SW Knight's Syndicate, more games!

A few more games I recently played with my SW system I like to call the Knight’s Syndicate.

The games are very mildly annotated since the main ideas are already explained in the first post of this line.

[Event "ICC"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date ""]
[Round "?"]
[White "Phosphorus"]
[Black "MusiqueWand"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A84"]
[Annotator ",USER"]
[PlyCount "50"]
[EventDate "2011.??.??"]
[TimeControl "5400+30"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 c6 4. e3 f5 5. Bd3 Nd7 6. O-O Ndf6!??

(One of the things that this game taught me is that it’s better to keep the Knight on d7 until you bring the other one to f7. that way Ne5 is met by NxN rather than Kxf7 as in this game. It’s certainly not bad for Black but slightly annoying. Better was: 6... Nh6 7. b3 (7. Ne5 Nxe5 8. dxe5 Ng4 9. f4 Bc5 10. Qe2 Qb6 (10... dxc4 11. Bxc4 b5 12. Bd3 Qb6) ) 7... Nf7)

7. b3 Nh6 8. Ne5 Nf7 9. Nxf7 Kxf7 10. f4 Bb4 11. a4 c5 12. Ba3 Qa5 13. Bxb4 Qxb4 14. Nd2 Rd8 15. Nf3 Kg8 16. dxc5 dxc4 17. bxc4 Qxc5 18. Qe2 Bd7 19. Nd4 g6 20. Rab1 Rab8 21. Kh1 e5 22. Nb3 Qc7 23. a5 Re8 24. Qd2 Rbd8 25. c5 Bb5 0-1

[Event "ICC"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2011.01.31"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Giovanna"]
[Black "MusiqueWand"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A84"]
[Annotator ",USER"]
[PlyCount "76"]
[EventDate "2011.??.??"]
[TimeControl "5400+30"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 c6 4. e3 f5 5. Bd3 Nd7 6. O-O Ndf6?!

(Wah?? What’s wrong with me!?? I already know that 6... Nh6 is better! Anyway, better was: 6… Nh6 7. b3 Nf7 )

7. b3 Nh6 8. Bb2 Nf7 9. Nbd2 Be7 10. Qc2 O-O 11. Ne5 Nxe5 12. dxe5 Ne4?!!

( I had three choices and I believe I chose the worst!!

12... Nd7! 13. f4 Nc5 14. Be2 Bd7 15. a4 a5)


12... Ng4!? 13. h3 Nh6 14. Nf3 Nf7)

13. Nf3 c5 14. Rad1 Qe8 15. Ne1 dxc4 16. Qxc4 Rb8 17. Bxe4 b5 18. Qc2 fxe4 19. Qxe4
Qh5 20. Qc2 Bb7 21. Rd7 Qe8 22. Rd2 Rd8 23. f3 Qc6?!

(Better was: 23... Rxd2 24. Qxd2 Qc6 25. Nd3 Rd8)

24. Nd3 Qb6 25. Nf4??

(Losing! He should of played: 25. Nf2 Rxd2 26. Qxd2 Rd8 27. Qc3 a5)

25... c4 26. Rxd8 Qxe3+ 27. Kh1???

(27. Qf2 Qxf2+ 28. Rxf2 Rxd8 29. Nxe6 Rd3)

27... Rxd8 28. Nxe6 Rd2 29. Qc3 Qe2

(29... Qf2 30. Rg1 Bb4 31. Qc1 Bxf3)

30. Rg1 b4 31. Qc1 Bxf3 32. Nf4 Bxg2+ 33. Nxg2 Bc5 34. e6 Bxg1 35. Qxg1 Rd1 36. e7 Rxg1+ 37. Kxg1 Kf7 38. Bc1 Qd1+ 0-1

As usual you can find these games on my ICC library, games number 39 and 45


I published a review on Silman's new How to Reassess Your Chess 4th, at Amazon.

"What my review is about: 

This will not be a match review, where I will attempt to scientifically compare the different editions. I don't really find it relevant if I'll be honest. 
I will not make claims like: "This is the best book ever", because what does that really entail? 

This review is a personal feedback from someone who is not a proper amateur, someone who read numerous chess books and someone who enjoys chess reading too. 

I have a few favorite chess books and none of them is considered to be on the top classical list. The reason for that is that I believe that the books that influenced you the most and affected your play did so, partly, because the timing was ripe! Sometimes it's not about the absolute soundness of the variation, sometimes it's about whether or not you appreciate the idea and understand the examples. 

For instance, one of my favorites is "Winning with chess psychology" by Benko. Not a book most players even appreciate! However, Benko's explanations made me understand chess better and in return, I grew as a player. This is where Silman truly shines in style. 

His language has been both criticized and praised, and I understand both claims. I found his "bad language" to be overly present at his Complete Endgame course but on the other hand, it does keep you fixed and soaks you into his examples. In this new Reassess, he seemed to evolve even in that area. His minor case of "Tourette" seemed to gain wisdom and intelligence. His humor is fantastic, I find myself giggling aloud and that makes the experience even more enjoyable and certainly more educating. 

He is extremely creative, his "story" about Mr. Metallic and Mr.Pink VS. Mr. Orange was a blast to read. I found it both comic, educating and if I may say so poetic and deep. 
His teaching methods are brilliant. His examples are probably the diamond of the King of Persia! I have never seen such a collection of perfect examples in my life. If you are looking for a position to prove a point. Mate, read this book and see how it is being done! 
The subjects themselves are, as Nigel Short say "spot on". This is exactly what you need to hear in order to understand what you couldn't quite place throughout years of confusion. After all, as Korchnoi once said: "Chess you don't learn, chess you understand". Let me just add a "!!!" to that remark! 

This is basically the best soup you will ever get to eat in a French restaurant! What? Okay let me explain myself... 

Have you ever read a book and felt that it missed you? I mean, the examples are there right? The author is a GM right? This is the opening that you like right? Then what on earth is the problem?? Why, after reading the same chapter repeatedly you still don't have the faintest notion as to what the flying blue bird he wanted? 

I'll tell you why. Because the truth is that quality is hard to find. If the examples are good but the annotation is lacking then in the end you'll end up feeling like you've missed something (and you have!!) but you can't quite place it right? 
Alternatively, if the annotation was accurate and deep but the example wasn't very practical, then you can't help but wondering - that was interesting, hmmm, but what am I supposed to do with it? 
Sometimes, the author is really good but his publisher doesn't allow him the length or space to fully and poetically express his knowledge. That's always sad and even leaves you with some annoyance. 
Sometimes (no, I take it back. Most times!!) a book is really good but let's face it, the human design and over all print quality - Yawza! 

For instance, I love John Watson. I find him to be impressively deep and thorough but his books (and I have most) are a mess of knowledge. I find it very hard to follow the lines that more or less look like computer generated code with the occasional "bold" move to keep you on target - as if! Quality books should take care of their readers like first class tickets on a plane! A good example to how it is being done is the GrandMaster Repertoire publication. Avrukh's 1.d4 is the best opening rep I've seen if only because you can follow the lines at ease and comfort! 

Bookbinding is also important. Who wants to spend so much money and lose pages after one brief read? I mean, what is that !?! 

How about general design, color and colours and diagrams and notes and hints and tips and so on? Dunno what about you but I like them pop ups! 

To make it short, this book triumphs in all these areas! ( I wish I could underline this line) 
It is funny, educational, well designed, well presented, user friendly, scientific, tutoring, detailed and a real fun all in all. It's like the best friend I ever had =D 

What you'll learn in these pages is more than specific (and vague) "expertise" that only the very "special" among us seem to possess in real life. What you'll learn is how to play chess and that is something very rare these days. What?? Yes! I am serious! 
People do not play chess, they play sub lines, they play memorization, they play other people's ideas, they "push wood", they play tricks and traps and oh, I'll just say it, they play Blitz! 
No one plays chess like chess should be played. You know Perosian style of chess. 
Anyway, here you will learn independence! This is the point for me. He covers areas like what Knights are so well that once you're through with the chapter you've been recharged by independent thinking because suddenly you don't care so much about the latest Carlsen game because you know what... you understand Knight techniques by yourself thank you very much! 

Once you understand chess, you seem to play it better too. Ahh, wah? Yes! I know, almost heretic isn't it? You mean to tell me that understanding imbalances and knowing how to maneuver my pieces will improve my play for real? No, what I'm saying is much more brutal then that. Before you read this book, you played other people's chess. After you will read this book, you'll play chess as chess is and if you're lucky you'll even play your chess too! 

IM Lakdawala said (and he was already an IM at that point) that he gained about 200 elo points after reading this book because he realized that it's not just about the best move it's also about a firm grip of what this move is. Sometimes it's not about the best move, sometimes it's about the best plan and how well you understand your chess. 

I sometimes use his examples in my Blog ([...]) to prove or show an idea. 
I think that Silman has a true genius and I always enjoyed listening to him as well. The guy is crazy =D 

BTW, the reason I said I'm not a proper amateur is because I'm over 2200 and for what it's worth this is the best chess book I ever read and I read well over a hundred. 

It's not just about the latest variation (because you need to understand that variation too) 
It's not just about the latest trap or opening idea (because you need to be able to appreciate it too) 
It's not just about technical study (because you need to enjoy it too!!!) 

So do yourself a favor, read this book. It's a beauty, a true gem. Really, a masterpiece. 

Well done J, indeed, well done!"

 Here's a direct link to the review

Chess9030, Quad Tournament. Round 2

Yes, right, okay so I LOST!

The reason I don’t annotate this game with my usual arrow-madness is not because the game isn’t interesting but because I believe the White side suffered fundamental problems that came straight from the very opening so I’m currently looking for other lines without h3 and without Re1 and preferably a different overall plan altogether.
Still for the sake of completion, I’ll post it here.

HOWEVER, I offered Uwak a private 1-on-1 math of 9030 and he agreed so expect to see these games published here as well!! That should be interesting.

[Event "ICC"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2011.01.22"]
[White "MusiqueWand"]
[Black "Uwak"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2362"]
[BlackElo "2324"]
[ECO "E69"]
[Opening "King's Indian"]
[Variation "Fianchetto, classical main line"]
[TimeControl "5400+30"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 O-O 5. Nc3 d6 6. Nf3 Nbd7 7. O-O e5 8. e4 c6 9. h3 Qb6 10. Re1 exd4 11. Nxd4 Re8 12. Re2 Qa5 13. Bd2 Nh5 14. Nf3 Ne5 15. Nxe5 dxe5 16. Nd5 Qd8 17. Ne3 Be6 18. Bb4 Qxd1+ 19. Rxd1 Rad8 20. Ree1 Bf8 21. Bxf8 Kxf8 22. b3 Ng7 23. c5 Rd4 24. Nc2 Rd7 25. Rxd7 Bxd7 26. Rd1 Ke7 27. Ne3 Rd8 28. Nc4 f6 29. b4 Ne6 30. Rf1 Nd4 31. f4 Be6 32. Nd6 b6 33. f5 Bg8 34. g4 g5 0-1



A new Problem(s) page!

I added a new page with chess problems.
Some of which are my own creation while others I simply gathered or edited.


* Soon I'll add a Tactics/Mates Page.

Chess9030, Quad Tournament. Round 1


ElCreyente VS. MusiqueWand,

Classical French, Steinitz / Modern variation.

Prior to our game, I studied my opponent a bit so I knew what variation he’ll play.
We went into the most complicated variation where theory has not yet established a firm grasp of what each side should do. Many players have suggested ideas in that line, including Anand, Shirov, Polgar, Morozevich and others. In this game I didn’t play any of these modern ideas. Instead I tried to stick to Old theory, simple strategy and thematic French play.

Just a few hours after this game MikeA and Uwak had their own 9030 game and that too was a French defence. Both games were very well played, exiting and interesting.

[Event "ICC"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2011.01.15"]
[White "ElCreyente"]
[Black "MusiqueWand"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2221"]
[BlackElo "2341"]
[ECO "C11"]
[Opening "French"]
[Variation "Steinitz variation"]
[TimeControl "5400+30"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. Nce2 c5 6. c3 Nc6 7. f4 Qb6 8. Nf3 f6 


9. a3 

( Another line is 9.g3 and I think it’s slightly better but that’s a personal opinion. )

9… Be7 10. h4 O-O 11. Rh3 

( This is where theory has been debating for a while. As mentioned above many players have different ideas here. One thing is certain, if Black does not know this line it may end badly and swiftly for him but if he shows resilient defence he may even come on top. As you will see this game demonstrates some of the problems White faces in this line. Especially with his poor and if I may say, even stupid development. NOTE - when I say "stupid" It's not an insult to my opponent of course. It's just a way to describe the lack of play and deficient posts of White's pieces in this line. It's very "potent" and may become outrageously dangerous but sometimes, as seen in this game it is no more dangerous than any other cheapo! )


11… a5 

( There are many moves to suggest here, this one is well tested though. Black holds the Queen side at bay while preparing to redeploy his pieces to a more brutal construction. After all, centre demolition is what the French is about. )

12. b3 Qc7! 


13. Neg1

( This is the hallmark of this variation. Personally, I haven’t decided yet. It’s hard for me to say if this move is well calculated, well analyzed and deep indeed or simply a stupid move that wastes time. I honestly don’t know yet. It may be the case that in the future this line will force Black to consider other alternatives or that White’s entire plan with Rh3 and this move will be forgotten and briefly mentioned as a dubious cheapo. )

13… fxe5! 

( I chose not to participate with the current debate. Anand favors …b6 and you can read some other ideas in Watson’s book or in Gulko’s book. I just find this to be thematic. Black will get the f-file and a massive centre. classical thematic French plan. )

14. fxe5 Ndxe5! 

15. dxe5 Nxe5

( Aside from getting these two beautifully placed centre pawns. Black has numerous tactical lines here. Of course we can see that Black has f-file pressure all the way down to the f2 square. The possibilities of e6-e5-e4 are so strong, both positionally but it also frees the LSB to attack the Rook and the Queen pointing straight onto the g3 square. As you will see Black can even improve on that! NOTE - this Nx-centre is very thematic in the French. ) 


16. Nxe5? 
( This move was a crucial error. It strikes me as an uneducated move as well. How do you think that MusiqueWand?? Where shall I start… for start it’s optimistic. White “thinks” that this will allow him A) to bring his g1 Knight into play and B) to trade Queens, which he “believes” will help him simplify the game. This is an uneducated perception. A strategic misconception that if not understood will cost you many games where you find yourself in material imbalance. In fact White should grave the up coming endgame. It is well known that the value of material is not an exiom. A Knight, by itself is worth roughly 3 points, that is correct but at the start of the game when nothing has been played the Knight’s value is closer to 5 pawns! As the game progresses the minor pieces can improve their value via positional posts or decrease it by time and material loss. In the endgame a minor piece can be (and often is) worth less than one single pawn. This is not merely the pawn’s ability to stride across the board and become elevated to a Queen, which in itself has a greater value than a Knight. This is true but the pawn in itself is very often too far for the Knight to attack or by “just being there” maintains certain play that allows the opponent maneuvering capabilities that saves the game. Any piece in itself has “existing” value of 1 to 2 points. This is why we need to remember that chess is not about the material that left the board but rather the material that stays on it. In this case we’re not talking about 1 pawn we’re talking about 2 connected central pawns!! Such a plus is surly better than any minor piece including a Rook. And all that is without taking into account the the dynamics and game-control that Black will have by owning the centre. what else is there?? okay, well the reason I found this idea optimistic is because after Black recaptures …Qxe5 and White plays his optimistic and uneducated Qe2 we find that there are several things to consider and they are all bad for White. A) His f1 Bishop and g1 Knight, for lack of other words are stupid pieces to have. Moreover, the Queen on e2 is not really best placed. Black can and should decline this offer of trade. Why help him?? As you will see Black refuses to help White in the next few moves and maintains full game control. )

16… Qxe5+ 17. Qe2 

( Silly pieces mark silly plans. NOTE - again, this is not meant to be directed towards my opponent. Not at all, this is a remark about the variation and its minuses. Besides, how else can we truly call such inferior pieces? )


17… Qc7! 18. Bg5 Bd6! 

( This formation of pawns with the Queen and Bishop is something you often find. I call it the Bow and Arrow. It is extremely potent and hard to break. )


19. Rf3 Bd7 

( Finishing development. Very important. )

20. a4?! 

( The move is understandable but it is also dubious at this stage. There are many continuations for both sides. Many captures and lines to consider. I don’t know if it will do any good to name them all. I think that the strategy is important to understand and from there we all have different tastes for tactical lines. I chose to check the King now because I was worried that otherwise he may find some plan to keep him safe and out of reach. Black is almost free to decide when to play ... Rxf3 / ... e5. other more positional moves are ... Qb6 which attack the Queen side and has really annoying lines. in the end I chose to check the King and reclaim another pawn. Rybka seems to like this sort of thinking =D )


20… Bg3+ 21. Kd1!! h6! 22. Bd2 Bxh4 

( Material balance, positional plus. Black is clearly better. )

23. Kc2 Bf6! 

( Refusing to allow any trades and redeploying the Bishop to a better square. Now that it points straight to the White King, Black can start thinking about a concentrated attack via … Qb6 and …e5 and …c4 and … Rc8. whichever best suits the position. )


24. Qd3!!? 

( I thought this to be a really good move. I was wrong but I still think it deserves a "!" Because it’s a very good practical try. Suddenly White is threatening his own attack via Qg6 and Bxh6 and what is Black to play?? It appears that Rybka has a fetish fancy for …Qb6. over the next few moves it keeps offering it as the clear first. Dunno, seemed risky to me. I’m a Petrosian fan after all, I prefer to parry my opponent’s threat long before they realize them. …Qd6 would also make some sense here, instead I chose to play …Be8 to stop White from penetrating and to free the d-file for …Rad8 which supports the d-pawn and allows …e5. Like I said, I like Petrosian. The reason this move Qd3 also got a "!?" from me is that once that smoke has been cleared and there is the mentioned continuation to consider the Queen is badly placed as you will see in the game.)

24… Be8 25. Nh3 Rd8 26. Nf4 

( Woaa, this guy is very stubborn about his plans! =D … again, Rybka prefers … Qb6 or … Qd6 or …Rac8 but I tried to keep the situation under control rather than to attack. I felt that my attack is coming either way and there’s no way to stop it so if I have the time why not use it to secure the King side? )


26… Bf7 27. Ng6?? 

( A ProblemBot exercise! Black to move and win. )


27… c4! 28. bxc4 dxc4 29. Qe4 Qc6! 0-1

* I think he should have played a few more moves. White had excellent practical tries here. For instance: 30. Qg4 h5 31. Rh3! Qb6 (31... Rxd2+ 32. Kxd2 Qd6+ 33.
Kc2 Bxc3 34. Rd1 (34. Kxc3 Qb4+ 35. Kd4 Rd8+ 36. Ke4 c3+ 37. Ke3 Qc5+ 38. Kf4
Rd4+) 34... Qb4 35. Ne7+ Qxe7 36. Qxc4) 32. Rd1 (32. Bxc4 Rxd2+ 33. Kxd2 Qb2+
34. Ke3 Qxa1) 32... Bxg6+ 33. Qxg6 Qb3+ 34. Kc1 Be7 35. Qxe6+ Rf7 36. Qxe7 Rxe7
37. Rh4 Qa3+ 38. Kb1 Rd3 39. Bxd3 Qb3+ 40. Ka1 (40. Kc1 cxd3) 40... Qxd1+

As usual you can find this game on my ICC library, game number 40

The other game in this 9030 tournament was played Between MikeA and Uwak.

[Event "ICC"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2011.01.15"]
[White "MikeA"]
[Black "Uwak"]
[Result "0-1"]
[TimeControl "5400+30"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. c3 Nc6 7. Ndf3 Qb6 8. Ne2 f6 9. g3 Be7 10. Bh3 cxd4 11. Nexd4 fxe5 12. fxe5 Ndxe5 13. Nxe5 Nxe5 14. O-O Bf6 15. Qh5+ Nf7 16. Be3 O-O 17. Rae1 Qd6 18. Nb5 Qe7 19. Bg2 a6 20. Nd4 Bd7 21. Qe2 Rac8 22. Rf2 Rfe8 23. Qg4 Kh8 24. Qd1 Nd6 25. Qb3 Nc4 26. Bc1 Qd6 27. Ref1 e5 28. Nf5 Bxf5 29. Rxf5 b5 30. Qd1 Rcd8 31. b3 Qb6+ 32. Kh1 Ne3 33. Bxe3 Qxe3 34. Bxd5 Qxc3 35. R5f3 Qb4 36. Rd3 e4 37. Qg4 Bc3 38. a3 exd3 39. axb4 Rxd5 40. Qf3 Rdd8 41. Rd1 Re1+ 42. Kg2 d2 43. h4 Bxb4 44. h5 h6 45. Kh3 Rxd1 46. Qxd1 Bc3 0-1

A very good day for the French!!


Game annotation, NFork VS. MusiqueWand ,G2, French

I was playing NFork before but I can’t recall how the game went and neither can he. Incidentally, I was feeling like chaotic “fun” play that day which these days is rare for me.

It turned out to be an insanely complicated game where imbalance will be an understatement. It’s hard to make a concrete analysis even with the help of top computer programs and books. many of the positions are arguably dynamically unclear and the compensation each side has, takes a Top GM knowledge to evaluate.

The opening is NOT sound, but then, it was never meant to be! Like I said I was on a “playing like an idiot” mood and felt like throwing things at him and complicate things more and more and then some more (Perhaps this is Brian's fault!). Not my usual style of play but occasionally I drop back to that sort of “practical” and mortal play. 

* Mind you that NFork’s rating is usually over 2400, he took part in a 24 hour 15 minutes tournament where you actually play without sleep for 24 hours. Obviously after a while you start losing games so this is how his rating dropped but I’ve seen him on ICC and in one day he gained back 130 ICC points so I feel certain that in a week or two he’ll bring it back to the 2400 mark. 

White: NFork
Black: Yours truly.
Opening: The French

[Event "ICC"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2011.01.11"]
[White "NFork"]
[Black "MusiqueWand"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "2078"]
[BlackElo "2351"]
[ECO "C13"]
[Opening "French"]
[Variation "Albin-Alekhine-Chatard attack"]
[TimeControl "3600+30"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6


( The classical French Defence. A long time favorite of mine. It mysteriously plays a tender tune in my heart. I used this defence to beat my first Master and to this day, my results with it are mysterious and unexplainable. I simply win more when I play the French and I have no logical explanation to that fact. The truth is that I do not believe it originates of my own virtues. It is my belief that the opening itself is just good. Strategically speaking, it is my “opinion” that aside from 1…e5 (which on the strategic front has to be accounted as Black’s finest reply) 1…e6 is as good or even best and certainly reliable. Why not the Winawer? Ahhh, dunno, I always preferred the Classical but I play the winawer as well. )

4. Bg5 Be7 5. e5 Nfd7 6. h4! 

( The Alekhine-Chatard Gambit. I can’t, for obvious reasons, go into the depth of analysis here but it is safe to say that this is one of White’s best weapons and Should Black take-on the challenge he better know exactly what he is doing because White will unleash massive amounts of complications and tactics – some are very difficult to comprehend OTB had you never seen it before. there are loads of ideas for White, including sacrificial Knight or Bishop lines against the Centre. Dangerous Knight-paths and indirect attacking lines. Boglojubov played some fantastic games with the White pieces and introduced many tactical sacrifices. My advice to you, don’t bloody play it! I’m one of them odd people who strongly believe that the best way to refute a Gambit is not accepting it! I always felt that the best way to handle any position and any problem is to find the right strategy and play good chess! Shocking I know, almost heretical I should say. Who in his right mind want to play decent chess moves?! You have to be outrageously crazy right? The truth is that chess is a strategic game from which tactics should flow. Not a tactical one where you occasionally play a dull strategic move because there’s nothing useful to watch on the Telly. But hey, that’s just me, don’t listen to me… I’m just a Whacko! )


6… h6?!! 

( This move is considered bad, plain and simple, bad. Well, I’m not so sure. Is it dangerous – great maker yes! Does it create a weakness in the Black camp - great maker yes! Does it make any sense at all? great maker yes! Well, at least some logic. Why on earth would I play that?? I am in the midst of restudying the French since I have been playing the CK for a while now and I honestly need a deep refresh so I’m going over Gulko’s book on the Classical French. I was looking at this move with Rybka and it doesn’t seem to think it’s that bad. I was making some analysis which as you will see becomes very tactical and in all honesty I expected to lose this game. I just felt like playing crazy lines so here we go… )

7. Bxe7 Qxe7 8. Qg4! 

( 7. Qh5 g6 8. Bxe7 Qxe7 9. Qg4 a6 10. f4 h5 and Black can hold. Believe it or not this is actually somewhat of a TN by NFork and it is THE best move white has so thumbs up for the N-man! There are other lines for white, none of them are any better and this is more of an annotation rather than excessive analysis. If you’re interested, look at it with CB. The ideas are simple to understand but even more troubling is that they’re also simple to play! White intends Rh1-h3-g3 with a very simple and effective mate threat and f2-f4-f5 breaking into the Black camp and of course Bd3 etc. all pretty standard. Amazingly, Black can actually defend this which is why I played the next move…)


8… O-O!??!!? 

( I call this a “say what” move. Black is obviously suicidal right? Might as well eat a plagued frog and swallow a dead sneak. Or better yet, save White the trouble and shoot yourself instead, yes, that will be quicker. Ahh… yes anyway… the truth is that this is already unclear. It’ll take a lot more analytical tries to prove whether white is “really” winning here or is it just practically a good opening line. After all, Black does have …f5 and …c5 as resources right? After …f5 the Black Queen defends the g-pawn and with …Kh8 and …Rg8 things may turn around. Okay, I’ve said it, unclear! )


9. f4! 



( Nyam Nyam, what what?? Instead of the usual …c5 or …a6 or…f5 or …f6 ideas Black is giving away a  
   and for what exactly?? Ah, well, for something very intangible. It’s called positional compensation and practical chances. How so? Well this “Benko-plan” is actually something White should understand and understand well before he decides on a plan. White has committed his King side at a very early stage of the game. This is move 9 and white already spent 5 of these moves pushing pawns. His position is aggressive but he does not have justifiable piece play to make the attack a success. And what about his King? Where is this one going then? To the broken up King side where it can be attack via …f5 and opening lines? mhmmm, maybe to the Queen side? Oh wait, aha! So this is what this Benko move is about… making noise on the Queen side and opening up lines there as well. Suddenly it’s not very clear what white should do! If he takes the offered pawn he will find himself in a sharp game because he won’t be the only one attacking and if he doesn’t, Black gets to attack first. Not easy to say and not even clear. BTW, Rybka gives this position a score of 0.47, that’s all! So apparently the seemingly pawn sac is not without merits. and hey! it's only a pawn



10. Bxb5! 

( There was a nice trick here too. Had White played 10. Nxb5 Qb4+! 11. c3 [forced] Qxb2 12. Qd1 [forced!] a6 [image]  (the Knight is almost trapped!) 13. Rb1 Qxa2 14. Nxc7 Ra7 15. Ra1 Qb2 16. Nb5 Rb7 and Black is probably better. It’s also interesting to see that after the forced Qd1 White had to lose a tempo by moving the Queen again and with out the Queen on the King side his attack doesn’t really make sense anymore. )

10… Ba6! 


11. O-O-O!?? 

( Unclear, but probably a mistake in view of the fierceness of moves to come! Better was Bxa6 / Rh3 but White is starting to feel the psychological burden on his King and felt that he should Castle. In reality, White should accept the sharpness of this opening and keep his King in the centre. )

11… Bxb5 12. Nxb5 


12... Na6!? 

( The idea is not to play …c5 or …Nc6 or …f6 but to make way for a swift attack. Black is making way for Rb8 with Qb4 etc. )


13. Rh3!


13… Rab8 14. Rb3? 

( A mistake, unfortunately White fell for the psychological white-noise. Using his attacking piece as a defensive one? the simple Nc3 or Rg3 would make more sense. Now Black takes the initiative! )

14… Nb4! 

( it’s almost shocking but White's best move here is to bring the Knight back to c3. the problem is that it not only cuts the Rook's rank-play so it can’t go to g3 now but it also threatens the Rook itself! With …a5-a4 and …c5 with …Nxc5 etc. The Rook's future seems unpleasant. Clearly Rh3-b3 was a critical mistake in this game. Perhaps we can call it a strategic Blunder. ) 


15. Nc3


15… c5! 16. Nge2 a5!! 

( after this move I consider Black’s position to be superior with a clear plus for Black. Rybka does not agree with this assessment. )


17. f5! 

( It’s about time! )

17… exf5! 


18. Qxf5 cxd4! 

( I saw some simple ways of improving my position de-la-Nimzo-Petrosian style. After these captures my intention was to play the Knight to Nd7-c5-e6 with a blockade. To hit his pawns and to prepare …f6. )

19. Rxd4 

( As mentioned, 19. Nxd4 Nc5 20. Ra3 Ne6 will be good for Black as the Knight is well placed and protects the g7 pawn too. )


19… Qe6!! 

( This is where the complications get overwhelming for both players to fully calculate.

A) 19... Qxe5 20. Qxd7 Nxa2+ 21. Nxa2 Rxb3 22. cxb3 Qxe2 23. Qxd5 and white wins!

B) 19... Nxe5 20. Rbxb4 Rxb4 (20... axb4 21. Nxd5 Qd6 seems less clear and for reason I prefer White. ) 21. Nxd5 and again White wins.

C) 19... Nc5 20. Rbxb4 Rxb4 (20... axb4 21. Nxd5 Qe6 22. Qxe6 fxe6 23.
Nxb4 Rf2 24. Nf4 g5 25. hxg5 hxg5 26. Nfd3 Nxd3+ 27. Nxd3 Rxg2 with another unclear ending but despite being an Exchange down, the White Queen side pawn should be decisive. ) 21. Nxd5 and White is better or maybe even winning.

There are many tactical notes here, …Nd3+ followed by Rxb3 or …a4 or attempting to “force” White to play a3 himself in order to play …Nd3+ and Black has …f6 coming which will introduce new tactics and even mate threats. But in the mean time Black has to play good chess which is never easy. And extremely time consuming. Like always I was starting to go into time trouble. Rybka gives this position a score of 0.00. that can lead the viewer to think that this is a drawish position. Far far from it. It’s just the computer’s way of calling it dynamically equal. )

20. Qh5 

( QxQ fxQ will allow Black to penetrate with Rf2. it appears that it may still be the best White has here. The computer also suggests g4 but then Nc5 and Black is better. )

20… f6! 


21. a3!!? 

( Again, hard to say. perhaps this was White’s best try but you can see how such a move is not very appetizing. The Rook is already locked in and may be in danger. The whole position is like is on the verge of explosion. )


21… fxe5! 22. Rd1? 

( Slightly better but still losing will be 22. Nf4 exf4 23. axb4 f3 24. Qxd5 Qxd5 25. Nxd5 f2 26. Ne3 f1=Q+ 27. Nxf1 Rxf1+ )


( No, No, No, Nooooooooooooo!!!!! Why, why must I be an idiot!! I hate time pressure. I hate it! Missing the winning move!!! why why why…. Hoooffff… I need to learn to:
      Back to the game. Here the winning move was obviously: 22... Nc5 23. axb4 Nxb3+ 24. cxb3 axb4 25. Nxd5 Rbc8+ 26. Kb1 Qxd5 27. Rxd5 Rf1+ 28. Rd1 Rxd1+ 29. Nc1 Rdxc1+ 30. Ka2 Ra8# [image]  not all forced but proves the point with a beautiful finish that pretty much entails all the we talked about. Unfortunately, I missed it. I was under time pressure already as you can see from the next diagram. Despite feeling sorry for myself the game’s continuation is truly one to remember! We ended up playing a beautiful endgame. Not one that you get to see every day. )


23. Rxd3 Rxb3 24. cxb3 Rf5! 

( “Trapping” the Queen. Though this line is not winning, I am proud of myself for seeing this tactic at time pressure. It’s rather nice still. Unfortunately, NFork is a very strong player and his endgame technique is quite impressive so it went on to be a draw. A very beautiful draw! )


25. Nf4! 

( Less clear will be QxR with QxR Rxd5. hard to evaluate. Unclear dynamics. )

25… exf4 26. Qd1 Nf6 27. Kb1 Re5 

( at this point I considered my position to be better. This is not true, White’s Queen side pawn proved to be a major resource. )

28. Ka2 Re1 29. Qd2 Re3 30. Nxd5


30… Nxd5 31. Rxd5 a4 


32. Rd8+ Kf7 33. Qd7+ Qxd7 34. Rxd7+ Ke6 


35. Rb7 axb3+ 36. Rxb3 


36… g5 37. Rb6+ Kf5 


38. Rxh6 g4 39. Rh5+ Ke4 40. Rh8 g3

( Roughly the same will be 40... f3 41. gxf3+ gxf3 42. Rf8 Kd3 43. h5 Ke2 44. h6 Re7 but I felt that …g3 is slightly more conning.)


41. h5 f3 42. Re8+ Kd3 43. Rd8+ Ke2 44. gxf3 g2 


45. h6 Re5 46. Rg8 Kf2 47. b4 g1=Q 


48. Rxg1 Kxg1 49. Kb3 Kf2 


50. Kc4 Kxf3 51. b5 Rh5 52. a4 Rxh6 53. a5 Rh4+ 54. Kc5 Ra4 


55. a6 Ke4 56. b6 Rxa6 57. b7 Ra5+ 58. Kc4 Ra1 59. Kc5 Rb1 1/2-1/2

After the game he told me that I can't always play like a neanderthal. That I need to have a plan!   

Well, it was hard to explain to him that usually i'm a very solid player but occasionally I feel like playing silly chess.

We scheduled a 90 30 game for the next day and I won quite convincingly with the White pieces. I played the Catalan.


As usual you can find this game on my ICC library, game number 37