Blitz in Kalamazoo

I played the following games while visiting with Tim McGrew and his family at their chess club at the Portage Library, just outside Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Michael Goeller - Tim McGrew [C55]

Blitz:5'/Portage, MI (1) 2007

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nc6!

I mentioned to Tim later that I had just picked up Mihail Marin's "Beating the Open Games" and was surprised to find that it came with a supplemental insert to cover the lines he had left out, including the Bishop's Opening. His explanation for that apparent lapse is quite convincing. As he writes: "So how could I forget such an interesting opening? The answer is quite simple: given the structure of our repertoire, 2.Bc4 will most likely transpose elsewhere in the book, be it to the King's Gambit ... or one of the numerous variations of the Italian Game...." Tim had obviously figured this out on his own....


3. Nf3

I used to prefer 3. f4!? when I think best play goes 3... Nf6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. Bd5 Nf6 6. Bxc6 e4! 7. Bxe4 Nxe4 8. O-O Bc5+!? 9. d4 Be7=


3... Nf6

Interestingly, Marin recommends 3... Bc5 with the idea of meeting 4. O-O Nf6 5. d4!? by transposing into the Max Lange with 5... exd4!? 6. e5 d5 7. exf6 dxc4 but he makes only passing reference to what I like to call "The Modern Horowitz Variation"with 8. fxg7!? Rg8 9. Bg5 Be7 10. Bxe7 Kxe7 11. Re1+ Be6 12. Re4 (12. Nbd2 Rxg7 13. Nxc4 Kf8= Zagorovsky) 12... f5 13. Rh4 Kf7 14. Rxh7 Rxg7 15. Rxg7+ Kxg7 16. Qd2! Marin fails to mention this, which is a recommendation of Jude Acers.(not 16. Nbd2?! Qf6 17. Qe2 c3 18. bxc3 dxc3 19. Nb3 as in Fahrni - Tartakower, Baden Baden 1914, when Marin says Black should have played 19... Bd5) (but 16. Na3!? is also interesting.) 16... Qf6 17. Qf4 and I like White's chances due to Black's exposed King.


4. d4 exd4 5. e5 Ne4 6. Qe2

Also played are 6. Bd5!? or 6. O-O!?


6... Nc5 7. O-O

I had trouble remembering the best line here. I had considered 7. c3!? which turns out to be the recommendation in "Chess Openings for White, Explained": 7... dxc3 8. Nxc3 Be7 9. Be3 O-O 10. O-O-O


7... Be7!?

7... Ne6! 8. Bxe6! (8. Rd1 d5! Mikhalchishin) 8... dxe6 9. Rd1 Bc5 10. Nc3 Mikhalchishin, and Nigel Davies has good coverage for Black in his "Play 1.e4 e5!"


8. Rd1 Ne6 9. Bxe6

9. c3!?


9... dxe6 10. c3

10. Be3!?


10... O-O 11. Nxd4 Nxd4 12. Rxd4 Qe8

12... Bd7?? 13. Qd3


13. c4!?

Probably too slow, but the Knight belongs at c3.

13. Bf4


13... Bc5 14. Rh4!? f5 15. exf6 Rxf6 16. Be3 Bxe3 17. Qxe3 Bd7 18. Nc3 Bc6 19. Ne4 Rg6 20. Ng3 Qf8?!

20... e5 21. Re1 Rd8 22. f3


21. Rd1

21. Rg4! Rxg4 22. Qxe6+ Qf7 23. Qxg4


21... Rf6 22. f3 Rd8 23. Rhd4 Rxd4 24. Qxd4 b6 25. Qd8?!

25. Qe5!


25... Qxd8 26. Rxd8+ Rf8 27. Rxf8+ Kxf8



Tim pointed out to his daughter and his chess students, who had gathered around, that this was an interesting and rather balanced ending. Black has the long-term advantage of the Bishop over the Knight with pawns on both sides of the board while White has Black's isolated pawn as a target. It should probably be a draw with best play. I have difficulty reconstructing the rest of the game accurately. Suffice to say that I was outplayed and got into time pressure. I let him swap off the b- and c-pawns to open things up for the Bishop and to create a potential outside passed pawn opportunity. Meanwhile, he was careful to avoid tricky forks from the Knight. When I finally attempted a kingside attack it was too late and my Knight could not find its way to his pawns as fast as he won my a-pawn. And then my time pressure killed me.


Michael Goeller - Bethel McGrew [C55]

Blitz:5'/Portage, MI (3) 2007

Tim's daughter Bethel McGrew (USCF 1637) proved a tough competitor, especially in our second game (see next) where she played a very nice kingside attack. In our first game, however, I sprung an opening line on her that she had never seen before....


1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nc6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. d4 exd4 5. Ng5

Having struggled when faced with 5.e5 Ne4!? against Tim, I figured I'd take us into my patented Perreux...


5... d5 6. exd5 Na5 7. Qxd4

7. Bb5+!?

7. Qe2+!?


7... Nxc4 8. Qxc4 Nxd5?!

Best is 8... Qxd5 9. Qe2+ Be6 10. O-O O-O-O 11. Nc3 Qf5 12. Nxe6 Qxe6 13. Qxe6+ fxe6 14. Bg5 with about equal chances.


9. O-O Be6?!

9... Be7 10. Nc3 Bxg5 11. Nxd5!


10. Nxe6 fxe6 11. Re1

11. Qb5+! Kf7 12. Qxb7


11... Qd7 12. Nc3 O-O-O 13. Bg5 Re8 14. Nxd5! exd5 15. Rxe8+ Qxe8 16. Qxd5

White is up a pawn and should win.


16... Bd6 17. Be3 a6 18. c4 Qg6 19. c5 Be7 20. Rc1 Rd8 21. Qb3 Bg5 22. c6! b5

22... bxc6 23. Bxg5 Qxg5 24. Qe6+ Kb8 25. Qxc6


23. Qa3 Qxc6!?

I frankly overlooked this possibility, but it appears White's next wins.



24. f4! Qe6?!

24... Bh4!? 25. g3!


25. fxg5

and White went on to win against stiff resistance.


[Michael Goeller]

Bethel McGrew - Michael Goeller [C28]

Blitz:5'/Portage, MI (3) 2007

1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d3 Na5 5. Bb3!? c6?!

5... Nxb3 6. axb3 d5! 7. Bg5 Bb4


6. f4! Nxb3 7. axb3 d6?!

Heading toward passivity....


Better 7... exf4!? 8. e5 Qe7 (8... Nd5!? 9. Nxd5 cxd5 10. Bxf4 d6) 9. Qe2 Nd5 10. Nxd5 cxd5


8. Nf3 Qc7 9. O-O Be7

White now demonstrates her mastery of typical kingside attacking patterns.


10. Qe1 O-O 11. fxe5 dxe5 12. Qg3 Nd7?



13. Bh6 Bf6 14. Nh4 Qd8 15. Nf5 g6 16. Bxf8 Kxf8 17. Nh6 1-0

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Copyright © 2007 Michael Goeller