Friday, November 27, 2020

The Grandmasters of Old Could Play Some Great Chess


And these would be grandmasters you may not of heard of. Here is a game from 1906 played in a tournament in St. Petersburg, Russia. White was the Hungarian GM Carl Schlechter and Black was a Russian GM Fyodor Dus-Chotimirski. 

Not exactly two players who's names roll off the tongue of some of the most knowledgeable of us of chess history. In one of the strongest tournaments ever held to that time in history, these two men finished tied for 8th-10th and 13th alone respectively out of 19 players. The tournament was won by world champion Dr. Emanual Lasker and Akiba Rubinstein - with both finishing with 14.5 points.

So, two middle of the road GM's, but what a brilliant positional battle they fought. Enjoy. Notes by Dr. Lasker himself, Igor3000 the engine, and your humble scribe where Igor has only advice and no commentary.

1. e4          c5

2. Nf3        Nc6

3. d4          cxd4

4. Nxd4      Nf6

5. Nc3        d6

6. Bc4         Bd7

7. Bg5         e6

8. O-O         a6

9. Nxc6        .......

Black intended Ne5, but White should not have exchanged his well posted knight.

9. .......         Bxc6

10. Qe2        Be7

11. Rad1       b5

12. Bd3         O-O

13. e5            Ne8

14. Bf4          d5?!

Better for Black was 14. ....b4 15. Nb1, g6 16. Rfe1, d5 (+.2 but now +.4 of a pawn for White).

15. Qg4         g6

16. Ne2         Ng7

17. Nd4         Bd7

18. Rfe1        Qa5

19. Bd2         Qb6

Of course not 19. Qxa2 20. Ra1, Qxb2 21. Reb1 and good bye Queen!

20. Be3          Qc7

21. f4?!          f5?!

Better for Black was 21. ......f6 22. Nf3, b4 23. Qh4, Bb5 24. Qf2, Rac8 with a very even game.

22. Qe2          g5?

The threat of this move is of no importance, while it clearly weakens the point f5 which is threatened by White's g4 and the diagonal which is commanded by White's white squared bishop. (+1).

23. Kh1         g4

24. a3            ......

The advance of the Black King-side pawns is less than useless says Dr. Lasker, and apparently Schlechter knew it too. They look scary to your humble scribe!

24. ......          h5

25. Bd2          h4

26. Bb4          Rf7?

Better was 26. ......Be8. (+1.6)

27. Bxe7         Rxe7

28. Qf2            Ne8

29. Qxh4         Rh7

30. Qf2            Ng7 

31. g3              Kf7

32. h4              gxh3

33. g4!             Rh6

If 33. ......    fxg4 then 34. Bxh7 A deflection pinning!

34. gxf5           exf5

35. Rg1            Rg8

36. Kh2            Qd8?

In a bad position and time on his clock dwindling (remember, no increment or delays in those days), the errors start occurring. (+3)

37. Rg5            Ne6?

Black needed 37. .....Rgh8 for a last chance at counter-play. (+6)

38. Nxf5           Resigns

Monday, November 16, 2020

The Last Nail in a Chess Club’s Coffin?


Your humble scribe hates to get serious on this chess blog. After all, the missions of this blog is to: Promote chess,

Promote Michigan chess,

Promote Livingston County MI chess and

Educate readers on chess, chess history and chess news.

This sad article is about the latter mission.

The news for Chess Clubs, as miserable as it is to say– brick and mortar, flesh and blood, over the board, meet your chess buddies in person and teach new players chess clubs – is dismal, if not over. Maybe not forever probably, but for a long time.

Nail: This COVID 19 pandemic issue (trying not to say whether it is a hoax, a real concern or somewhere in between – because there is no way to really know), has caused panic within the general population. Not to mention that the government edicts issued ‘to keep us safe’, have locked all brick and mortar chess clubs down.

LCCC has lost it’s location to hold our chess club because of the government. Looking for a new site is pointless at this time and I will explain why.

There are two main groups of attendees to chess clubs; old men and children – and this is the Achilles Heal of chess in general. 

Young people and middle aged folks have school or jobs, a host of other activities, dating, marriage and starting families, college and /or a career. Chess takes a back seat usually for these people.

The COVID panic now keeps the old guys at home, and the parents are not going to subject their children or themselves to a bunch of old geezers and possible wheezers at a chess board, or sit in a possibly un-sterile chess area.

LCCC will continue on-line for now. The future of the brick and mortar LCCC Chess Club is in a coma that it may not recover from.

We will see. 

Friday, November 13, 2020

Writer's Dilemma - and a Ten Year Old Beats a Grandmaster!

 I must apologize to my readers for the long gap between posts. I have been at a loss as to what to write about.

I think that general articles of interest are the most appreciated, since game analysis and puzzles can be reviewed in various magazines, books, videos and internet streams. Who wants to set up a board to follow along on a game on a blog post? I hope all of you, but I am not sure that is the case.

However, the games I do post I found interesting or entertaining for some reason or I would not have posted them. But they take a much longer time to produce and the readership for those is actually a lot less. I sense a kind of a diminishing return; e.i., the more work and time I put into a certain post, the less it is read and enjoyed.

A personal interest story or a short general lesson seems to be the most read posts. A dilemma for your chess scribe to be sure.

 But here is a game I found which I think deserves a look. A 10-year old player Abhimanyu Mishra (2353) defeats the Grandmaster Yaroslav Zherebukh (2695) with White.

We pick the game up at the critical point where little Mishra has played positionally brilliant so far, but is he starting to crack under the pressure of his GM opponent?

White has just played 32. g3? The correct move was 32. b4. This cuts Abhimanyu’s positional advantage in half to just a pawn (+1).

Let’s see if this starts a decline of concentration for this young man.

32. …..          Nf5

33. Kg2         Rh8

34. Qg4         Rh5

The GM is fighting for his life and sets a trap. Black is hoping the youngster will play an attacking move like 35. Nh4? Rg5 (not 36. Qf3 because of ….Nh4+ forks White’s queen) 36. Qd1 Rxg3 and not 37. fxg3 because of ….Ne3+ forking the queen. So after 37. Kh1 the game is a draw. But the youngster sees all this.

35. h4!          Bxh4?

36. gxh4       Rxh4?

Black has lost his desire at this point and the youngster does not let the GM get away.

37. Qg5         Nxe5

38. Bxf5         Rh2+

39. Kg3          exf5

40. Ra6          Rbh8

41. Nf4           Black resigns as time control was reached.