcoming Tournaments." I am sure that the organizers will not mind if I repeat the information here (since it is so impossible to find):

September 3 - 5:
59th New Jersey Open

A Heritage Event!
6SS, 40/2, SD/1

Somerset Double Tree
200 Atrium Drive, Exit 10 from I-287
(Rte. 527 North) to Davidson Ave.
HR: $89, reserve early to secure chess rate, 732 -469-2600.

8 sections: Open, U2000, U1800, U1600,
U1400, U1200, U1000, U800.
All prizes based on 25/section.
OPEN: $600-300-100-100-100, expert 100
UNDER 2000, U1800,
U1600, U1400, U1200: $500-200-100-100-100
UNDER 1000: $400-200-100-100
UNDER 800: Trophies to top five

Entry Fees
Open, U2000, U1800, U1600, U1400, U1200:
$60 if received by 8/25, $75 onsite
U1000: $50 if received by 8/25, $65 onsite
U800: $40 if received by 8/25, $50 onsite

Open, U2000, U1800, U1600, U1400, U1200
3-day, 12-7, 11-6, 9-4
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Reg: Sat. 9-11, Sun. 9-10:30
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One day, Sat. 9/3. Rounds at 11-12:30-2-3:30-5. Reg: 9-10:30

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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Arkadij Naiditsch Puzzles from Dortmund

The surprising tournament win for Arkadij Naiditsch at Dortmund inspires the following four puzzle positions from his decisive games (including the loss to Topalov). Puzzles are offered in order of difficulty. Solutions will follow. Or go look at the games online at the excellent Net Chess News website.

Topalov-Naiditsch, Dortmund 2005
White to play and win after 26...Raa7

Nielsen-Naiditsch, Dortmund 2005
Black to play and win after 56.Rb5

Naiditsch-Leko, Dortmund 2005

White to play and win after 53...Qa7

Naiditsch-Sutovsky, Dortmund 2005

White to play and win after 25...Qxa3

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Marshall-Bigelow, Lake Hopatcong 1923

Position after 50...Kd8.
What's the quickest way for White to play and win?

I have analyzed several more games from Lake Hopatcong 1923. Here is the chess column of Sunday, August 19, 1923 from The Daily Brooklyn Eagle.

Schapiro, Brooklyn Entry, Holds Champion to Draw at Lake Hopatcong

by Hermann Helms
(Staff Correspondent of the Eagle)

Lake Hopatcong, N.J., Aug. 18--

The close of play in the 11th round of the masters' tournament of the ninth American chess contest, at the Hotel Alamac, found Frank J. Marshall, the United States champion, still in possession of the lead, with a total of 81/2-1!/2, although Kupchik of New York equals his total wins. The latter's losses, however, figure up to 2!/2 points. Marshall expects to increase his score to 9 at least when his adjourned game with Janowski is finished tomorrow.

Barring accidents a draw is looked for by most everybody. In that case Janowski and Kupchik will be on equal terms, half a point behind the champion. A more thrilling finish, with only two more rounds to go, could not well be wished for.

Morris A. Schapiro of Brooklyn, star player at Columbia University and holder of the Manhattan Chess Club's championship, was again at the top of his form today, when he had to deal with Marshall following his finely earned draw with Janowski in the previous round. Again he was a stumbling block to the aspirations of the great international expert, whose American title he is said to covet. At any rate, it is generally understood that his closest friends have been grooming him for a possible contest fot the championship in the near future.
The fact that Schapiro held Marshall to a draw at a time when the latter was keen to win and place a greater distance between himself and his rivals shows that he is of the stuff of which champions are made. Marshall took some chaces in the opening, playing the black side of a queen-gambit declined. He refrained from castling in order to post his rook on the open king's knight file. Schapiro broke open the queen's wing of the board and in the minds of some it looked just a bit dubious for the national champion.

Marshall Strengthens Position

Marshall, however, pulled the loose ends of his position together and entered the ending on even terms. In fact, he had a passed pawn on the queen's rooks file, but Schapiro, with two rooks was closely watching its advance. After 59 moves, a draw was agreed upon. Had Schapiro shown the same steadiness throughout the tournament as he did against Janowski and Marshall his prospects for a high place would be brighter. His score now reads 61/2-41/2, and he is tied for fifth place with Chajes of the Rice Progressive Chess Club.

United States champion Marshall had a hard fight on his hands in the 10th round in order to maintain his lead over Janowski and Kupchik in the chess masters tournament at Lake Hopatcong. Bigelow held him for 57 moves, but was finally outwitted by Marshall, who handled his Knight in superb style.

[Event "9th American Chess Congress"]
[Site "Lake Hopatcong, NJ USA"]
[Date "1923.08.17"]
[Round "10"]
[White "Marshall, Frank James"]
[Black "Bigelow, Horace Ransom"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D55"]
[Annotator "Goeller,Michael"]
[PlyCount "113"]
[TimeControl "40/150"]

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. Nc3 Nbd7 5. Bg5 Be7 6. e3 b6 $2 7. cxd5 $1 exd5 $6 (7... Nxd5 8. Nxd5 exd5 9. Bxe7 Qxe7 10. Rc1 Qb4+ 11. Qd2 $14) 8. Rc1 O-O 9. Bd3 Bb7 10. O-O c5 11. Bf5 Ne4 12. Bxe7 Qxe7 13. Bxd7 $1 Qxd7 14. dxc5 Nxc5 15. Qd4 $16 Rad8 16. Rfd1 Rfe8 17. h3 h6 18. Ne5 $6 (18. Qf4 Ne4 19. Nd4 $16) 18... Qf5 19. Nd3 $6 Nxd3 $6 (19... Ne6 $1 20. Qe5 Qg6 $15 {and ...d4 to follow.}) 20. Rxd3 Re7 21. e4 $1 Qf4 22. Rcd1 Red7 23. exd5 Qxd4 24. Rxd4 Kf8 25. f4 Rd6 26. g4 a5 27. Kf2 g6 28. Re4 R8d7 29. h4 Rc7 30. g5 $1 h5 31. Red4 Rc5 32. R1d3 Rd8 33. a3 $1 Ba8 34. Na4 Rcxd5 35. Rxd5 Rxd5 36. Rxd5 Bxd5 37. Nxb6 Bb3 38. Ke3 Ke7 39. Kd4 Ke6 40. Nc4 Kf5 $2 (40... a4) 41. Nxa5 Bd1 42. Nc4 $6 (42. Ke3 Kg4 43. b4 Kxh4 44. b5 Kg3 45. b6 Bf3 46. b7 Bxb7 47. Nxb7 h4 48. Nc5 h3 49. Ne4+ Kg2 50. Nf2 h2 51. a4 $18) 42... Kxf4 43. b4 Kg3 44. b5 Kxh4 45. Ke3 Ba4 46. b6 Bc6 47. Kf2 $6 (47. Kf4 $18) 47... Kxg5 48. a4 Kf6 49. a5 Ke7 50. a6 Kd8 (50... Kd7 51. Ne5+ Kd6 52. Nxf7+ $18 (52. Nxc6 $4 Kxc6 $19)) 51. Nd6 $6 ({ Much faster is} 51. a7 $1 {when Black is in zugzwang, unable to prevent Nd6, b7, and a8=Q. For example:} Bd5 (51... Kd7 52. Ne5+ $18) (51... Ba8 52. Nd6 Kd7 53. b7 Bxb7 54. Nxb7 Kc7 55. a8=Q) (51... Kc8 52. Nd6+ Kd7 53. b7 $18) 52. Nd6 Kd7 53. b7 Kxd6 54. b8=Q+ $18) 51... Kd7 $1 52. Nxf7 (52. b7 $4 Kc7 $11) 52... Bd5 53. Ne5+ Kc8 54. Nxg6 Bb7 55. Ne7+ $1 Kb8 56. axb7 Kxb7 57. Nd5 1-0

And here is the column from August 22, 1923 by Hermann Helms:


While it is still an open question whether Morris Schapiro of Brooklyn is quite ready to contest a match for the United States chess championship and whether or no it would not be wiser for him to wait another year or two, the fact remains that he held Frank J. Marshall, the title holder, to a draw in a long game of 59 moves in the masters' tournament at Lake Hopatcong. At no stage of the game was the international expert able to show any advantage in position, although he experienced no trouble in emerging from what seemed like a precarious situation in the opening. In this connection, it must not be forgotten that the game between these two, contested in the Metropolitan Chess League last season, stands to the credit of Marshall.

The eventful game between Chajes and Lasker was well handled by the latter.

Frank Marshall's decisive win over Sournin of Washington kept the United States champion in front after 12 rounds. It was snappy chess in every sense of the word and Sournin, when he was minus a piece, hardly knew how it all happened.

[Event "9th American Chess Congress"]
[Site "Lake Hopatcong, NJ USA"]
[Date "1923.08.20"]
[Round "11"]
[White "Schapiro, Morris"]
[Black "Marshall, Frank James"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D39"]
[PlyCount "118"]

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. Nc3 Bb4 {Marshall's favorite move, which he used to great success in his game against Kupchik earlier in the tournament.} 5. Bg5 {The right answer.} c5 $5 (5... dxc4 $1 $11) 6. e3 Qa5 $6 { Too aggressive.} 7. Bxf6 gxf6 8. Qb3 $6 ({Better} 8. cxd5 $1 Bxc3+ (8... exd5 9. dxc5 $16) 9. bxc3 exd5 (9... Qxc3+ 10. Nd2 exd5 11. Rc1 $16) 10. dxc5 Qxc3+ 11. Nd2 Nc6 (11... Qxc5 $4 12. Rc1) 12. Rc1 $16) 8... Bd7 $5 9. a3 dxc4 10. Bxc4 Rg8 $5 11. O-O $1 Bxc3 12. bxc3 b5 13. Be2 Bc6 14. Rfd1 Nd7 15. Ne1 c4 16. Qc2 f5 {Strengthening his grip on the light squares.} 17. Bf3 $5 (17. a4 $1) 17... Bxf3 18. Nxf3 Nf6 (18... Nb6 $6 19. e4 $1 fxe4 20. Qxe4 Qxc3 21. Ne5 $1 $36) 19. a4 $1 Ne4 20. axb5 Qxc3 21. Qa4 Qb2 22. Ra2 $6 (22. Rf1 $3 { with the thread of ...b6} Qb3 23. Qxb3 cxb3 24. Rfb1 $16) 22... Qb3 (22... Nc3 $5 23. Rxb2 Nxa4 24. Rc2 $16) 23. Rc1 $6 (23. Qxb3 $1 cxb3 24. Rb2 Nc3 25. Ra1 Nxb5 26. Rxb3 Nd6 27. Ra6 $16) 23... Nc3 $1 24. Qxb3 cxb3 25. Rb2 Nxb5 26. Rxb3 a6 $11 27. Ne5 Ke7 28. Nc6+ Kd6 29. Nb4 Rgc8 30. Ra1 a5 31. Nd3 Rc3 32. Rxb5 Rxd3 33. Kf1 a4 34. Ke2 Rc3 35. Kd2 Rc6 36. Ra3 Rac8 37. Rc5 Rxc5 38. dxc5+ Rxc5 39. Rxa4 Rc7 40. Ra8 Rb7 41. Rh8 f6 42. Ke2 e5 43. Kf3 Rg7 44. g3 Ke6 45. h4 Kf7 46. h5 Rg5 47. Rxh7+ Kg8 48. Rh6 Kg7 49. Rg6+ Rxg6 50. hxg6 Kxg6 51. g4 fxg4+ 52. Kxg4 f5+ 53. Kh4 Kh6 54. f4 exf4 55. exf4 Kg6 56. Kg3 Kf7 57. Kf2 Ke6 58. Ke3 Kd5 59. Kd3 Kc5 1/2-1/2

[Event "Masters Tournament"]
[Site "Lake Hopatcong"]
[Date "1923.??.??"]
[Round "12"]
[White "Marshall, Frank James"]
[Black "Sournin, Vladimir"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D15"]
[PlyCount "35"]
[EventDate "1923.??.??"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d5 3. c4 c6 4. Nc3 Bf5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 $5 (5... cxd5) 6. e3 (6. Qb3 $5 Nxc3 $1 (6... Nb6 $6 7. e4 $16) (6... Qb6 $6 7. Qxb6 axb6 8. Nxd5 cxd5 9. Bf4 $14) 7. bxc3 $14 (7. Qxb7 $2 Nd5 $1 8. Qxa8 Qc7 {traps White's Queen.})) 6... e6 7. Bd3 Bb4 8. Qc2 Bxd3 9. Qxd3 Qc7 $6 (9... Qa5 $142 10. Bd2 Qa6 $11) 10. O-O Nd7 11. e4 Nf4 $6 (11... Nxc3 $142 12. bxc3 Be7 $14) 12. Bxf4 Qxf4 13. Ne2 Qc7 14. Rac1 O-O 15. e5 $5 Rfd8 16. Qe4 Nf8 $2 17. d5 $1 $16 f5 $4 18. Qxb4 1-0

[Event "9th American Chess Congress"]
[Site "Lake Hopatcong, NJ USA"]
[Date "1923.08.16"]
[Round "9"]
[White "Janowski, David"]
[Black "Marshall, Frank James"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D03"]
[PlyCount "209"]
[EventDate "1923.??.??"]

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Bg5 e6 4. e3 c5 5. Nbd2 Nc6 6. c3 Bd6 7. Bd3 h6 8. Bh4 O-O 9. O-O e5 10. dxe5 Bxe5 11. Nxe5 Nxe5 12. Bc2 b6 13. h3 Ba6 14. Re1 Nd3 15. Bxd3 Bxd3 16. Nf3 Be4 17. Ne5 (17. Nh2 $1) 17... Qd6 18. Bg3 Qe6 $36 19. f3 Bh7 20. Nd3 Bxd3 $11 {Marshall seeks to avoid a Bishops of opposite color ending.} (20... Qf5 $5 21. Nf4 Qg5 22. Bf2 Rad8 $15) 21. Qxd3 Rad8 22. a4 c4 $1 { Seizing critical light squares.} 23. Qd4 Nd7 24. Bh4 f6 25. e4 Ne5 26. Bg3 Nd3 27. Re2 (27. exd5 Qxd5 28. Qxd5+ Rxd5 29. Re7 Rf7 $17) 27... dxe4 28. Rxe4 Rxd4 29. Rxe6 Rd5 30. Rc6 Nxb2 $17 31. Ra2 Rd2 32. Bf4 Rd1+ $6 (32... Rc2 33. a5 bxa5 34. Rxa5 Re8 35. Rxa7 Ree2 $17) 33. Kh2 Nd3 (33... Rb1) 34. Bg3 f5 35. f4 Re8 36. Rxc4 Nc5 37. a5 Re4 38. axb6 axb6 39. Rb4 Rxb4 40. cxb4 Ne4 41. Ra8+ Kh7 42. Rb8 Nd2 $2 ({Black can dominate White's Bishop beginning with} 42... Rd3 $1 43. Be1 (43. Bh4 g5 $1) 43... Re3 44. Bh4 g5 45. fxg5 hxg5 46. Bxg5 Nxg5 47. Rb7+ Kg6 48. Rxb6+ Ne6 $17) 43. Bh4 $6 (43. Bf2 $1) 43... Nf1+ 44. Kg1 Ng3+ 45. Kf2 $2 {It's not clear why Janowski declined the draw.} (45. Kh2 $1 Nf1+ $11) 45... Ne4+ 46. Ke2 Nc3+ 47. Kf2 Rd4 48. Be7 Rxf4+ 49. Kg3 Re4 50. Bf8 Re6 51. Rb7 Rg6+ 52. Kf3 Kg8 53. Be7 Nd5 54. Bd8 Re6 55. Kf2 Rd6 56. Rb8 Kf7 57. b5 Ke6 58. Kf3 g5 59. g4 fxg4+ 60. Kxg4 Ke5 61. Rc8 Ke4 62. Rc4+ Ke5 63. Rc8 Ke6 64. Rb8 Kd7 65. h4 gxh4 66. Bxh4 Ne3+ 67. Kf3 Nc4 68. Ke4 Re6+ 69. Kd4 Na3 70. Rd8+ Kc7 71. Rd5 Nc2+ 72. Kc3 Ne3 73. Bg3+ Kc8 74. Rh5 Ng4 75. Kd4 Rg6 76. Bf4 Nf6 77. Rh1 Ne8 78. Kd3 Kd7 79. Be3 Rd6+ 80. Kc4 Re6 81. Kd3 Nd6 82. Rh5 Nf7 83. Bd4 Rg6 84. Rd5+ Ke7 85. Rh5 Rd6 86. Rf5 Rg6 87. Rh5 Ng5 88. Kc4 Re6 89. Kd5 Rd6+ 90. Kc4 Re6 91. Rh1 Nf7 92. Ra1 Nd6+ 93. Kd5 Nxb5 94. Be5 Kd7 95. Rg1 h5 96. Rg5 Rh6 97. Rg7+ Ke8 98. Bf4 Rf6 $6 (98... Nc3+ 99. Ke5 Rc6 100. Rh7 b5) 99. Be5 Rf7 {A bad plan, after which White's mating threats force at least a draw despite his two pawn deficit.} 100. Rg6 Nc7+ 101. Kc6 Nb5 102. Kd5 Kd7 103. Rxb6 Nc7+ 104. Bxc7 Kxc7 105. Rh6 1/2-1/2

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Hodges-Marshall, Lake Hopatcong 1923

Position after 63...hxg5.
White to play and win.

Even those players who did poorly at Lake Hopatcong 1923 were no slouches. For example, Albert Beauregard Hodges (July 21, 1861-February 3, 1944), who finished 11th out of 14, was once U.S. champion and is said to have been one of the operators of “Ajeeb,” which succeeded Maezel’s Turk in the latter 19th Century as the most popular automaton. He won the U.S. championship in 1894 after defeating Jackson Showalter, but he immediately retired from championship play to pursue business. Hodges remained an active player, however, winning the Manhattan Chess Club Championship and the New York Championship and competing in a number of New York area events. He was the only American master to play against 5 world chess champions, including Zukertort, Steinitz, Lasker, Capablanca, and Alekhine.

In his game against Marshall at Lake Hopatcong 1923, Hodges actually had a won ending (see diagram above) but was apparently content with a draw against the current U.S. titleholder. You can play through the moves of the game on your favorite PGN viewer or chess-playing software. If you are using Fritz, for example, simply copy the PGN below and use Edit>Paste>Paste Game to load it for viewing and analysis.

[Event "9th American Chess Congress"]
[Site "Lake Hopatcong, NJ USA"]
[Date "1923.08.??"]
[Round "13"]
[White "Hodges, Albert Beauregard"]
[Black "Marshall, Frank James"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C49"]
[Annotator "Goeller,Michael"]
[PlyCount "143"]
[EventDate "1923.??.??"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. Bb5 Bb4 (4... Nd4 $5) 5. O-O O-O 6. d3 d5 { A typical Marshall move.} 7. Nxd5 (7. Bxc6 $142 bxc6 8. Nxe5 Qe8 $5 (8... Bxc3 9. bxc3 dxe4 10. dxe4 Qxd1 11. Rxd1 Nxe4 12. Nxc6 Nxc3 $11) 9. f4 dxe4 $13) (7. exd5 $6 Nd4 $1 $11) 7... Nxd5 8. exd5 Qxd5 9. Bxc6 bxc6 {Black now has the two Bishops and control of the center to compensate for his doubled pawns. But the doubled pawns are a long-term liability.} (9... Qxc6 10. Nxe5 $14) 10. Qe2 Re8 (10... Bg4 $1) 11. a3 Bf8 12. Bd2 Bg4 13. h3 Bxf3 14. Qxf3 e4 $1 (14... Qxf3 15. gxf3 Rab8 16. b3 $11) 15. Qg3 Re6 ({ Black might be able to obtain an edge by} 15... Bd6 16. f4 Qd4+ 17. Kh1 Qxb2 18. dxe4 Qxc2 19. Bc3 Bf8 20. e5 {but Marshall did not like to surrender the initiative for a mere pawn, especially when that pawn was doubled on an open file.}) 16. Bc3 exd3 17. Qxd3 Qxd3 18. cxd3 Rd8 19. Rfd1 Red6 20. Kf1 (20. d4 $6 c5 $17) 20... Rxd3 21. Ke2 R3d5 {Black now has a pawn advantage, but the damage to his queenside pawns makes it nearly impossible to exploit.} 22. Rac1 f6 23. Bd2 Bc5 24. Be1 Re8+ 25. Kf1 Bb6 26. Rd2 Re6 27. Rdc2 c5 28. f3 Red6 29. Ke2 Rg5 30. Kf1 Rgd5 31. Ke2 Re6+ 32. Kf1 Rd3 $5 {It is difficult for Black to develop a plan for exploiting his extra pawn. Marshall's idea is to try to attack White's queenside pawns. But there is nothing there and Marshall eventually risks getting the worse of it in order to create some unlikely winning chances.} 33. Bf2 Rb3 34. Rb1 Re5 35. Be1 Rd3 $6 (35... Rd5 $1 $15) 36. Rbc1 Red5 37. Ke2 Rb3 38. Bc3 Kf7 39. Rd2 c6 40. Rcd1 Ke6 41. Re1 Bc7 (41... c4 ) 42. Kd1+ Kf7 43. Kc2 Rb7 44. Red1 Rxd2+ 45. Rxd2 Ke6 46. Re2+ Kd7 47. Kd3 Bh2 48. Kc4 Bg1 49. Re1 Bf2 50. Re2 Bg1 51. Re1 Bf2 52. Re2 Bg1 53. Re1 Bh2 54. Kxc5 Rb5+ 55. Kc4 Be5 {Now it is Black who must grovel for the draw.} 56. Re2 Rd5 57. a4 a6 58. b3 g5 59. Bxe5 fxe5 60. Kc3 c5 61. Re4 h6 62. h4 Ke6 63. hxg5 hxg5 {Now Black has four pawn islands to White's two, which should create some winning chances.} 64. b4 $2 {The former U.S. champion was obviously content with a draw against the current champ. Otherwise, he might have avoided any exchanges of Black's weaker pawns for his own and tried immediately to attack them with Rook and King. In fact,} ({White could actually win by} 64. Rg4 $1 Kf5 (64... Rd1 $5 65. Rxg5 $16) 65. Kc4 Rd4+ $5 (65... Rd7 66. Kxc5 $18) 66. Kxc5 $1 (66. Rxd4 $4 exd4 $19 { would actually lose due to the protected passed pawn for Black}) 66... Rxg4 67. fxg4+ Ke4 $5 (67... Kxg4 $2 68. b4 e4 69. Kd4 Kf4 70. b5 axb5 71. axb5 e3 72. Kd3 Ke5 73. Kxe3 $18) 68. b4 Kd3 69. b5 $1 axb5 70. axb5 e4 71. b6 e3 72. b7 e2 73. b8=Q e1=Q 74. Qb3+ Kd2 { There is no way to avoid the exchange of Queens and no good way to accept it.} (74... Qc3+ 75. Qxc3+ Kxc3 76. Kd5 $18) 75. Qb4+ Ke2 76. Qxe1+ Kxe1 77. Kd4 $18 ) 64... cxb4+ 65. Rxb4 Rc5+ 66. Rc4 Kd5 67. Rxc5+ Kxc5 68. g3 Kd5 69. Kd3 a5 70. g4 Kd6 71. Ke4 Ke6 72. Ke3 $11 1/2-1/2

Friday, July 22, 2005

Lake Hopatcong 1926 in Spanish

Scott Massey, who is a well-known collector of chess books (and currently at work on a list of favorites for our site), found this Spanish tournament book on his shelf for me: Lake Hopatcong 1926 by Ricardo Alvarez Cela and Luis Eceizabarrena (Madrid 1973). It is part of a series of "Torneos Retrospectivos" (Historical Tournaments) that featured the success of the Spanish-speaking world's favorite chess son, Jose Raoul Capablanca.

I can read Spanish (I even passed a graduate exam in it without a dictionary), so the book is a great opportunity to brush up. I am finding it quite a treat. The authors offer an excellent and lengthy historical introduction to the event, much better than the contemporary book by Helms and Howell (since they presume that their readers are themselves contemporaries). And the notes, while obviously informed by the original tournament book, are often quite original, so they will be useful in annotating the games.

Steve Stoyko at the Judah Ash Memorial

At the Kenilworth Chess Club this evening, Steve Stoyko showed us some of his games from the recent Judah Ash Memorial down in Lawrenceville, where he finished tied for second. It was a very strong Grand Prix event. Steve thought the venue was excellent and that the tournament itself was run wonderfully, which sounds like a good recommendation for playing next year. You can find details of the event online at the USCF site:

Here are three of the games, with notes based on comments Steve made while showing them:

[Event "6th Judah Ash Memorial"]
[Site "Lawrenceville, NJ USA"]
[Date "2005.07.16"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Williams, Christopher M."]
[Black "Stoyko, Stephen"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B25"]
[WhiteElo "2057"]
[BlackElo "2300"]
[Annotator "Stoyko"]
[PlyCount "56"]
[TimeControl "50/2'"]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 c5 4. d3 Nc6 5. O-O Bg7 6. e4 d6 7. Nc3 $6 {This is practically a blunder.} O-O 8. h3 Rb8 9. Be3 e5 10. Qd2 Nd4 $1 11. Ne1 b5 12. f4 $6 b4 13. Nd1 {It's amazing how quickly Black gets a strong initiative. The only problem is how to break through.} exf4 14. gxf4 Nh5 15. c3 bxc3 16. bxc3 Nb5 17. a4 {Trappy} (17. Rb1 $5) 17... Nc7 (17... Qa5 $2 18. Rb1 $1) 18. Nf3 Kh8 $1 {"I am very proud of this move--I think it is extremely strong, because White now is kind of stuck. He has no pawn moves and there are no cross-checks on a2. The move says to White, 'Show me what you can do because I'm going to play f5 and kill you if you do nothing.'"} (18... f5 $5) 19. Nf2 f5 20. Rad1 $6 (20. e5 Nd5 $15) 20... Ne6 $1 21. exf5 Rxf5 22. d4 $2 Nexf4 23. dxc5 Nxg2 24. Kxg2 Bb7 (24... Rxf3 { Fritz}) 25. Ng4 Qh4 26. Qxd6 Rbf8 27. Ngh2 $6 (27. c6 Bxc6 $1) 27... Be5 $1 28. c6 Qg3+ 0-1

[Event "6th Judah Ash Memorial"]
[Site "Lawrenceville, NJ USA"]
[Date "2005.07.17"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Stoyko, Stephen"]
[Black "Ftacnik, Lubomir"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B08"]
[WhiteElo "2600"]
[BlackElo "2300"]
[Annotator "Stoyko"]
[PlyCount "109"]
[TimeControl "50/2'"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. Nc3 { "This takes him out of his Gruenfeld."} Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Be2 O-O 6. O-O c6 { "Karpov (and I) think this sucks." It puts no pressure on the center. The ideal set-up for White is Bd3, Qd2, Rad1, h3, Re1, Bf1, g3, Bg2 and White gets a squeeze since Black has no good ideas.} 7. a4 $1 {Stops all black expansions. } a5 8. h3 Na6 9. Be3 Nb4 {The Knight on this square has no real prospects, but White's problem is that he cannot drive it back comfortably. It's not a good move, but tactically it's playable.} 10. Qd2 (10. Nd2 e5) (10. Qc1 { with the idea of Nd2, Nc4, maybe f4, with lots of possibilities} d5 $5) 10... d5 11. e5 Ne8 12. Na2 $5 {"I knew this was a mediocre move." He played it to "stick it" to the GM, forcing him to think and play something bad. It puts the onus on the higher rated player to find something in a position where he is weaker.} (12. Ne1 $1 f6 13. f4 $14 {but this puts the onus on White to prove that he can attack successfully on the kingside.}) 12... Nxa2 13. Rxa2 { This must favor White since the Black Knight moved three times to be exchanged. White has the better pieces. His Rook and Queen are constrained by the need to protect the a-pawn. The Knight at e8 is his best piece, but it has no good future. The White pieces meanwhile are optimal, but for the Rooks and the Knight at f3, which can easily re-deploy.} f6 14. Bh6 Nc7 15. exf6 (15. Ra3 Ne6 16. Bxg7 Kxg7 17. Re3 c5) 15... exf6 16. Re1 Re8 17. Bxg7 Kxg7 18. Bd3 { This stops Black's Bishop from developing comfortably and again puts the onus on Black.} (18. Ra3 Bf5) 18... Rxe1+ 19. Qxe1 Qd6 $1 20. Ra1 Bd7 21. Qd2 Ne6 22. g3 {Stopping Nf4} (22. Re1) 22... b6 23. c3 c5 { Now White's a-pawn becomes a target--tables turned.} 24. Bf1 Re8 25. Bg2 c4 26. h4 (26. b3 $5) 26... Nc7 27. Nh2 Bf5 28. Nf1 Be4 29. Ne3 {If Black exchanges Bishops then he has the target on d5 and no chances to attack a4.} f5 30. Bxe4 Rxe4 (30... fxe4 31. b3 $5 (31. Ng4 $5) 31... cxb3 32. Qb2 Rf8 33. Qxb3 Rf3) 31. Ng2 Qd7 32. f3 Re8 33. Kf2 Ne6 34. Nf4 Nxf4 35. Qxf4 Qe7 36. Qd2 f4 $1 37. Rf1 $1 {The idea to be able to play Qxf4 or Qf4 and allow the King to drop back to g1-- and if he takes things on the Queenside the Queen on f4 gives counterplay.} fxg3+ 38. Kxg3 {The idea is that if ...Qe2 then Rf2 is an easy draw, because even if he goes after the a-pawn then b3 is White's saving idea.} Qd7 39. Qf4 Qe6 (39... Qxa4 40. Qc7+ $11) 40. Rf2 Re7 41. Kg2 (41. h5 $5 gxh5 42. Rh2 Qe1+ 43. Kh3) 41... Qf6 42. Qxf6+ Kxf6 43. b3 $1 Re3 (43... cxb3 44. Rb2 b5 45. Rxb3 bxa4 46. Ra3 Re3 47. Kf2 Rd3 $4 48. Ke2 $18) 44. bxc4 dxc4 45. Rb2 Rxc3 46. Rxb6+ Kf5 47. Kg3 $1 Rb3 48. Rc6 $11 (48. Ra6 $1) 48... c3 49. Rc5+ Ke6 50. Rxa5 Rb4 51. Rc5 Rxa4 52. Rxc3 Rxd4 53. Rc6+ Kd7 54. Rc3 Rd5 55. Re3 1/2-1/2

[Event "6th Judah Ash Memorial"]
[Site "Lawrenceville, NJ USA"]
[Date "2005.07.17"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Bartell, Thomas"]
[Black "Stoyko, Stephen"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A28"]
[WhiteElo "2360"]
[BlackElo "2300"]
[Annotator "Stoyko"]
[PlyCount "73"]
[TimeControl "50/2'"]

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. e3 Be7 ( 4... Bb4 5. Qc2 d6) 5. d4 exd4 6. Nxd4 O-O 7. Be2 d5 8. cxd5 Nxd5 9. Nxc6 bxc6 10. Bd2 Bf6 11. O-O Rb8 12. e4 Nxc3 13. Bxc3 Bxc3 14. bxc3 Qxd1 15. Rfxd1 Be6 $132 16. f4 $2 Rb2 17. Kf1 f5 $1 {Gives White a protected passed pawn, but it is well blockaded and meanwhile Black is getting good play.} (17... Rxa2 $2 18. Rxa2 Bxa2 19. Ra1 (19. c4 $5)) (17... Bxa2 18. Rd7) (17... f6 18. f5 Bf7 19. Rd7 $16) (17... Rfb8 $2 18. a4 (18. f5 Bxa2) 18... Rxe2 19. Rab1 (19. Kxe2 Bg4+ 20. Ke3 Bxd1 21. Rxd1 $16 Kf8 22. Rd7 Rc8 23. e5 Ke8 24. e6) 19... Rxb1 20. Rxb1) 18. e5 (18. exf5 Rxf5 $1 19. g3 (19. Rd8+ Kf7 20. Ra8 Rxf4+ 21. Bf3 g5 $1 (21... Bd5 $1 $17) (21... Ra4 $6 22. Bxc6 Raxa2 23. Rxa7 (23. Rxa2 Rxa2 $17) 23... Rxa1+ 24. Rxa1 Ke7 $15) 22. Kg1 (22. h3 Bd5 $17) 22... g4 23. Bxc6 Rc4 24. Be8+ Ke7) 19... g5 (19... Rc5)) 18... Rfb8 19. Ke1 Kf8 (19... Bxa2 20. Rxa2 $1 Rxa2 21. Bc4+) 20. Rd2 Rxd2 21. Kxd2 Rb2+ 22. Ke3 $1 Ke7 (22... Rxa2 $2 23. Rxa2 Bxa2 24. Kd4 a5 25. Kc5 Bd5 26. g3) 23. h3 c5 24. g4 g6 25. a4 { 1/2-1/2 Bartell offered a draw, which Steve accepted due to the complexity of the position and the clock situation. After the game, though, he became convinced that Black was better. Best was:} a5 26. g5 Bd5 $15 27. Kd3 Ke6 (27... Be4+ 28. Ke3 Rc2 29. Ra3) 28. h4 c4+ 29. Ke3 Rc2 30. Ra3 c5 31. h5 Rb2 32. hxg6 hxg6 33. Bd1 $1 Be4 34. Be2 (34. Bf3 $2 Rb3) 34... Kd5 35. Ra1 Bb1 36. Bf3+ Ke6 37. Bc6 $13 1/2-1/2

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Photo from Lake Hopatcong 1923

Participants in Lake Hopatcong 1923, on two pages from Saidy's "The World of Chess" (special thanks to Jim Kulbacki for sending me the scanned image).

The Last American Chess Congress

The 9th American Chess Congress at Lake Hopatcong was also the last. A decade later, Frank Marshall retired as U.S. Champion and the first invitational U.S. Championship was played in 1936, won by Sammy Reshevsky. Here is a run-down on the other American Chess Congresses:

1st American Chess Congress
New York, October 6-November 10, 1857
Paul Morphy
-Played in a series of knock-out matches where draws did not count.
-Morphy defeated Paulsen in the final match-up.

2nd American Chess Congress
Cleveland, December 4-15, 1871
Captain George H. Mackenzie
-First U.S. championship tournament after Morphy's retirement.
-Draws didn't count and were replayed.

3rd American Chess Congress
Chicago, July 7-16, 1874
Captain George H. Mackenzie
-Time control of 15 moves per hour.
-$100 first prize and $450 total prizes.

4th American Chess Congress
Philadelphia August 17-31, 1876
James Mason
-Concurrent with the World Exhibition and American Centennial
-Not considered the American championship.
-First tournament in the U.S. to attract foreign players.

5th American Chess Congress
New York, January 6-26, 1880
Captain George H. Mackenzie and Grundy tied
-First to have a tie and a playoff for the title.

6th American Chess Congress
New York, March 15-May 17, 1889
Mikhail Tchigorin and Max Weiss tied
-One of the strongest tournaments ever held in the U.S.
-Played as a World Championship qualifier.
-Tournament book by Wilhelm Steinitz among the best ever written.

7th American Chess Congress
St. Louis, October 1904
Frank James Marshall
-Followed upon Marshall's stunning victory at Cambridge Springs.

8th American Chess Congress
Atlantic City, 1921
David Janowsky
-Recently documented by John S. Hilbert.
-Marked the decline of U.S. champ Marshall who finished tied 5th-7th.

9th American Chess Congress
Lake Hopatcong, August 1923
Frank James Marshall and Abraham Kupchik
-The last "chess congress."
-Followed Marshall's defense of his title in a match with Ed. Lasker.


Cree, Graeme, The U.S. Chess Championship (online)

Soltis, Andy and Gene H. McCormick, The U.S. Chess Championship, 1845-1985 (McFarland 1986)

Steinitz, Wilhelm. The 6th American Chess Congress (Georg Olms Editions 1982)

The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th American Chess Congress (Georg Olms Editions 1982)

Hilbert, J. S. in Quarterly for Chess History (Volume 5) and Essays in American Chess History(Caissa Editions 2002)

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Tactics Training

I recently posted a link to the Chess Tactics Server at our Middlegame links page. Hat tip to David T of, who calls it "The equivalent of electronic crack."

The Chess Tactics Server is a wonderful test site with short game-like problems to solve under blitz conditions. Register or sign in as a guest (I recommend you try it as a guest first before risking rating points). You are presented with a position where you are playing either Black or White. Your opponent makes his move and you must find the right counter-move or two-to-three-move combination before time runs out. As soon as you solve it, the next position loads. Quite an addictive rush. Maintained by the German club Schachgemeinschaft Hermsdorf. Excellent training before your next serious or speed game. Beware of mouse-slips, though: it's touch-move!

Also of interest is Chess Position Trainer, which I will have to add.

Marshall-Black, Lake Hopatcong 1923

Position after 16.Qe5 in Marshall-Black, Lake Hopatcong 1923
Black to play and gain counterplay, with at least a slight edge.

I have recently been working through John Nunn's Chess Puzzle Book, which may be one of the most difficult collections of tactical positions I've ever studied. Of course, Nunn intends it to be difficult and the positions (almost all of which are from GM games) to be a bit messy and complicated, in the way that practical play always is. But I realized recently that what makes the positions most difficult is that, in many of the cases, the solutions were missed by human players and even annotators! Nunn developed many of his examples by going through old Informant games and analysis with a computer to catch all of the things that the GMs had missed. I'm sure I'm not the first reader to ask, "Well, if a GM missed it, then how the hell am I supposed to find it?" I guess the answer is that I have the advantage of knowing, by the very nature of a puzzle book, that it is there to be found. Nobody ever tells you "Black to play and win" during the game (unfortunately).

The position above is exactly the sort that Nunn would have liked to include in his book. It is taken from Marshall-Black, Lake Hopatcong 1923. Marshall has just played 16.Qe5(?), which is awarded an exclamation mark by both Hermann Helms and GM Andrew Soltis in their notes. The players obviously thought it was a strong move as well. Helms writes that Roy Black thought that 16.Qe5 "practically settled the question then and there." But while the idea is correct, the execution was faulty. Fritz suggests first 16.dxe6 Nxe6 and then 17.Qe5! with a big plus for White. The computer also finds that Black has a strong saving line after 16.Qe5(?) which everyone else up to now has overlooked. Knowing that it is "Black to play and gain the edge," can you spot it?

The following article appeared in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle on August 21, 1923. Notes to the first game are based, in part, on those of Soltis in his book Frank Marshall, United States Champion (McFarland)--which was only recently published but bears a 1994 copyright, suggesting that its analysis was done before the widespread use of computers. You, however, can use a computer to view the PGN files: simply copy them to the clipboard and then use Edit>Paste>Paste Game to load them into Fritz or your preferred PGN-viewer.


By Hermann Helms

One is strongly reminded, when perusing the game Marshall won from Black (both old Brooklynites, by the way, but now gone elsewhere) in the masters tournament at Lake Hopatcong, of the palmiest days of the United States champion, as he went out among the great experts of Europe and bowled them over in a fashion that opened their eyes much the same way as did the exploits of Morphy and Pillsbury. Black, in his defense to the Queen's Gambit, followed the lead of Capablanca as far as the fifteenth move but later acknowledged that Marshall's next move of 16.Q-K5 practically settled the question then and there.

The champion's handling of the entire game was a treat to witness. The final position, in which Black was merely a pawn behind, is a real problem for the enthusiast to work out. Black saw through it and resigned as a matter of courtesy to Marshall, whose strategy he respected.

Chajes, after an indifferent start, is very much in the running. His game with Sournin of Washington is typical of his style.

[Event "9th American Chess Congress"]
[Site "Lake Hopatcong, NJ USA"]
[Date "1923.08.15"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Marshall, Frank James"]
[Black "Black, Roy"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D64"]
[PlyCount "47"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d5 3. c4 e6 4. Nc3 Nbd7 5. Bg5 Be7 6. e3 O-O 7. Rc1 c6 8. Qc2 dxc4 $6 (8... Ne4 $1 9. Bxe7 Qxe7 10. Nxe4 dxe4 11. Qxe4 Qb4+ 12. Nd2 Qxb2 $11 {Soltis}) 9. Bxc4 Nd5 10. Bxe7 Qxe7 11. O-O Nxc3 12. Qxc3 $1 $14 { "Stopping ...e6-e5 and thereby limiting Black to passivity" writes Soltis.} b6 13. e4 Bb7 14. Rfe1 Rfd8 15. d5 $1 { "Elementary but thematic exploitation of the e-file pin" writes Soltis.} Nc5 $6 (15... cxd5 16. exd5 Bxd5 $2 (16... Nf8 17. dxe6 Nxe6 18. Bxe6 fxe6 $8 19. Qe3 $14) 17. Bxd5 $18) (15... e5 16. dxc6 Bxc6 17. Bxf7+ $16) (15... c5 $5 {Fritz}) 16. Qe5 $2 {Inaccurate play by the champion.} ({ The correct way of executing Marshall's plan is by} 16. dxe6 $1 Nxe6 (16... fxe6 17. b4 $16) 17. Qe5 $1 $16) 16... Kf8 $2 ({ Black could actually obtain the advantage here with} 16... cxd5 $1 17. exd5 Bxd5 18. Bxd5 Nd3 $1 19. Rc7 (19. Qc7 Qxc7 20. Rxc7 Rxd5 $17) 19... Qf8) 17. Qh5 $16 cxd5 (17... Kg8 18. b4 g6 (18... Nd7 19. dxe6 fxe6 20. Ng5 $18 {Soltis} ) 19. Qh6 Nd7 20. dxc6 $1 Bxc6 21. Bxe6 $1 fxe6 (21... Qxe6 $2 22. Ng5 Qf6 23. Rxc6 $1 $18) 22. Rxc6 $16) 18. exd5 (18. Qxh7 $142 $16) 18... Bxd5 $2 (18... h6 $142) 19. Bxd5 Rxd5 20. Qxh7 $18 Qb7 21. Qh8+ Ke7 22. Qxg7 Rf5 23. Nd4 $1 Rf6 24. Qg5 {Black cannot stop Nf5+ without surrendering the Rook.} 1-0

[Event "9th American Chess Congress"]
[Site "Lake Hopatcong, NJ USA"]
[Date "1923.08.15"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Sournin, Vladimir"]
[Black "Chajes, Oscar"]
[Result "0-1"]
[PlyCount "94"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Bf4 d6 3. Nf3 Nbd7 4. Nc3 c6 5. e4 Qa5 6. Bd2 (6. Bd3 e5 $1 $11) 6... Qc7 7. Bd3 e5 8. O-O h6 9. Re1 g5 $6 10. dxe5 $6 (10. Ne2 $1 exd4 11. Nfxd4 $16 {with the idea of Ng3 and Ndf5}) 10... dxe5 $11 11. Ne2 Nc5 12. Bc3 Bd6 13. Ng3 Be6 (13... Na4 14. Qd2 Bg4 $15) 14. Nf5 Bxf5 15. exf5 Ncd7 (15... O-O-O $1) 16. Qd2 O-O-O 17. b4 $2 Rhe8 $17 ( 17... g4 $5 18. Nh4 e4 $40) 18. Bc4 e4 19. Nd4 Bxh2+ 20. Kf1 Bf4 21. Qe2 Nb6 $6 ({Much stronger was} 21... Ne5 $1 {placing the Knight to a much more active post and blocking the dark-squared Bishop's long diagonal.}) 22. Ne6 $1 fxe6 23. Bxf6 exf5 $1 24. Bxd8 Qxd8 $17 { Black's exchange sacrifice maintains his strong positional edge.} 25. Bf7 Re7 26. Bg6 Qf8 27. g4 $1 e3 $5 (27... fxg4 28. Qxg4+ Kb8 29. Bxe4 $15) 28. Bxf5+ Kb8 29. f3 $6 h5 30. Kg2 hxg4 31. fxg4 Bd6 32. c4 Bxb4 33. Rh1 Qg8 34. Bd3 a5 $6 (34... Na4) 35. Raf1 (35. Rh5 $1 Nd7 36. Rah1 $13) 35... Na4 36. Qf3 Ka7 37. Be4 $2 Qxc4 38. Qxe3+ Bc5 39. Bd3 Qxa2+ 40. Rf2 Qxf2+ $1 {Forcing a won ending. } 41. Qxf2 Bxf2 42. Kxf2 Nc5 43. Bf5 b5 44. Rh6 Kb6 45. Rg6 a4 46. Rxg5 a3 47. Bb1 Ne4+ $1 0-1

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Horace Ransom Bigelow at Lake Hopatcong 1923

Black to play after 8.f5? has two winning methods.

Horace Ransom Bigelow (March 6, 1898-April 18, 1980) was a star chess player at Oxford in England before returning to the United States, where he became a frequent participant in the Manhattan chess scene of the 20s and 30s. He became a minor chess journalist (writing for the American Chess Bulletin) and is best remembered today for his preface to Richard Reti's "Masters of the Chessboard." Bigelow was really no match, though, for the best masters and finished in last place at Lake Hopatcong 1923. His games provide numerous examples, though, of winning attacks and combinations by his opponents. After all, it is often difficult to get a clearly winning attack going against strong opposition, but against Bigelow things were often textbook-clear.

In the following game, which should have been a miniature (since it is over on move 13), Abraham Kupchik is presented with at least two ways to seize the initiative and begin a winning attack after Bigelow's blunderific 8.f5? (see diagram above). You can play over the PGN file below by copying it to the clipboard and then loading it into Fritz (or another PGN-viewer) with Edit>Paste>Paste Game.

[Event "9th American Chess Congress"]
[Site "Lake Hopatcong, NJ, USA"]
[Date "1923.08.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Bigelow, Horace Ransom"]
[Black "Kupchik, Abraham"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C30"]
[PlyCount "82"]
[EventDate "1923.??.??"]

1. e4 e5 2. f4 Bc5 3. Nf3 d6 4. c3 Nf6 5. d4 $5 (5. fxe5 dxe5 6. Nxe5 Qe7 7. d4 Bd6 8. Nd2 Bxe5 9. dxe5 Qxe5 10. Bd3 Nc6 $11) 5... exd4 6. cxd4 Bb6 (6... Bb4+ 7. Bd2 Bxd2+ 8. Nbxd2 O-O 9. Bd3 $14) 7. Nc3 O-O 8. f5 $2 {This advance, often appropriate when Black has a pawn at e5, is completely incorrect here since White's laggard e-pawn now becomes a target, and if e-pawn falls or steps forward then the f-pawn will hang.} ({Better} 8. e5 dxe5 (8... Ng4 $5 9. Bc4 $13) 9. fxe5 Nd5 10. Bc4 $14) 8... Re8 $17 {Forcing White's next.} ({ Equally strong or stronger was} 8... Nxe4 $1 9. Nxe4 Re8 10. Nfg5 Bxf5 11. Bc4 d5 12. O-O Bxe4 $19) 9. Kf2 d5 $1 10. e5 (10. exd5 Bxf5 $17) 10... Ne4+ 11. Nxe4 dxe4 12. Bg5 {White is already lost. Not much better was} (12. Ng5 Bxd4+ { and Black wins White's whole set of center pawns.}) 12... Qd5 $1 13. Be3 { Surrendering a piece to hang onto some pawns.} (13. Nh4 Bxd4+ 14. Be3 Bxe3+ 15. Kxe3 Qxe5 $19) 13... exf3 {White could now resign, but instead stubbornly resists through the time control before surrendering.} 14. Rc1 Bxf5 15. Bc4 Qd7 16. gxf3 Nc6 17. Rg1 Bxd4 18. Bxd4 Qxd4+ 19. Qxd4 Nxd4 20. Bxf7+ $5 Kxf7 21. Rxc7+ Re7 22. Rxg7+ Kxg7 23. Rxe7+ Kg6 24. Rxb7 Kg5 25. Rb4 Ne6 26. Kg3 Rd8 27. Rb7 Rd2 28. Rxa7 Rxb2 29. Rf7 Bg6 30. Rf6 Nd4 31. f4+ Kh5 32. Ra6 Be4 33. f5 Bxf5 34. Kf4 Bg6 35. e6 Re2 36. Ra5+ Kh6 37. Ra6 Nxe6+ 38. Kg3 Nd4 39. a4 Nf5+ 40. Kh3 Kg5 41. a5 Bh5 {mate is unavoidable.} 0-1

Here is another position from one of Bigelow's games:

White to play after 18...exf5? What's the strongest move?

Bigelow and Anthony Santasiere (who finished next to last) were entered into the Lake Hopatcong 1923 tournament after playing in a qualifier quad with J. L. McCudden and Alexander Kevitz (who is often remembered today for playing early versions of the Two Knights Tango and the Nimzovitch Defense with ...e5). Here is one of the qualifying games, where Bigelow gained an opening advantage only to lose it and allow White an important breakthrough. You can see the critical moment above, with White to play and seize the initiative.

[Event "9th American Chess Congress Qualifier"]
[Site "New York, NY USA"]
[Date "2005.08.01"]
[Round "0"]
[White "McCudden, J. L.."]
[Black "Bigelow, Horace Ransom"]
[Result "1-0"]
[PlyCount "75"]
[TimeControl "40/150"]

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Bd3 Bxd3 5. Qxd3 e6 6. Ne2 Nd7 7. O-O Qb6 8. Be3 Qxb2 9. Nd2 Qa3 10. c3 b5 11. f4 Nh6 12. h3 Nf5 13. g4 Nxe3 14. Qxe3 Be7 15. f5 c5 16. Rab1 a6 (16... Qxa2 $2 17. Ra1 Qc2 18. Rfc1 $11) 17. Nf3 cxd4 18. Nfxd4 exf5 $2 19. e6 $1 fxe6 20. Nxe6 Qd6 21. Rxf5 (21. Nxg7+ $142 $1 Kf7 22. Nxf5 $18) 21... g6 22. Rxd5 $1 Qb6 (22... Qxd5 23. Nc7+) 23. N2d4 $1 Nf6 24. Re5 Ra7 25. g5 Nh5 26. Re1 Qd6 27. Nc6 $1 Rb7 28. Nxe7 Rxe7 29. Nc7+ Kd8 30. Rxe7 Rf8 31. Re8+ Kxc7 32. Rxf8 Qxf8 33. Qa7+ Kd6 34. Qxa6+ Kc7 35. Qa7+ Kc6 36. Re6+ Kd5 37. Qd7+ Kc4 38. Qd4# 1-0

Monday, July 18, 2005

Kupchik-Marshall, Lake Hopatcong 1923

Black to play after 15.Bc4.
What's the strongest move to continue Marshall's initiative?

The following game was one of the best of the 9th American Chess Congress at Lake Hopatcong 1923. Marshall considered it one of the best of his career. The two players went on to tie for first in the tournament. The PGN file is introduced with Helms's original notes in his chess column followed by many of Marshall's own notes on the game. You can play through the PGN by copying it to the clipboard and pasting it into Fritz or another PGN-viewer.

by Herman Helms
The Brooklyn Eagle
Friday, August 17, 1923

Marshall's success against Kupchik in the chess masters tournament at Lake Hopatcong came as a result of his treatment of the Black side of the Queen's Gambit, which commenced in posting his King's Bishop to QKt5. Generally speaking, this is not regarded as the ideal post for that piece, which is really required for defensive purposes either at K2 or Q3. It suits Marshall better, however, when in an attacking mood. Kupchik might have improved his chances with 5.Q-R4ch instead of Q-Kt3 and later he lost time when he played 8.B-Q2.

Ordinarily the experts prefer two bishops to two knights, but in the hands of the United States champion the 'horses' were terrible weapons. His manipulation of them cost Kupchik the 'exchange' and soon after the game.

[Event "9th American Chess Congress"]
[Site "Lake Hopatcong, NJ USA"]
[Date "1923.08.16"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Kupchik, Abraham"]
[Black "Marshall, Frank James"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D38"]
[Annotator "Marshall, Goeller, and Fritz"]
[PlyCount "68"]
[EventDate "1923.??.??"]

{Marshall annotates this game in his book "My Fifty Years of Chess," where he calls this "one of my best games." He prefaces it with the following: "It is delightful to observe how Black's advantage in development sweeps over all resistance. Open lines give him the initiative in short order." White makes no obvious blunders but only plays a bit passively, which invites Marshall to cause trouble.} 1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 e6 3. c4 Nf6 4. Nc3 Bb4 ({ Marshall writes: "Black has a wide choice here:} 4... Nbd7) (4... Be7) (4... c5 ) ({or} 4... c6 { . However, I like the text best, because of its aggressive tendencies."}) 5. Qb3 ({Marshall thinks better is} 5. Qa4+ Nc6 $8) 5... c5 (5... Nc6 $5) 6. cxd5 exd5 7. dxc5 ({Marshall suggests that "here or next move} 7. Bg5 {was better. The text opens lines for Black, and the following move is too conservative."}) 7... Nc6 8. Bd2 $6 Be6 $1 {"Already threatening to win a piece with ...d4."} 9. Ng5 O-O $1 $15 {Black strives for speedy development at every turn and already has a slight edge.} ({The time-wasting} 9... Nd4 $5 10. Qd1 $1 (10. Nxe6 $5) 10... O-O 11. e3 Nc6 12. Be2 (12. Nb5 $5 Bg4 $1 $36) 12... Bf5 13. O-O { gives White good chances of equalizing.}) 10. e3 Nd7 $1 11. Nxe6 fxe6 $17 { "Black has splendid prospects, what with his superior development and the open f-file."} 12. Bb5 Nxc5 13. Qd1 d4 $1 {"With this energetic push Black opens up the game further to his advantage" writes Marshall.} 14. exd4 $8 Nxd4 15. Bc4 Qh4 $1 $19 {At every turn Marshall strives to increase his development and the scope of his pieces. White is already lost yet he has made no obviously bad moves other than the overly cautious 8.Bd2?!} 16. O-O Rad8 $5 {Marshall foregoe s cashing in on his advantage in order to develop his last piece to its best square!} ({In his notes, Marshall gives this move an exclamation mark and writes that the apparently stronger} 16... Nf3+ $1 17. gxf3 Qxc4 { "yields a winning positional advantage; but the text is even more convincing."} ) 17. Be2 $6 ({Better resistance might be offered by} 17. f4 $1) 17... Bxc3 18. bxc3 Ne4 $1 {"Decisive because of the pressure on the d-file. There is really no good counter to the threat of Nxd2 followed by Nf3+.} 19. cxd4 ({ Marshall notes that "Amusing would be} 19. Kh1 $2 Nxd2 ({ Fritz prefers the stronger} 19... Rxf2 $1) 20. Qxd2 $2 (20. cxd4 Nxf1 $19) 20... Nf3 {and the Queen is lost just the same!"}) 19... Rxd4 20. Qb3 $6 ({ White can first force Black's Knight out of position with the tricky} 20. Bg5 $1 Nxg5 21. Qc2 $17 {though Black is still winning.}) 20... Nxd2 21. Qxe6+ Kh8 22. g3 ({"There was no escape from material loss: if} 22. Rfe1 Qxf2+ 23. Kh1 Re4 $19 {and wins."}) 22... Qe4 $1 { Marshall always preferred to simplify once he had won material.} 23. Qxe4 Rxe4 24. Bd3 (24. Rfe1 Rfe8 25. Rac1 h6 $19) 24... Rd4 { White must surrender the exchange or lose a piece.} 25. Bc2 Nxf1 26. Rxf1 b5 27. Kg2 Rd2 {"The ending is an easy win" remarks Marshall.} 28. Bb3 a5 29. a4 Rb2 30. Bd1 Rb1 31. axb5 Rd8 32. Bg4 Rxf1 33. Kxf1 a4 34. b6 Rb8 0-1

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Tomkovich-Hickman, KCC v West Orange 2005

White to play and win after 36....Rd6

Greg gave me his game from the West Orange match. He lost the first half but won the more important second half. Once he gained the advantage, there was no stopping him. The diagram above is taken from his game and you can find the "solution" below.

To play over the game in Fritz, simply select it, copy it to the clipboard (Edit>Copy), then open Fritz and use Edit>Paste>Paste Game to load it.

[Event "Kenilworth CC at West Orange CC"]
[Site "West Orange, NJ USA"]
[Date "2005.06.28"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Tomkovich, Greg"]
[Black "Hickman, Herb"]
[Result "1-0"]
[PlyCount "111"]
[TimeControl "G60"]

1. d4 f5 2. c4 ({Anyone who plays the Dutch must be ready to encounter any number of lines that White can throw at him, including} 2. Bg5 $5 {hoping for} h6 3. Bh4 g5 4. e3 ({or} 4. e4 $5) 4... Nf6 (4... gxh4 $4 5. Qh5#) 5. Bg3 d6 $11) (2. e4 $5 fxe4 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. f3 $44) (2. g4 $5 fxg4 3. e4 d5 $1 $15) 2... Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. Bf4 { A solid idea for White, working to control the dark squares.} ({It is probably rare when a club player of the Dutch faces the supposedly "standard"} 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. g3 d6 6. Bg2) 4... d6 5. h3 {This move might not be necessary, since White would not mind Black wasting time to exchange at f4, when exf4 retains the dark-square bind with extra time and the better minor pieces for the closed position.} Bg7 6. Nf3 O-O 7. e3 Qe8 $5 {To support a potential ...e5 push. But this seems premature and commital. Usually Black prepares central action by c6 and Nbd7, when the Queen might go to c7 or a5 rather than e8 depending on what White does.} (7... Ne4) 8. Nb5 $6 { This seems a bit off-base as a way of trying to "punish" Black's last.} ({ Fritz 8 likes} 8. c5 $5 dxc5 $6 9. Bc4+ e6 10. Bxc7 $14) ({ Other ideas to delay Black's central plans include} 8. Qb3 Kh8 9. Nd5) ({or} 8. Nd5 $5 Na6 9. Nxf6+ Bxf6 10. c5 $5) 8... Na6 9. Qb3 Kh8 (9... c5 $1 $11) 10. Bd3 Be6 $6 ({Black has much better in} 10... Nd7 $1 {which forces through ... e5! and has the potential to fork the f3-Knight and d3-Bishop with ...e5-e4.}) 11. d5 (11. O-O) 11... Bg8 12. O-O Nc5 13. Qc2 Nxd3 14. Qxd3 Qd7 15. Rac1 c6 16. Nc3 Rfd8 {Preparing Black's next.} ({A better idea, though, may be} 16... b5 $1 17. cxb5 (17. dxc6 bxc4 18. cxd7 cxd3 $15 19. Rfd1 (19. Bg5 e5 $1 $17) 19... e5 $5 20. Bxe5 dxe5 21. Nxe5 Rad8 22. Rxd3 Ne4 $17) 17... Nxd5 18. bxc6 ( 18. Nxd5 Bxd5) 18... Qxc6 19. Nxd5 Qxd5 20. Qxd5 Bxd5 {and Black's two Bishops and pressure against White's queenside pawns guarantee him a slight edge.}) 17. Rfd1 e5 $1 18. dxe6 Qxe6 19. b3 Ne4 (19... d5 $1 20. cxd5 Nxd5 21. Bg5 Rd7 22. Nxd5 Rxd5 23. Qe2 h6 $15) 20. Ne2 $6 d5 $1 21. cxd5 $6 (21. c5 $13) 21... Rxd5 22. Qc2 Rad8 23. Rxd5 Qxd5 24. Ned4 h6 25. Kf1 c5 26. Ne2 b6 27. Ng3 $2 g5 $1 28. Bc7 Rc8 29. Rd1 Qe6 30. Bd8 Nxg3+ 31. fxg3 Bh7 ({ Black's natural break-through is by} 31... c4 $1 $19) 32. Qd2 g4 33. Nh4 Bd4 $2 {Black is too obsessed with trying to win White's wayward Bishop. Simply continuing with his attack by} (33... f4 $1 34. exf4 gxh3) ({or} 33... gxh3 34. gxh3 f4 $1 {guarantees Black a substantial edge.}) 34. exd4 Rxd8 35. d5 $1 { Suddenly the lowly isolated pawn from e3 is transformed into a powerhouse passer at d5! Black has clearly done something wrong.} Qe5 $2 { Black is clearly reeling from the reversal of his fortunes.} ({Der Blockade by } 35... Qd6 {is necessary.}) 36. Qxh6 Rd6 37. Qf8+ $1 Bg8 38. Nxf5 Rd7 39. Qh6+ ({Better is} 39. Re1 $1 {getting all the gang involved in the attack.}) 39... Rh7 40. Qf4 Qf6 41. d6 $5 { From this point on White has a number of ways to force the win.} (41. Qxg4 $142 ) 41... gxh3 42. gxh3 Be6 43. g4 Bd7 44. Qg3 Bb5+ 45. Kg1 Bd7 46. Ne7 Rf7 47. Qg2 (47. g5 $1) 47... Qe6 48. Qa8+ Kh7 49. Qg8+ Kh6 50. Qh8+ (50. g5+ $1 $18) 50... Rh7 51. Qf8+ Kg5 (51... Rg7 52. Nf5+ $18) 52. Rd5+ $1 Kh4 53. Qf2+ $1 Kxh3 54. Qg2+ (54. Rd3+ $142 $1 {forces mate by} Kxg4 55. Rg3+ Kh5 56. Qh2+ Qh3 57. Rxh3+ Bxh3 58. Qxh3+ Kg5 59. Qf5+ $1 Kh4 60. Ng6+ {etc.}) 54... Kh4 55. Nf5+ Kg5 56. Ng7+ {winning the Queen.} 1-0

Mike Wojcio's "Queen Sac" Game

Position after 33...Bd7.
What's the strongest move for White to play and win?
(Note: Black's King has moved, making 34...O-O-O illegal).

I returned from Michigan yesterday to find the following game in my e-mail from Mike Wojcio. It is his game from the match with West Orange. I had asked Mike to send it to me because Scott Massey, who saw the game, said that it featured some excellent play by our "president emeritus" -- after the mistake that lost his queen, that is.... Having just given it a going over with Fritz, I must concur. Mike develops excellent play on the back rank that eventually guarantees him the win no matter what his opponent does. As I write in my notes: "Mike played so brilliantly once he lost the queen that you'd almost think he sacrificed it!"

[Event "Kenilworth CC at West Orange CC"]
[Site "West Orange, NJ USA"]
[Date "2005.06.28"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Wojcio, Mike"]
[Black "Hart, Charles"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B02"]
[Annotator "Goeller,Michael"]
[PlyCount "73"]
[TimeControl "G60"]

1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. c4 Nb6 4. c5 Nd5 5. Bc4 {Mike notes: "This is the 'chase variation.' I played it against Arthur Bisquier in the Bermuda Open around 1989 and lost. Arthur played the same Kf8 move against me. I also played it against Roz Katzson who is a master. He played a variation giving up the exchange. I am very prepared against that variation today."} e6 6. Nc3 $5 { White does not have to play a gambit. The superior} (6. d4 d6 (6... b6 $5) 7. cxd6 cxd6 8. Nf3 Nc6 {heads toward the familiar isolani territory discussed recently by Steve Stoyko at the club.}) 6... Nxc3 7. bxc3 (7. dxc3 $5 Bxc5 8. Qg4 g6 9. Bh6 d5 $13) 7... Bxc5 8. d4 Be7 (8... Bf8 $5) 9. Qg4 Kf8 ({ I always prefer} 9... g6 { in situations like this, but neither is especially appealing.}) ({Of course not } 9... O-O $2 10. Bh6 $1 $18) 10. f4 (10. Ne2 $5) 10... h5 (10... d5 11. Bd3 c5 ) 11. Qf3 ({Mike notes that} 11. Qh3 $1 {would help support g4 or f5 with better attacking chances than in the game notes Scott Massey.}) 11... d5 12. Bd3 g6 $6 {...then he should have played this in the first place.} (12... c5 $1 ) 13. Ne2 Kg7 14. O-O h4 $6 {This seems like a risky idea since it potentially weakens the kingside defenses. Black should seek counterplay via the queenside.} 15. Qg4 Rh5 $6 16. Be3 Nc6 $6 { Blocking the c-pawn is simply wrong-headed.} (16... b6 $1 { with ideas like c5 and Ba6 looks more reasonable.}) 17. Rf2 (17. Rf3 $1 Na5 18. Rh3 Nc4 19. Bxc4 dxc4 20. Ng3 Rh8 21. Ne4 $1 Qd5 22. Ng5 $36) 17... Bf8 18. Raf1 Ne7 19. Qf3 Nf5 {White is down a pawn with no obvious plan.} 20. g3 (20. Bxf5 $6 exf5 $1 $15 (20... Rxf5 $2 21. g4 $16)) (20. g4 hxg3 21. Nxg3 Rh4 $15) 20... hxg3 21. hxg3 Rh3 22. Kg2 $4 Nh4+ 23. Kxh3 (23. gxh4 Rxf3) 23... Nxf3 24. Rxf3 f5 $5 {Good timing, since White does not benefit from capturing. Better, though, may have been to try to open up lines on the queenside and activate his forces with} (24... c5 $19) 25. g4 $5 Be7 26. g5 $5 { White creates chances of attack down the h-file.} c5 $6 {Finally! But maybe the right plan at the wrong time. Black's queenside play may actually distract him from necessary defense, since now White develops a very strong kingside attack.} ({ Close analysis suggests that it was necessary for Black to play} 26... Qg8 $1 { and build up a kingside defense.}) 27. Kg2 Qa5 28. Rh3 Kf7 29. Rh8 $1 { Tying up Black's queenside forces.} c4 30. Rfh1 $1 Bf8 $8 { All other moves allow mate!} 31. R1h7+ Ke8 $2 { It's never good to walk into a pin.} ({Better} 31... Bg7 $1 32. Bb1 b5 33. Bd2 Bb7 {allows Black to extricate himself. Now he gets in trouble.}) 32. Bb1 Qb6 ({No better was} 32... Bd7 33. Bc1 $1 (33. Rxf8+ $5 Kxf8 34. Rxd7 $13 ({or} 34. Rh8+ Kg7 35. Rxa8 Ba4 $1 $13)) 33... Rc8 (33... Rd8 34. Rg7 $1) 34. Rg7 Qa4 35. Rxg6 $40 {and the passed g-pawn gives White a winning edge.}) 33. Bc2 ({Better } 33. Bc1 $3 {Anyway.} Qa5 (33... Qxb1 $4 34. Ba3 { and Black cannot prevent mate.}) 34. Rg7 $1 Bd7 35. Rxg6 $1 Kf7 36. Rgg8 Bg7 37. Rxa8 Bxh8 38. Rxh8 $18) 33... Bd7 34. Bc1 $3 (34. Rxf8+ $5 Kxf8 35. Rh8+ Ke7 36. Rxa8 $14) 34... Qa5 35. a4 $3 { Forcing the Bishop to a3 to take maximum advantage of the back-rank pin.} Kd8 { Desperation, but there was no hope in} (35... Rc8 36. Ba3 $18) 36. Rxf8+ Be8 37. Ba3 $18 {Mike played so brilliantly once he lost his queen that you would almost think he sacrificed it!} 1-0

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Club Tournament Director

My tournament director package came this weekend, and I am now an official Club TD. That means I can run tournaments of under 50 participants or assist with other events. When I sent in my application, I had assumed I'd have to take and submit a test before becoming official, but they seem to have done away with that requirement for the entry-level TD.

I hope other people from the club will take the same easy step to become TDs, which will make it easier for us to run rated events without putting all the burden on the few TD members. The application form is available online at:

Download it, fill it in, and then send it to the NEW USCF address (and not the one printed on it -- though if you make that mistake it should get there eventually):

US Chess
RE: Tournament Director Application
PO Box 3967
Crossville, TN 38557

For more information about being a TD, check out the TDs area of the USCF website.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

My Grandfather at Lake Hopatcong in the 1920s

Several people have asked me what makes me so interested in the Lake Hopatcong chess tournaments of 1923 and 1926. To me it seems rather natural. I live in New Jersey and I'm interested in chess history, and they are arguably the two most important historic tournaments that took place in New Jersey. But then it occurred to me that Lake Hopatcong has always been rather special to me because my family used to vacation there or at nearby Cedar Lake (where some of my relatives still live). In fact, my grandfather definitely vacationed at Lake Hopatcong in the 1920s, possibly during the 1926 event.

I had always heard that he made a record swim across the length of the lake (the largest in the state) in the 20s. My sister, our family record keeper, gave me the following clippings about that from my grandfather's old scrap book. They are undated with no citation information, but evidence suggests they were printed in 1927.

The first article likely came from a newspaper local to Lake Hopatcong, while the second was probably copied from the first and printed in a Union paper. The text of the two reads as follows:

Union Boy Makes Record Swim

Edward Goeller of Union Township, sixteen years of age, accomplished a feat last Thursday which will go down in history, when he swam from Bear Pond Landing to Landing, a distance of ten miles. The time was three hours and 33 minutes. Ed. didn't change his trudgeon stroke and double kick during this time. He is the second one to be congratulated this summer for a record swim. Ed. did not grease himself before the attempt and this in itself was unusual. He was not tired when he pulled himself out of the water, but he was only hungry. He was accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. J.H. Denninger in their speed boat the Triton II. Ed. has been their guest all summer.

Union Folks at Lake Hopatcong

Ed. Goeller of Chestnut street is visiting Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Denninger of Caldwell Place at Mae Belle cottage on the west shore of Lake Hopatcong. Ed. performed a remarkable feat last Thursday in swimming from Bear Pond dock to Landing, a distance of about twelve miles, in three hours and thirty-three minutes time. He did this without changing his double trudgeon stroke during the entire distance which is extraordinary. Mrs. Denninger and a gallery accompanied him with the Triton II.

My grandfather was born March 18, 1911, so he would have been 16-years-old in 1927 (a year after the Lake Hopatcong 1926 tournament). It's possible that he visited Lake Hopatcong in 1926 as well, but I have no evidence of it. His name was actually Edwin A. Goeller, but he was generally called "Ed," "Eddie" or "Buddy." He was the son of Richard Goeller, a plumber and engineer, and was quite athletic. He was an excellent swimmer (even in his old age), played football, and participated in amateur boxing (NJ Amateur Heavy-Weight Champion in the 1930s). Here is a photo of him, likely at Cedar Lake, when he was just 14. On the back of the photo it says "Ed, the champion swimmer, after a three mile swim, August 25, 1925."

Another photo shows Mr. Denninger and my grandfather (right lower) supporting two friends on water sleds, likely being towed behind the Triton II.

The names and the date 1928 are written on the back. According to my father, Mr. Denninger was a school teacher and family friend who later had a beautiful home in Denville, New Jersey, where he raised trout and earthworms as a side-line. He was apparently living in Union, though, at the time of the 1927 swim and had a cottage at Lake Hopatcong, which was (and likely still is) one of the only lakes in New Jersey where you could use a motor boat.

Researching the history of the Lake Hopatcong events is likely a masked way of exploring my own history. And it has led me to take a closer look at my family history than I think I have ever done.

An Opening Novelty from 1923

I think all players can get a lot out of historical chess research, not least because it can give you a better grasp of history. But for me there is no greater reward than unearthing a valuable yet forgotten opening novelty from a "lost" game that never was collected in the databases. After all, anyone can see the value of a historical game when its opening is still relevant today, since you can yourself then use that "old" knowledge to surprise your next opponent. As someone once wrote, "Old but forgotten is as good as new." The game Kupchik-Chajes, Lake Hopatcong 1923, could have been played today, and I would not be surprised if its opening gets repeated by a master or grandmaster within the next year.

The Austrian-born Oscar Chajes (1873-1928) tries out a novel method of handling a still-familiar position from the Sicilian Defense, by transposition, with 8....h5!? His fascinating attacking idea has not been repeated in master practice, yet it not only appears sound but is reminiscent of ideas discussed by John Watson as typical of "modern chess strategy," where seemingly premature advances on the wing can work in specific positions. The advance should work here, I think, because White's pieces have abandoned the kingside, and therefore left the king with few defenders. Black's pieces, meanwhile, are well poised for attack on that wing. That Chajes loses this game has less to do with the opening than the superior play of his opponent, Abraham Kupchik, who went on to tie Marshall in the 1923 event.

(To play over the following PGN file, you can copy it to the clipboard, open your favorite PGN viewer--such as Fritz, and then use Edit>Paste Game to load it).

[Event "9th American Chess Congress"]
[Site "Lake Hopatcong, NJ USA"]
[Date "1923.08.22"]
[Round "12"]
[White "Kupchik, Abraham"]
[Black "Chajes, Oscar"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B44"]
[Annotator "Goeller,Michael"]
[PlyCount "57"]
[TimeControl "40/150"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. c4 c5 4. Nc3 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nc6 6. e4 Bb4 7. Nxc6 bxc6 {We now have a Sicilian Defense.} 8. Bd3 h5 $5 $146 {This is a novelty that does not appear to have been repeated in master play. At the time, the most common moves were} (8... d5) ({or} 8... Bxc3+ 9. bxc3 d5) ({ Today most commonly seen in this position is} 8... e5 {. Chajes's innovative 8....h5!? appears at first doubtful and reminiscent of his overly aggressive kingside advances against Marshall in the same tournament. But further analysis suggests that it is difficult for White to prove it incorrect if Black continues in this aggressive fashion.}) 9. O-O {Castling into Black's attack is risky, as the course of the game demonstrates. White probably must look for a better counter here.} ({I could find only one other game in the databases featuring Black's aggressive move. That game continued:} 9. Qa4 $5 Bc5 $6 ({This is obviously bad since it allows White to gain a dark-square bind. Perhaps Black can improve by} 9... Bd6 $5 10. f4 e5) ({or} 9... Bxc3+ 10. bxc3 Ng4 11. Ba3 Qh4 $5) 10. h3 Rb8 $2 { Obviously Black had no idea what he was doing.} 11. e5 $1 $16 Ng8 12. Ne4 Bb4+ 13. Kf1 (13. Bd2 $1 Bxd2+ 14. Kxd2 $3 { eliminating Black's dark-squared Bishop is even stronger.}) 13... a5 $6 14. c5 $1 $18 {White's dream position for dark-square domination.} f5 15. Nd6+ Kf8 16. Be3 f4 17. Bd4 Qh4 18. a3 f3 19. Be3 {1-0 Dunn-Ady 1985}) ({ Perhaps White should investigate the natural} 9. Bf4 {and if} Ng4 $5 10. f3 ( 10. h3 Qf6 11. hxg4 $5 (11. Qd2 Ne5 $11) 11... Qxf4 12. gxh5 {is an idea}) 10... Qf6 11. Qd2 Ne5 12. Be2 {with some edge for White.}) 9... Ng4 $5 10. Qf3 {White must play carefully to drive back Black's apparently premature aggression on the kingside.} ({It was easy to give Black good play by} 10. h3 $6 Ne5 11. Bf4 Qf6 12. Ne2 g5 $1 $40) ({or} 10. Bf4 Qf6 11. Bc7 Bc5 $36) 10... g5 $5 {Black continues with his seemingly premature attacking plan.} ({ White likely expected} 10... Ne5 11. Qg3 $1 Nxd3 12. Qxd3 $14 { with excellent play against Black's dark squares.} (12. Qxg7 $2 { is too doubtful})) ({Safest perhaps was} 10... d6 11. Qg3 e5 $1 $13 {though it's not clear if this represents an improvement on the more standard 8...e5.}) 11. Qg3 $1 d5 12. e5 $6 ({White could simplify things by exchanging with} 12. exd5 cxd5 13. cxd5 Bd6 14. Bb5+ Kf8 15. Bxg5 $5 Bxg3 16. Bxd8 Bxh2+ 17. Kh1 Bb7 18. Bh4 exd5 19. Rad1 $14 {when Black's pawns and pieces are in disarray.}) 12... f5 $5 13. exf6 Bd6 14. f7+ $5 ({Not} 14. Bg6+ $6 Kd7 $1 15. Qd3 Ba6 $1 $36) ({White could play immediately} 14. f4 $5 { but perhaps he feared the complications of} O-O $3 (14... Qxf6 15. h3 (15. cxd5 $6 O-O $1 $36) 15... gxf4 16. Bxf4 e5 17. Bxe5 Bxe5 18. Rxf6 Bxg3 19. hxg4 $14) 15. h3 gxf4 16. Bxf4 $1 e5 $1 17. Bh6 Rxf6 $13) 14... Kd7 $2 { Too aggressive. Black should accept equality with} (14... Kf8 $1 15. Bxg5 $1 Bxg3 16. Bxd8 Bxh2+ 17. Kh1 Kxf7 $11) 15. f4 $1 { Now this move gains in strength.} Bb7 $5 {A brave move, preparing to direct his Bishops toward the kingside along the aligned attacking diagonals once the center opens up. White's task is still complicated.} ({If instead} 15... gxf4 16. Bxf4 e5 17. Bf5+ Kc7 18. Bd2 $1 Bxf5 19. Rxf5 $16 { the simplification would highlight White's advantage.}) 16. cxd5 cxd5 $5 17. Qf3 Qc7 ({Perhaps a better try is} 17... Qf6 $1 18. h3 gxf4 (18... Qxf7 $5) 19. Bxf4 (19. hxg4 $2 hxg4 $1 $40) 19... Bxf4 20. Qxf4 Qxf4 21. Rxf4 Ne5 22. Bb5+ Ke7 23. Raf1 $13 { and it is unclear whether White can successfully maintain the advanced f-pawn.} ) 18. Kh1 d4 19. Ne4 Raf8 20. Bb5+ (20. f5 $1) 20... Kd8 21. Qe2 Bxe4 22. Qxe4 gxf4 23. Qxe6 Rxf7 24. Bd2 Re7 25. Qd5 Re5 {After a game of such intense complications, it is not surprising that the remaining moves seem to have been played under increasingly extreme time pressure. In any event, White should win.} 26. Qa8+ $2 (26. Qxd4 $1 $18 Rxb5 $2 27. Qxh8+ $18) 26... Ke7 $4 (26... Qb8 $1 27. Qxb8+ Bxb8 28. Bd3 Rd5 29. Bxf4 Bxf4 30. Rxf4 Ne3 31. g3 $14) 27. Qxh8 Rxb5 28. Rae1+ Kd7 29. Qe8# {As Helms wrote in his column of this game: "The victory gained by Kupchik over Chajes...was a point well earned by the former state champion."} 1-0

I think it's worth reflecting on the pleasure to be derived from a historical game such as the one above. When going over an old score and confronting in your mind the same problems faced by those two masters from long ago, we can feel that history still lives and breathes in us. To paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson (from his essay "History"), "What Frank James Marshall has thought, we may think; what Capablanca has felt, we may feel." Emerson writes: "All inquiry into antiquity, -- all curiosity respecting the Pyramids, the excavated cities, Stonehenge, the Ohio Circles, Mexico, Memphis, -- is the desire to do away this wild, savage, and preposterous There or Then, and introduce in its place the Here and the Now. Belzoni digs and measures in the mummy-pits and pyramids of Thebes, until he can see the end of the difference between the monstrous work and himself. When he has satisfied himself, in general and in detail, that it was made by such a person as he, so armed and so motived, and to ends to which he himself should also have worked, the problem is solved; his thought lives along the whole line of temples and sphinxes and catacombs, passes through them all with satisfaction, and they live again to the mind, or are now."

There are few historical artifacts as powerful as a game score in turning "there and then" into "here and now." An archaeologist such as Belzoni can look at and handle bricks from an old city, but he cannot bring them back to life in the same way that a player recreating an old game on his chess board can. After all, that player literally makes the pieces move around the board exactly as they moved once before. It is like a ritual conjuring with spirits of the dead.

Below is a second game by the New York master Chajes, who obviously played with fighting spirit against the great players of his time. Here he loses to U.S. Champion Frank James Marshall, whose positional understanding was just much deeper than his own. In playing over this game, we have a chance to own that understanding ourselves.

[Event "9th American Chess Congress"]
[Site "Lake Hopatcong"]
[Date "1923.08.12"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Frank Marshall"]
[Black "Oscar Chajes"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A53"]
[PlyCount "77"]
[TimeControl "40/150"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d6 3. b3 g6 {This opening was a rather unusual choice for Marshall, the late Romantic. But he had begun experimenting with more hypermodern modes of development around this time, recognizing how they allowed him to positionally outplay his opponent before the pieces had even really come to grips with each other.} 4. Bb2 Bg7 5. Nbd2 Bf5 { Not a good square for the Bishop long-term.} 6. h3 h5 $6 { Too weakening long-term.} 7. e3 c6 8. Bc4 $5 { Inviting ...d5 so that White can dominate the dark squares.} Qa5 9. a3 d5 10. Bd3 Ne4 11. b4 Qd8 12. Bxe4 Bxe4 13. Nxe4 dxe4 14. Nd2 f5 { Still another positional concession, loosening his kingside.} 15. f3 e5 16. O-O exf3 $6 {This helps White get his Queen onto the kingside where Black's advanced pawns present many targets of attack.} ({Better} 16... exd4 17. Nb3 O-O 18. Bxd4 $14 {though White is still much better positionally.}) 17. Qxf3 exd4 $2 { Opening too many lines in the center when his King cannot escape attack.} ({ Necessary was} 17... O-O {even though he will still have to suffer an attack.}) 18. Qg3 $1 $40 ({Black's King is so exposed by his advanced pawns that he actually must be careful even if White mistakenly plays} 18. exd4 $2 Bxd4+ 19. Bxd4 Qxd4+ 20. Kh1 $5 O-O (20... Qxd2 $2 21. Qg3 $1 $40) 21. Qg3 Qg7 $13) 18... Rh6 {A terrible place for the Rook.} 19. Nf3 {With Black's King stuck in the center and lines opening up in the center of the board, White's attack develops naturally. Also possible were} (19. Nc4 $5) ({or} 19. Rae1 $5) 19... Bf6 $6 20. exd4 Nd7 21. Bc1 $1 { Notice how the weakened dark squares figure prominently in Black's destruction. } ({The natural} 21. Rae1+ Kf7 22. Bc1 h4 $1 { gives the hapless Rook at h6 more freedom to escape the Bishop's attack.}) 21... g5 (21... h4 $2 22. Qe1+ $1 $18) 22. Bxg5 Rg6 23. h4 Kf7 24. Qf4 Kg7 { Black is lost positionally and is now down material.} 25. Qxf5 Qe7 26. Rae1 Qd6 27. Bxf6+ Nxf6 28. Qe5 $1 {Marshall, a consummate endgame player, always sought simplification once he was up material, especially as a way of mitigating time pressure.} ({Faster, but much more complicated, was to continue the attack with} 28. Ne5 Qxd4+ 29. Rf2 $1 Rh6 30. Qg5+ Kh7 31. Nxc6 $3 $40) 28... Qxe5 29. dxe5 Ng4 30. Ng5 Re8 31. Rf7+ Kg8 32. Rxb7 Nxe5 33. Kh1 a6 34. Nf3 Rge6 35. Rxe5 Rxe5 36. Nxe5 Rxe5 37. Rc7 Re3 38. Rxc6 Rxa3 39. Rc5 {There is no hope for Black who is two pawns down and likely to lose another. He resigns as Marshall is about to make the 40 move time control.} 1-0

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Newspaper Article about the Kenilworth Club

The Newark Star Ledger ran an article yesterday (Friday) in the Union County section of the paper about our club: "33-year-old Chess Club Is All About Strategy," by Jason Jett. It is good publicity, especially since it presents us as welcoming to new members and willing to teach beginners the game.

As the article mentions, we actually only have three members from Kenilworth itself, and unless we can build a young and local membership we really cannot continue to grow or even survive into the future. Steve and Scott spoke last time about doing more instructional sessions and I think that would help to encourage younger members when they do attend. But we need to do more to get the word out about the club for the more general audience. The Star Ledger article is a great first step. Having our club website linked off of the Kenilworth township site is also a help. But I think, ultimately, we will have to get into the schools if we are to build up a young generation of members.

Maybe we should develop a scholastic chess strategy for the Kenilworth schools starting this Fall? Now is the time to plan.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Kimiec-Kernighan, KCC v West Orange Match

Position after 47...gxh5
White to Play and Win? (I think -- but he missed it)

The Match between the Kenilworth Chess Club and West Orange Chess Club went very well and we look forward to hosting them in September. We lost the match 4-5, but it was close on every board with some very interesting fighting games. One of the most tense was that played between our Mr. Houdini, Mark Kernighan, and Richard Kimiec on board two. It was a very tight game throughout. For one of the first times in recent memory, Mark emerged from the opening with the slightly better game. But the middlegame and endgame struggle went back and forth. As usual for Mark, it came down to the final seconds of the time control and he won on time.
Playing over the game, I thought the most interesting moment was the one diagrammed above. Is it White to play and win? I'm not certain on review--it is more complicated maybe than I thought when I looked at it last night with Fritz (see PGN below). If it is a win, it's lucky for Mark that Mr. Kimiec missed it.
Below is the game in PGN format. To play it over in Fritz, for example, simply copy it to the clipboard and then use Edit->Paste Game.

[Event "Kenilworth CC Team at West Orange CC"]
[Site "West Orange, NJ USA"]
[Date "2005.06.28"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Kimiec, Richard"]
[Black "Kernighan, Mark"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B23"]
[WhiteElo "2147"]
[BlackElo "2213"]
[Annotator "Goeller,Michael"]
[PlyCount "108"]
[TimeControl "G60"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. Nge2 Nf6 4. g3 d5 5. exd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 Nxc3 7. bxc3 Bf5 8. Rb1 Qd7 9. O-O Be6 $6 10. Ba3 Bxa2 11. Rb2 Bd5 12. Bxd5 Qxd5 13. Nf4 Qd7 (13... Qc4 14. Qf3) 14. Bxc5 b6 15. Be3 Rd8 (15... e5 16. Ng2 Bd6 $15) 16. Qe2 g6 $6 (16... e5) 17. Rb5 $5 (17. d4 $14) 17... Bg7 18. Rd5 Qb7 19. Rxd8+ Nxd8 20. Qb5+ (20. Bd4) 20... Qd7 21. Nd5 $6 Qxb5 22. Nc7+ Kd7 23. Nxb5 a6 24. Na7 $2 Kc7 25. Rb1 b5 26. c4 bxc4 27. Rb6 Nb7 (27... a5) 28. Rxa6 Nd6 29. Rc6+ Kd7 30. Rc5 Ra8 31. Nc6 Ra2 $15 32. Nb4 Rb2 33. c3 e5 34. Ra5 Ne4 35. Ra2 $6 Rxa2 36. Nxa2 Bf8 37. Kf1 Kc6 38. f3 Nf6 39. Nc1 Ba3 40. Ne2 Kd5 41. h3 Ne8 42. f4 exf4 $6 43. Nxf4+ $11 Ke4 44. Ke2 Bb2 45. Bc5 Nf6 46. Be7 Nh5 47. Nxh5 gxh5 48. Bg5 $2 (48. Kd1 $1 Kd3 49. h4 $16 { and Black will soon be in zugzwang.}) 48... Ba3 $15 49. Bf4 Be7 $2 (49... h4 $1 $19) 50. Bc7 Bc5 51. Bf4 Be7 52. Bb8 h4 53. Bf4 $2 hxg3 54. Bxg3 f5 $19 { and Black soon won on time in a winning position.} 0-1

"Oh yeah, old Abraham. I played him all the time."

I had a great night at the club and didn't even get to play a game. Steve Stoyko kept us entertained the whole night showing us some of his games, most featuring the King's Indian Attack, with which he beat some powerful players during the 80s. I will be putting together a file and web pages featuring these games as an introduction to the KIA system and will post a few PGN files in this space this weekend.

Steve constantly amazes me with the famous players he not only has met but usually has beaten over the board. He was showing me one game with the KIA and I said that it reminded me of a game I just annotated from the Lake Hopatcong tournaments, where Abraham Kupchik won with a nicely built up kingside attack (rather like what you can get out of the KIA). Steve heard the name and said, "Kupchik? Oh yeah, old Abraham. I used to play him all the time at the Flea House."

I was stunned. "You mean you played Abraham Kupchik? One of the best players in America during the 20s? A guy who regularly played, and sometimes beat or drew with, Capablanca, Marshall, and Alekhine?"

"Yeah. Abraham. I beat him plenty of times at the Flea House. He was old, but you could see that he once had a lot of power."

Playing and discussing chess at a club like Kenilworth, you are often just two or three degrees removed from the historic greats.

BTW and FYI: there is an amusing article online by Sam Sloan titled "One Evening at the Flea House." I had heard this story from others who were there (or perhaps who heard the story from NJ IM Mike Valvo himself) and they say that the man playing 5-minute chess at the Flea House that night was Najdorf. That must have been a glorious chess hangout in its day.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Kupchik-Sournin, Lake Hopatcong 1923

Kupchik-Sournin, Lake Hopatcong 1923
White to play and win after 28... Rh8.

I am slowly working my way through the game scores from the two Lake Hopatcong tournaments in 1923 and 1926. The games I have recovered from Herman Helms's Brooklyn Eagle chess columns are especially difficult at times, since I am not only dealing with bad printing (a bad xerox of a sometimes bad microfilm) but incorrect copy using sometimes faulty English descriptive notation. I am not sure I want to tell you how many times I have to retrace my steps while working through one of the game scores offered by Helms. The Kupchik-Sournin game that follows is no exception, featuring such faulty moves as "B-3" (for "B-K2" or "Be7" I discovered) or "R-Q4" when it should be "K-Q4" (meaning "Kd5" in algebraic). And in one sequence, I could not distinguish from the microfilm copy whether the score read P-R3 followed by B-R2 or P-B3 followed by B-B2 and ended up down the wrong path quite a distance before discovering the mistake.

But when I saw Abraham Kupchik's nice winning combination in this game, I thought it was well worth it. After all, it is a shame that not more of Kupchik's games have made it into the record or into the databases. And it would be a pity not to have this pretty win against the Russian emigre Sournin from the 1923 tournament. The critical moment is given at the top of this post for you to puzzle over. And here is the game score with my notes (which you will have to play through if you can't find the solution):

[Event "9th American Chess Congress"]
[Site "Lake Hopatcong, NJ USA"]
[Date "1923.08.11"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Kupchik, Abraham"]
[Black "Sournin, Vladimir"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C48"]
[Annotator "Goeller,Michael"]
[PlyCount "101"]
[TimeControl "40/150"]

{Kupchik organizes a deadly kingside attack in this game after slow maneuvers. And, as Helms writes in his Brooklyn Eagle column, "the combination by means of which Kupchik gained his end was especially spectacular."} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bb5 Nd4 5. Ba4 {This is not the most challenging line against the Rubinstein system.} Nxf3+ 6. Qxf3 Bb4 { This appears later to be a waste of time, since the Bishop soon retreats. Better perhaps} ( 6... c6 7. O-O Be7 8. d3 O-O 9. Bb3 d6 {with a tempo on the game line.}) 7. O-O O-O 8. d3 c6 9. Bg5 ({Better} 9. Qg3 d6 ({Not} 9... Qa5 10. Bb3 Bxc3 11. bxc3 Qxc3 12. Bh6 Ne8 13. Bg5 Qc5 14. Qh4 Nd6 15. Rae1 {with the idea of Re3-Rh3 with a strong attack.}) 10. Bg5 {with a sharpened version of the game line due to the possibility of Qh4, Bb3, Kh1 and f4.}) 9... Be7 ({Better} 9... h6 10. Bh4 (10. Bxf6 Qxf6 11. Qxf6 gxf6 $15 { and the two Bishops are more significant than the doubled pawns.}) (10. Bd2 d5 $15) 10... g5 $5 11. Bg3 d6 12. h3 a5 $1 13. a3 Bc5 $15 { and Black controls whole board.}) 10. Bb3 d6 11. Nd1 a5 12. c3 (12. a4 $11 { keeps the Bishop on the a2-g8 diagonal and limits Black's ambitions in the center. But Kupchik is content to play a slower maneuvering game with Sournin.}) 12... h6 13. Bc1 d5 14. Ne3 a4 15. Bc2 g6 {To keep the Knight out of f5.} 16. h3 {To prevent Bg4 once the Knight moves, but possibly contemplating Ng4!?} ({Not} 16. Nf5 $2 gxf5 17. Bxh6 f4 18. g3 Bg4 $19) 16... Kg7 17. Re1 Be6 18. Nf1 Qc7 19. Ng3 Ng8 20. Qe2 Bd6 21. Be3 f6 22. Rf1 Ne7 23. d4 b5 { This allows White to liquidate favorably in the center. Better} (23... exd4 24. cxd4 dxe4 25. Nxe4 Nd5 {followed by Bf7 and Rfe8 seems a reasonable plan, to play against the isolani long-term. But White would then have a more open position with chances of developing a kingside initiative.}) 24. dxe5 fxe5 25. Rad1 Rf6 26. exd5 Bxd5 $2 {Black seems to have a mistaken notion that his best plan is to try for a kingside attack by doubling Rooks on the f-file and pointing his Bishops in that direction.} ({Better to build a strong center with } 26... cxd5 {and if} 27. Qxb5 $2 d4 $1 $40) 27. Qg4 $1 Be6 (27... Raf8 $4 28. Nh5+ $18) (27... Rff8 28. f4 $5 (28. Qh4) 28... exf4 29. Nh5+ Kh7 30. Nxf4 Bxf4 31. Bxf4 $14) 28. Qh4 $1 { Now it is clear that White has the better kingside attacking prospects.} Rh8 $2 29. Rxd6 $3 Qxd6 30. Qxf6+ Kxf6 31. Ne4+ Kg7 32. Nxd6 $18 {The rest of the game is not of great interest since White is now up a piece. Likely Black played on at first due to a time advantage and then due to his hopes for his advanced pawn at b3. But, after a few slips near the time control, Kupchik slowly strangles all resistance.} Bxa2 33. Re1 Nd5 34. Bc5 Kf6 35. c4 $1 bxc4 36. Bxa4 Nf4 37. Ra1 Bb3 { White now makes some weaker moves before the time control at move 40.} 38. Bxb3 $6 (38. Bxc6 $1 $18 {would make White's task easiest.}) 38... cxb3 39. Ra6 $6 ( {White should pick up the b-pawn before Black tries to make something of it.} 39. Ra3 $5) (39. Ne4+ Ke6 40. Be3 Rb8 41. Nc5+ Kd6 42. Ra3) 39... Ke6 40. Ra3 $6 (40. Ne4 Kd5 41. f3) 40... Ne2+ $6 (40... Kd5 41. Ra5 Nd3 42. Ba3+ c5 43. Nb5 $18 {would disorganize White somewhat.}) 41. Kh2 Nd4 42. Ne4 Rb8 43. f3 Kd5 44. Ra7 Nb5 45. Rd7+ Ke6 46. Re7+ Kd5 47. Bd6 $1 Nxd6 48. Rd7 Kc4 49. Rxd6 Rb6 50. Nd2+ Kc5 51. Rd3 { winning the b-pawn, after which Black has no hope whatsoever.} 1-0

Shopping for Chess Books Online

I am slowly going through our links pages and updating things. I'm currently working on the links for chess shopping at Here are two new ones that will soon be added:

Labate Chess
It appears that Edward Labate has the most extensive stocks of older and out-of-print titles, including most of the inventory of the former Chess Digest site. It would be worth a visit just to review his inventory. offers the most extensive listings of remaindered or overstock wholesale items, including chess books. If you generally buy new mass market titles at bookstores like Barnes & Noble or Borders, you will find this a great place to shop since you'll get what you want for $5-$10 off retail. This appears to be the best place online to buy recent titles that have been printed in large quantities. For example, a websearch on "The Chess Advantage in Black and White" by Larry Kaufman showed that they had the best non-used price available at $12.56 (a $6.39 savings over retail, and $5.39 better than USCF with Member Discount). However, I thought the discounts were not as significant as I had expected and it required a bit of searching through lots of mass-market junk by Eric Schiller to find something you'd want (though their search feature is quite good and could be used just to check pricing and availability on specific items that interest you). If you want to browse, try searching on "chess," or try "chess books" to avoid too many Chess-label classic jazz recordings. Most titles are directed at beginners (the best mass-market audience after all), but there are also highly specialized and older titles, including chess histories and opening books. So there is always the chance of finding buried treasure. The savings over Amazon was not huge, though it was significant and could add up if you are ordering several books. For example, I compared prices on "Rapid Chess Improvement" by Michael De La Maza at Overstock (11.33+1.40 shipping=12.73) and Amazon (11.53 and eligible for free shipping for orders over $25--though my experience with free shipping from Amazon is that it can take forever and a day to arrive). The $.20 savings might be eaten up on shipping differential (though you can save by ordering more than three items using Overstock's flat $2.95 shipping rate). Amazon also offers links to e-tailers who will sell you this particular book used for around $8 plus maybe $2 shipping and handling. I found similar pricing on other interesting items, where Overstock had the best prices for new books but was only beating Amazon by 3% or .20-.50 cents. In many cases, they will even share with you the price differential with Amazon at their site in a little box, so you have to admire them. I do not know how long they take to ship at their discount rate, but I assume it would not take as long as Amazon's free rate. So it looks like a good place to shop, and it comes recommended by Ziggy who says he shops there frequently for chess books.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Devin Camenares Game

Here is a game that our new member Devin Camenares sent me from the Summer Tournament. I look forward to getting back in the action myself on Thursday.

[Event "Kenilworth CC Summer Tournament"]
[Site "Kenilworth, NJ USA"]
[Date "2005.6.30"]
[White "Jose Rodriguez"]
[Black "Devin Camenares"]
[TimeControl "G60"]
[Result "0-1"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 c6 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. Bg5 h6 {This move was recommended in the book "The Chess Advantage in Black and White" as a way to reach an interesting game while avoiding the complexities of 5...dxc4 6.e4 h6} 6. Bh4 g5 7. Bg3 dxc4 8. e4 b5 9. a4 {This move seems to be rare. 9.h4 or 9.a3 could be improvements.} 9... Bb4 {9...b4 10. Na2 Nxe4 11. Qxc4 Nxg3 12. fxg3 c5 seem stronger, but this seems to be a reasonable alternative.} 10. Qc2 Bb7 11. Be2 {Chessmaster suggests 0-0-0 instead, but white's king safety seems suspect to me.} 11... Nbd7 12. O-O a6 13. Rfd1 Qe7 {13...Nh5 may have been better, and I had been considering as a possiblity for the past several moves, but decided to resist a decentralizing move until I ran out of decent alternatives. At this point, White had about 50 minutes left, and Black had about 56 minutes.} 14. Na2 {I thought poorly of 14. Na2, but black's edge is modest, if at all.} 14... c5 15. axb5 Bxe4 {Upon playing this move, I thought I had made a mistake that allows him to regain his pawn with 16.Qxc4, to which Chessmaster gives the interesting line 16...axb5 17. Qc1 c4 18. Nc3 Rxa1 19. Qxa1 O-O 20. Nxe4 Nxe4 21. Bc7 Rc8 22. Qa7 and rates it as equal. However, 17. Qxb5 Ra5 18. Qc4 Bd5 19.Nxb4 Bxc4 20.Nc6 Bxe2 21.Nxe7 is probably better for white. At this point, the times were White: 44 minutes, Black 53 minutes.} 16. Qa4 {This move effectively hands black the game. My opponent spent a fair deal of time before playing it, as the times now stood at White: 35 minutes, Black: 52 minutes} Nb6 17. Qxa6 Rxa6 18. bxa6 O-O 19. Nxb4 cxb4 20. Ne5 Bd5 21. Rdc1 Rc8 22. Nxc4 Bxc4 23. Bxc4 Rxc4 24. Rxc4 Nxc4 25. a7 {At this point, an onlooker seemed to knod in approval of white's move, but I think white is lost here anyway.} 25... Nb6 26. a8=Q+ Nxa8 27. Rxa8+ Kh7 28. Be5 Ng4 {While 28...Qb7 might be slightly better, I saw no problem with the move. An onlooker to the game started to shake his head in apparent disapproval after I moved the knight.} 29. Rh8+ Kg6 30. Rg8+ Kf5 31. f4 Nxe5 {Chessmaster shows a forced mate with 31...Qa7 32. Kf1 Qa1+ 33. Ke2 Qxb2+ 34. Kd1 Ne3+ 35. Ke1 Qa1+ 36. Kf2 Ke4 37. fxg5 Qf1+ 38. Kg3 Qxg2+ 39. Kh4 Qg4#} 32. fxe5 Qd7 33. h3 {This move and the next two seem to accelerate white's problems by giving away 3 pawns with check.} 33... Qxd4+ 34. Kh2 Qxe5+ 35. g3 Qe2+ {35....Qxb2 must have been more accurate.} 36. Kg1 Qxb2 37. Rf8 f6 38. g4+ Ke5 39. Rh8 Qd4+ 40. Kg2 b3 41. Rxh6 b2 {My gamescore runs out at this point, but as one might guess, the game didn't last that much longer for white.} 0-1

Friday, July 01, 2005

Opening Analysis on the Web

It is probably about time to update the Kenilworth Chess Club's links to Chess Openings, which features links to opening analysis on the web. There is so much good opening analysis online that it hardly seems necessary to buy a book every time you want to learn a new line (though you will likely want to buy several books once you decide to learn a specific opening very well).

I think we have by far the most extensive links to opening analysis on the web. As with maintaining any links page, though, it is hard to keep up with new material while also trying to assure that the older links have not gone dead. And there is new stuff coming out every day. Here are a few new ones (or ones new to me) that I'll soon be adding to the opening links page. I have mostly focused on openings that interest me (and other club members) as Black.

Excerpt: Chess Openings for Black, Explained
by Lev Alburt, Roman Dzindzichashvili and Eugene Perelshteyn
An excerpt from Chapter 10 of their book on the Maroczy Bind position arising mainly out of the Accelerated Dragon. The discussion is valuable and the approach is very helpful. As Steve Stoyko discussed (in covering the Isolated Queen Pawn), you should try to study typical middlegame positions as much as you study specific openings. This is a good model for doing just that.

Dragon Forever by IM Andrew Martin (in two parts)
Some excellent analysis of the Dragon, with a focus on the popular Yugoslav following 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3.

The Verdict by Andrew Martin
Features analysis of the sharp Levenfish Variation of the Dragon, where white plays 6.f4.

Anti-Sicilians: The Moscow Variation by GM Joel Benjamin, Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.
Excellent coverage of the popular anti-Sicilian line 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+. Be sure to see all three parts.

Castling on Opposite Sides by Mark Dvoretsky
Some excellent analysis of the super-sharp Austrian Variation of the Pirc, where mutual attacks on opposite-side-castled monarchs are featured.

Something Against the Pirc by IM Andrew Martin
An interesting discussion of the Chinese Attack--1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Be2 Bg7 5.g4!?-- which leads to very sharp play but which can also be played positionally for White as a space-grabbing line.

Opening Lanes #78 by GM Gary Lane
Discusses Seirawan's favorite Bd3 line against the King's Indian Defense.

Call It a Gambit by Tim McGrew
Discusses one of the author's games where he mistakenly, but perhaps correctly, played the gambit line 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.d3 d6 5.Ng5!? Qf6!?!?

Opening Lanes #76 by GM Gary Lane
Discusses the sharp variation of the Exchange Ruy Lopez with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 bxc6 5.O-O Bg4.

Opening Lanes #76 by GM Gary Lane
Discusses the Advanced Variation of the Caro-Kann with 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Be3 which has gained a following among top GMs and which has relatively little theory yet.

A Battle of Opposites by Mark Dvoretsky
Discusses the fascinating Tal-Botvinnik game that began 1.e4 c6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Nf3 Bg4 4.h3 Bxf3 5.gxf3!?!?

More to come...