Thursday, May 30, 2013

Tabiya: White vs Black London (Zukertort with 2...Bf5)

I am shifting from the 1.e4 e5 black Tabiya for this week, because I run into black playing a London formation a lot, and I wanted to refresh it.

My general move order 1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 avoids the Catalan Benoni and several other annoying defenses to 1.d4. It does require me to have symmetric English lines, and allows black to play 2...Bf5 and get a London formation. A move order Capablanca use a lot (1.d4 d5 2.Nf3) presents black the same opportunity.

Black wants to get his bishop outside the pawn chain, but this is double edged. Whichever side of the d5-e6-f7 pawn chain the bishop is on causes problems for black. With the bishop on the outside, the b7 square is weak.

I will strike immediately with 3.c4, as the Bf5 is not well situated for accepting the gambit, black should reply with 3...e6, and I can strike with 4.Qb3. (4.Nc3 c6 5.Qb3 Qb6 allows black a more "normal" game)

Currently, black's best response here is 4...Nc6, as 4...dxc4 is met by 5.Qxb7 and black must reply Nd7, which is not where he wants the knight with his queenside pawns askew. 5.Bd2 continues the mainline, keeping the central tension and keeping control of b4. This position will be my tabiya:

Black has two main moves here. 5...Rb8 and 5...dxc4, and I want to track master games with both moves.

Chess Tactics Server--new feature.

My favorite site for tactics work has a new feature. You can select a rating for it to present problems. This means you really can just ignore the rating the site gives you and work on the tactics level you need.

I am working on automatically seeing patterns, so I have set mine at 1500, and I am getting more patterns that I am not seeing automatically, than if it went off my 1350 tactics rating.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Tabiya Italian and Spanish Four Knights

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bc4 is the rarely played (at master level) Italian Four Knights. If black plays 4...Bc5 the game transposes to the Guioco Pianissimo, but black has a better move with the fork trick 4..Nxe4 5.Nxe4 d5 6.Bd3 and here Kaufman recommends the novelty and gambit 6...Nb4 looking at 7.Ng3 e4 8.Bxe4  dxe4 9.Nxe4 Bf5 with compensation for the pawn. I will place my tabiya for this variation after the novelty 6...Nb4 and look for any games in this line.

The more likely Spanish Four Knights is reached after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5 where Kaufman recommends 4...Bc5 and welcomes the fork trick. 5.O-O O-O 6.Nxe5 Nxe5 7.d4 Bd6 8.f4 ( 8.dxe5 Bxe5 and black is fine with the half open e-file) 8...Ng4 9.e5 Be7 10.Be2 d6 11.exf6 Nxf6.

White's f-pawn is in the way of his dark square bishop and at risk of over extending.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Master Game Analysis: Smyslov v Rudakovsky, Moscow 1945

This is game 16 from Chernev's "The Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played". I got all of the essential bits in my analysis of this game. Houdini found a few minor flaws in my analysis, but nothing that changes the course of the game, so the following is my work.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

US Championship 2013

The tournament is half over and I missed it!

I will be following the rest the games on

In viewing the replay, notice the background has Fox Sports Midwest logo. I am in their North territory, so I don't know if they are broadcasting, or just webcasting.

I may encourage coverage by watching via Fox Sports.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tabiya: Scots Four Knights

Kaufman puts the Scots and Four Knights in one chapter, because of the likely transpositions to this line:
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 (Scots)
1.e5 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.d4 exd4 5.Nxd4 (Four Knights)

BTW, I call it Scots rather than Scotch, because Scots refers to things from Scotland, and Scotch is a beverage.

The mainline of the Scots follows from 5.Nxc6 and will require other Tabiya.

1.e5 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.d4 exd4 5.Nxd4 Bb4 6.Nxc6 bxc6 7.Bd3 d5 8.exd5 cxd5 9.O-O O-O 10.Bg5 c6:

11.Qf3 is likely white's best next move, though Na4 and Ne2 are also played. This is exactly the type of open game position I need to understand better. Black's kingside pawn structure might be wrecked, but white will have to give up the queen to do it. Black must get more active piece play to offset his bad pawns.

After 11.Qf3, Bd6 is balanced move, Be7 tries to avoid the bad kingside pawns, while h6 provokes the bad pawns, but will likely get a bishops of opposite color endgame.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Tabiya: Ruy Lopez, Wormald and Worrall attacks

White can meet the threat to his e-pawn by defending it with Qe2, either directly after 4...Nf6 or after 5.O-O Be7. Kaufman recommends a type of Marshall attack in both cases. We reach the same position via 5.Qe2 b5 6.Bb3 Be7 7.O-O O-O (Wormald) or 5.O-O Be7 6.Qe2 b5 7.Bb3 O-O (Worrall). I will chose this position as my Tabiya for searching games, because both opponents I have faced with these lines have not played 8.c3 allowing 8...d5 and a Marshall gambit like line.

The Marshall gambit opens the center quickly and black tries to take advantage of his lead in development to  make a quick attack on white's king.

Master Game Analysis: Tarrasch v Scheve, Leipzig 1894

This is game 15 in Chernev's "The Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played"

I missed a few nuances when I analyzed this game. I disagreed with Tarrasch and Chernev on the identity of the losing move. I am vindicated by Houdini. The big shift in evaluation happens where I thought it did.