Friday, January 25, 2013

Game 29: Columbia Round 4

Ashland XXXI
A08: King's Indian Attack

White: Lendel Robinson (1756)
Black: Dan Quigley (1807)
Columbia, SC, Round 4, G/75, 30 sec. bonus, Jan. 24, 2013

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.d3 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 0–0 5.Nbd2 d5 6.c3

White refrains from playing Re1 throughout the opening of this game, which is a bit unusual. Normal King’s Indian Attack strategy is to attack down the e-file, and a Rook on e1 certainly helps White do that, but I could not find a concrete way to take advantage of White’s omission, either at the board or now at home having studied this game.

6…c5 7.0–0 Nc6 8.e4 e5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Ne4?!

I didn’t and still don’t think very highly of this move. White is playing a variation of the King’s Indian Defense, only with an extra tempo for being White. That variation goes 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.g3 O-O 5.Bg2 d6 6.Nf3 Nbd7 7.O-O e5 8.e4 exd4 9.Nxd4 and now if Black does not want to play 9…Re8, then 9…Nc5 is the move, usually with …Re8, …a5, and pressure on the e4 pawn to follow. I’ve played this line as Black and done fine with it. Fischer played it in his early days too. The Knight deployment to e4 just looks wrong somehow because White is giving up any notion of pressuring the e5-pawn.


Covers c5.

11.a3! TN

Previously in this position White has played 11.Bg5, losing both, and 11.Re1 drawing. However, I really like Lendel’s theoretical novelty here. This move makes a lot of sense to me. It looks like White wants to play the Byrne Variation of the King’s Indian Defense as White. Usually, the Byrne Variation is played against the Samisch Attack. However, with a move in hand it seems to work quite nicely here (for White) too. I have had a lot of fun playing the Byrne Variation myself as Black and could understand how this enterprising variation might attract Lendel. I therefore fully expected 12.b4 was coming next move, leading to an interesting game for White, and was very surprised when Lendel failed to play it.

11...Bb7 12.c4?

Even my computer program indicates 12.b4 is the only move in this position that favors White, although only by .04 pawns! Play may then continue 12...f5 13.Qb3! Qd7 (If 13...fxe4 14.dxe4 and the Knight on d5 is pinned!) 14.Bh3 and the game is very complicated.


Heading for e6, a really good square for this Knight.


White is playing for a cheap tactical trick, namely 14.Nxc5 winning a pawn. However, this is very easily countered, and after it is White finds his Queen offside, a positional mistake. Better for White is simply the normal move 13.Re1, after which I play 13…Qd7 with equality. For the first time this game I now start to feel I have an advantage and start to take some serious time to look for ways to exploit it.


This stops White’s Nxc5 threat and brings the Knight back into the game, but apparently I didn’t take enough time to consider everything I should have. I missed a great opportunity to set a trap for White. His Nxc5 threat is a chimera! I should not only allow him to do it, I should encourage him with 13…f5! If 14.Nxc5 bxc5 15.Qxb7, then 15…Na5 wins White’s Queen! If White sees the trap in time and retreats the Knight to c3, Black is still dominating every sector of the board, e.g.: 13...f5 14.Bg5 Qd7 15.Nc3 h6. After the text, the game now drifts into equality. I could not find a real chance to take advantage of White’s slightly awkward piece placement, nor do chess programs suggest one.

14.Be3 Ncd4 15.Nxd4 exd4 16.Bd2 Qc7 17.Ng5 Bxg2 18.Kxg2 Qc6+ 19.f3 Rae8 20.Rae1 Bh6 21.Ne4

Trying to maintain the Knight on g5 with 21.h4 is also playable for White.

21...Bxd2 22.Nxd2 Ng5?!

Black could try to play more ambitiously with 22…a6 and not acquiesce to Rook trades, but I really don’t believe a win for either side can be obtained from this position.

23.Qd1 Rxe1 24.Rxe1 Re8 25.h4 Rxe1 26.Qxe1 Qe6 27.Qxe6 Nxe6 ½ - ½

Drawn on my offer. The position is dead equal and of no interest to either of us apparently since Lendel quickly agreed. To sum up my take on this game, I feel I had a real opportunity to gain a sizable advantage on move 13 with 13…f5!, but failed to find the trap. That’s understandable, I suppose, but I learned a real lesson. If my opponent is trying something tactical, don’t trust his judgment that it will work. Check it, and if it doesn’t work, encourage the tactic. The psychological effect of seeing a carefully planned tactical shot backfire can be devastating! I am reasonably happy with my solid play in this game. I never gave White a chance to gain an advantage at any time. Congrats to Lendel though for also playing solidly enough to draw.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Game 28: Columbia Round 3

Ashland XXXI
C51: Evans Gambit: Declined and Accepted without 5...Ba5
White: Dan Quigley (1807)
Black: Paul Potylicki (1494)
Columbia, SC, Round 3, G/75, 30 sec. bonus, Jan. 17, 2013

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4 Bxb4 5.c3 Bc5 6.0–0 d6 7.d4 exd4 8.cxd4 Bb6

For a discussion of the moves up to this position and what to do then from this position I recommend GM Kaidanov’s Youtube video on the Evans Gambit:


I had a long, frustrating think before deciding on this ninth move for White. My idea was to get the move e5 in with some added kick, and I wanted to play Nbd2 without reducing the number of protectors on d4. The drawback to this move is that the possibility of Bg5 is now gone forever.

Up to this point both sides have played well and we are in a main line. White has achieved his objectives, Black his. I have read and played through the scores of over 100 Evans Gambit games in my life and know I have seen this position several times before. Nevertheless, I could not remember what to do here. When I got home I researched this position and found out why. Despite the fact this position has been played from frequently since 1830 there is no established consensus on what to play for White’s ninth move. Here is a chart of the possibilities:

Move/# games/% score
9.d5 - 141 - 65%
9.Nc3 - 132 - 67%
9.Bb2 - 40 - 60%
9.h3 - 30 - 59%
9.Bg5 - 10 - 25%
9.Re1 - 8 - 25%
9.Qb3 - 6 - 58%

In addition, dubious moves 9.a4, 9.Be3, 9.Ba3, and 9.Bb5 (the best of this lot) have been tried once or twice and found wanting. After I had decided on 9.Bb2 I was thinking next move that I should have played 9.Nc3 instead, which happens to be Kaidanov’s choice here. I admit 9.d5 never entered my mind as a possibility. I still can not figure out why White would put a pawn on his Bishop’s diagonal. I need to play over some 9.d5 games and see if I can make sense of the move.


Now that White has taken Bg5 off the table I expected 9…Nf6 and 10…0-0, which still looks right to me. As Lasker observed, “Knights before Bishops”. The current position is no exception.


I selected the most aggressive move for this position, but it is not sound. Better was 10.d5 Bxf3 11.Qxf3 Ne5 12.Bxe5 dxe5= I also find the pawn sacrifice 10.Nbd2!? intriguing, e.g. 10…Bxd4 (10…Nxd4? 11.Bxd4 Bxd4 12.Qa4+ Bd7 13.Bxf7+ Kxf7 14.Qxd4+/=) 11.Bxd4 Nxd4 12.Qa4+ with a complicated position. I think White has plenty of play for the two-pawn investment. 10.Bb5 and 10.Na3 have also been played here, with some success.

10...Na5 11.Bxf7+?

Consistent with my aggressive intentions as shown last move, but this is clearly a mistake. After admitting I was wrong by playing 11.Qa4+!? I can hope to survive after 11...Bd7 12.Bb5=

11...Kf8 12.Qd5?

No doubt better was 12.Qd3!? Kxf7 13.Nbd2, but Black would still have the much better game.

12...Nf6 13.Qg5 Kxf7 14.Nh4

My intended 14.e5 does not work either, e.g.: 14…Bxf3 15.gxf3 Nc4 16.exf6 Qxf6 17.Qd5+ Qe6 18.Qxe6+ Kxe6 and White is lost. So I chose an option I hoped would keep material on the board.

14...Bd7 15.Nd2 Ng4 16.Qf4+ Qf6 17.Nf5 Bxf5 18.exf5 Nh6 19.g4 g5

Black was proud of this move after the game, but even better is 19...Qh4!? 20.h3 Qxh3 21.f3 winning easily.


Slightly better might have been 20.Qf3 Rhe8 21.Ne4 Qg7, but Black’s game is still much the better.

20...hxg6 21.Qg3?

White can and probably should win back an exchange here with 21.Qxf6+ Kxf6 22.d5+ Ke7 23.Bxh8 Rxh8 24.Rae1+ Kd7 though Black still has a winning game. I simply did not see this opportunity.


This move should also win for Black, but even stronger was 21...Qg5!? 22.d5 Qxd2 23.Qf3+ Nf5 24.Bxh8 Rxh8 25.gxf5 Qg5+ 26.Kh1 Qxf5 27.Qxf5+ gxf5 and Black is winning.

22.Ne4 Qe5 23.Qf3+

23.Bxd4 Qxd4 24.Qf4+ Kg7 25.Rad1 was also hopeless for White.

23...Kg7 24.Bxd4 Qxd4 25.Rad1 Qe5 26.Rd5

Desperation. Without this sacrifice I knew my position was hopelessly lost. For example, 26.Rfe1, a last effort to resist the inevitable, is met by 26...Raf8 27.Qg2 Qf4–+ and all White can do is await his doom. The problem with the sacrifice is that it should not work.

26...Qxd5 27.Qf6+ Kh7??

The mistake I had been forced into counting on. If 27...Kg8 instead, Black wins: 28.Qxg6+ Kf8 and White simply has no continuation that gains him a thing. Computer programs evaluate Black as about 8 points ahead here.


And just like that the tables have turned. White now has all the winning chances.


Forced. 28…Nf7 gives the Queen up for nothing. And 28…Kg8 actually allows mate in one.

29.Ng5+ Kg7 30.Nxf7 Nxf7 31.Qxc7 b6

A better try for Black was 31...Nc6! 32.Qxb7 Nce5 33.h3 g5 with a drawish looking game. White has no way of using the pawns to pressure Black’s position and Black’s pieces are protecting each other well.

32.Qc3+ Kh7?!

Best was 32...Kf8 33.Rc1 Rh4 34.Qf3 Re8=


Stronger for White was 33.Qf6 Raf8 34.Rc1 Rhg8 with an initiative.

33...Rhf8 34.Qf6 Ne5??

Under pressure, Black makes a miscalculation that costs him the game. After 34...Nh6 Black would have air to breathe 35.Qxd6 Nb7= However, I planned to probe at Black’s position for a long time. It is hard for Black not to make a mistake at some point.

35.Qh4+ Kg7 36.fxe5 Rxf1+ 37.Kxf1 dxe5? 38.Qe7+ Kh6 39.Qxe5 Rf8+ 40.Kg2 Rf7 41.Kg3?

41.Qh8+ secures victory fastest: 41...Rh7 42.g5+ Kxg5 43.Qxh7+

41...Kh7 42.h4 Nc6?

Black falls apart. Best was 42...Nb7, but White still has a winning game, e.g. 43.h5 gxh5 44.Qe4+ Kg8 45.Qe8+ Kg7 46.gxh5 Ng6 47.Qe5+ Rf6 48.Qe7+ Nf7 49.Qxa7 winning.

43.Qd5 Rc7 44.Qd6 Rf7 45.Qxc6 Rg7 46.g5 Kg8 47.Qf6 Kh7 48.Kg4 Kg8 49.h5 gxh5+ 50.Kxh5 Kh7 51.g6+ Kg8 52.Qd8# 1–0

While I can not argue with the result I am unhappy with this game. My tenth and eleventh moves were mistakes that should have caused me a loss. My form is very poor right now. At least I did look up more Evans Gambit lines as a result of this game and now have a better idea of how to achieve good games with it.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Game 27: Columbia Round 2

Ashland XXXI
B40: Sicilian Defense, Pin Variation
White: Dan Quigley (1807)

Black: Randall Gingerich (1525)
Columbia, SC, Round 2, G/75, 30 sec. bonus, Jan. 10, 2013

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Bb4

This is called the Pin Variation because Black pins White’s Knight on c3, thereby threatening the e4 pawn. I am familiar with this because I often play it as Black myself.


I knew 6.e5 was the main line, but the play after 6…Nd5 or 6…Qc7 gets tactical and hairy and I couldn’t recall the lines in perfect detail. I was not confident of my ability to work them out at the board. The lines may be fresher in my opponent’s mind; so I steered for calmer waters.

6…Nc6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.0–0 d5

8...e5 9.Qf3 0-0= is a good alternative for Black.


Black’s last move invited me to play 9.e5, which I should have done, e.g.: 9…Nd7 10.Qg4 Bf8 11.Bf4 with a comfortable initiative and space on the Kingside to play in. I felt I could find better prospects in an open position however.

9...cxd5 10.a3 Be7 11.Re1

Instead of the text, White continued 11.Bf4 in Pal – Kanyadi, Kobanya 1993, and achieved a good game, e.g. 11…0-0 12.Nb5 a6 13.Nd4 Bb7 14.c3 Rc8 15.Re1 Re8 16.Nf3 Nd7 17.Qc2 Nf8 18.Qe2 Qb6 19.Be3 Qd6 20.Rac1 e5 21.Bf5 Rcd8 22.b4 g6 23.Bb1 Ne6 24.Qd2 Bf6 25.Ba2 d4 26.cxd4 exd4 27.Bg5 Nxg5 28.Nxg5 Bxg5 29.Qxg5 d3 30.Qd2 Qd4 31.h3 Bd5 32.Bxd5 Rxe1+ 33.Rxe1 Qxd5 34.Rc1 Rd7 35.Rc3 Qd4 36.Rc1 Kg7 37.Rd1 f6 38.g3 h5 39.h4 Qe4 40.Qe3 Qxe3 41.fxe3 1-0

11…0–0 12.Bf4 a6!

Black alertly covers b5, preventing me from relocating the Knight to d4 as was done in Pal – Kanyadi above.

13.Qf3 Ra7

Black has a cramped position.

14.Bb8 Rd7 15.Qh3 Bd6 16.Bxd6 Rxd6 17.Qh4 h6 18.Re2

I wanted to play 18.Re3, but felt I could not because of 18…d4, forking c3 and e3. Chess programs point out that White can then play 19.Rg3, after which Black is forced to play 19…Kh8. Fortunately for Black, his position is still fine, e.g. 20.Ne4 Nxe4 (or perhaps better yet 20…Rb6) 21.Qxe4 f5=


Black’s position is still cramped, but without any pawns for leverage it is hard to take advantage of this fact.

19.Rae1 Qb6 20.Qb4?!

Soon after playing this move, I found myself wishing I had played 20.Na4. Then I could consider playing Qb4 based on Black’s reply. White's Knight actually has more scope on a4 than it does on c3, and I have an opportunity to place it there tempo free.

20...Qxb4 21.axb4

The structure of the game changes dramatically. White has new hanging pawns: b2, b4, and c2. But even more telling, I felt, was that Black has a new backward pawn: a6.

21...Rb6 22.Na2 Bb7 23.c3 Nd7 24.f4?

I played this to prevent …e5. However, I have it prevented tactically. Since time is of the essence, it was more accurate to continue with my own plan and play 24.Nc1. If 24…e5, then 25.Bf5 wins White a pawn.


I had expected 24...Ra8, in which case I planned to improve the positions of my King with 25.Kf2 and my Knight on a2 by moving it to c1, then b3. With the text Black plans to exchange off his inferior Bishop for mine on d3, a really nice idea.

25.Nc1 Ra8 26.Nb3 Ba4 27.Nc5 Nxc5 28.bxc5

White has a new passed pawn: c5

28...Rc6 29.Ra1

If 29.b4, then 29…Bb5. The text was designed to prevent …Bb5 to keep the a6-pawn backward and isolated.

29…Bb3 30.Ra5 f6 31.Kf2 Kf7 32.Re1

After 32.Ke3 e5, I could not find a clear path for progress for White.

32...Rac8 33.Rea1 e5?

Better was 33...Bc4 34.Bxc4 dxc4 35.Rxa6 Rxc5 36.Re1=. The text, Black’s first real mistake, finally allowed White a path to a likely victory.


I missed the following win of a pawn: 34.Bxa6 R8c7 35.fxe5 Rxc5 (The point is that if 35...fxe5 36.R1a3! and Black can’t cover the Bishop by placing a Rook on the b-file. Black’s Bishop must therefore move, after which White plays b4 winning a pawn and probably the game.) 36.Rxc5 Rxc5 37.exf6 Kxf6 38.Ke3 and White has good winning chances due to the extra pawn.


34...Rxc5 35.Rxc5 Rxc5 36.Rxa6 and Black is still in the game, though White retains the initiative.


35.fxe5!? fxe5 36.Bxa6 is still winning for White for the same reasons explained last move.

35...Rxc5 36.Rxc5 Rxc5

Better was 36...gxf4+ 37.gxf4 Rxc5 38.Rxa6 exf4+ 39.Kxf4, though White still has an edge.

37.fxe5 fxe5 38.Rxa6 e4 39.Be2 Kg7 40.Kd4?

Much better for White is 40.Ra3 Bc4 41.Bxc4 Rxc4 42.Ra5±

40...Rc7 41.Rb6 Ba2 42.Ba6?!

I erroneously head for a drawn Bishop endgame. I had better chances in a Rook endgame, e.g. 42.b4 Bc4 43.Bxc4 Rxc4+ 44.Kxd5 Rxc3 45.Kxe4 Rc2 46.h4, though with careful play Black should still be able to draw.

42...Rf7 43.Rb7 Rxb7 44.Bxb7 Kf6 45.b4 Bc4 46.b5 Ke6 47.b6 Kd6 48.Bc8 Kc6 49.b7 Kc7 50.h4 gxh4 51.gxh4 Bb5

I had been counting on 51…Ba6?, after which 52.b8(Q)+ wins for White.


Disappointed, I offered a draw here. To my amusement Black refused it. Nevertheless, neither side has any winning chances now.

52…Bc6 53.Kd4 Bxb7 54.Bxb7 Kxb7 55.c4 e3 56.Kxe3 dxc4 57.Kd4 Kc6 58.Kxc4 Kd6 59.Kd4 Ke6 60.Ke4 Kf6 61.Kf4

Black finally recognizes he has no win. I wondered if he realized I could give him the h-pawn for free and still draw a pawn down effortlessly. Anyway, Black played a near perfect game all the way through move 33, giving me no real chances. Between moves 34 and 40 though I did have a way to win a pawn and likely the game. I am troubled by my inability to visualize the winning line at those points. Nevertheless, congratulations to Randall for making the most of his opportunities and playing so well. I have little doubt Randall will soon be a B-player.


A final word. I love, love, love this new time control! Game in 75 with a 30 second bonus per move ensures time will never be a deciding factor in a chess game. This allows for chess play in its purest form. The 1850s inroduction of the chess clock was designed to prevent one player from simply outsitting the other, but time pressure has always marred the game since then because of the introduction of the clock as a factor. This time control finally resolves that issue and brings the contest back to pure chess. The game will be decided by the position on the board, not the clock.

Game 26: Columbia Round 1

Ashland XXXI
E91: King's Indian, Classical 6.Be2, unusual replies including 6...c5 and 6...Bg4
White: Benjamin Caiello (2032)
Black: Dan Quigley (1807)
Columbia, SC, Round 1, Jan 3, 2013

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 O-O 6.Be2 Nc6?!

How embarrassing! This is my first game after a long layoff in tournament chess and despite having played over hundreds of classical King’s Indian Defense games, many quite recently, I screw the move order up here. I want to play the normal move 6…e5 here, and after 7.0-0, then …Nc6, which is the main line. I am a bit nervous about playing on Board #1 as the underdog, and my DGT clock is not keeping time the way I thought I had set it. So, I play this move distractedly. Fortunately, the Knight move here is not terrible or losing, just unintended. There are 7 moves here that have been played over 800 times in this position. 7…Nc6 is sixth most popular, just ahead of 7…c6.


Okay, this is a bit of a surprise. My database informs me 7.0-0 and 7.d5 are the most popular here. I hoped for 7.0-0, which after 7…e5 just transposes. However, 7.d5 is the move that tests Black. White is batting a hefty 70% after 7.d5, which is understandable: 7…Nb4, 7…Nb8, 7…Na5, and 7…Ne5 are all not comfortable for Black.


This is the automatic reaction to a premature White Be3, and is good here as well.


My database shows the position after Black’s seventh was reached 12 times. In none of them did White play 8.0-0, allowing the exchange and doubling of pawns. Most prevalent is 8.Bg5 as in a similar Sicilian Najdorf line: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cd 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 Ng4 7.Bg5. After 8.Bg5 h6 7.Bh4 White has weakened Black’s Kingside as compensation for the loss in time.

8...Nxe3 9.fxe3 e5

There is nothing wrong with this move, per se, but my mental attitude is wrong. I am still trying to play along standard King’s Indian lines. It is at this point that I should just say to myself, okay, I know nothing about this position now and I am on my own. I have to think for myself and work out the position’s principles for myself from here on. Appealing to me now in retrospect is 9…b6, …e6, …a6, and …Bb7. White will be hard pressed to find a way to attack with his crippled pawn center if Black just sits back and makes sound non-weakening moves. Black can look for a way to take action against White’s central pawn mass later.


An odd looking move that seems out of place here, but White is hoping for …exd4, fixing his pawn structure problems.


I was happy to get this move in. Normally Black has to work harder to play …f5 in the KID. However, I am still not thinking for myself. Best is 10…exd4! 11.exd4 f5, shattering White’s center. According to chess programs, Black then has a real edge in every possible line, of which there are many.

11.d5 Ne7 12.b4 Bh6

I expected the threat to win material with Bh6xe3 to be stronger than it was. After the game, Ben suggested 12…f4, which after 13.exf4 exf4 brings the g7-Bishop to life. However, as Ben correctly pointed out, 13.Qd3 is okay and equal for White.


I now saw that after 13…fxe4 14.Nxe4 Nf5, White had the perfectly playable 15.Rb3, but in the meantime I found a way to put additional pressure on e3.

13…fxe4 14.Nxe4

A comfortable square for the white knight.


This is weakening, but my idea was to bring Black’s Queen to b6 to pressure e3. Better was 14...Nf5 15.Rb3 b6 with a playable game.

15.dxc6 Nf5?

After 15...bxc6 Black could well hope to play on, e.g. 16.Nxd6 Nf5 17.Nxf5 Bxf5 and Black has the two Bishops to compensate for being down a pawn.


This move was completely unexpected somehow.


I thought this answer clever, but best was16...Kh8 17.cxb7 Bxb7 18.Qxb7 Rb8, which is also nevertheless hopeless.


Devastating. The game is over. Not even Ben’s post mortem suggestion of 17…Be6 saves Black, e.g. 18.Qxe6 dxe5 19.Rxf5 gxf5 20.Bh5 fxe4 21.Qxf7+ Kh8 22.cxb7 Rb8 23.c5 +-

I apologized to Ben for not giving him a better game and hoped he had not had to drive in too far for this one. Ben said he enjoyed the game and the exercise of having to find 17.Nxe5. He sure played the middlegame in good tactical style.

Game 25: Columbia Round 5

Ashland XXVIII
C18: French: 3 Nc3 Bb4: Main line: 7 h4 and 7 Qg4
White: Dan Quigley (1812)
Black: Adam Shaw (1860)
Columbia, SC, Round 5, G90, Aug 9, 2012

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Ba5

I have played this move as Black on a few occasions myself on a lark and in speed chess. I think the defense unsound for high level chess though. The following server based game was my last effort with the move, and the one that convinced me to make it my last: 6.b4 cxd4 7.Nb5 Bc7 8.f4 Nh6 9.Nf3 0-0 10.Bd3 Bb6 11.Ng5 f5 12.exf6 Rxf6 13.Nxh7 Rf7 14.Qh5 Qe7 15.0-0 a6 16.f5 Nxf5 17.Bg5 Qd7 18.Rxf5 exf5 19.Re1 axb5 20.Nf6+ 1-0 Riton (2360) - Quigley,D (2490),, 2008. What a crush by White!


I have no doubt 6.b4 is objectively strongest, but I could not remember the lines. This move seems sensible enough and I felt confident I could find my way to a good position over the board.

6...Bxc3+ 7.bxc3 Ne7 8.Qg4 0–0 9.Bd3 Nbc6

White has achieved a promising position against model Black play after 5...Ba5 and should now have good attacking chances on the Kingside.


But physically defending pawns is not the way to begin an attack. I made this Bishop move now because I was concerned that Black would have three attackers on e5 (Queen on c7, Knights on c6 and g6) and so I would need three defenders. If I waited, I worried Black would get in ...Ng6 and my Bishop would never get to f4. However, I had nothing to fear, e.g.: 10.Nf3 Qc7 11.Qh5 Ng6 12.0-0 Ncxe5? 13.Nxe5 Qxe5 14.Bxg6+- This is an important attack pattern to remember when attacking a French Defense kingside. It is not yet clear where White’s dark-squared Bishop belongs yet, but in a French Defense it is almost never happy on f4. The lesson this game has really brought home to me is that White’s e5-pawn should almost always be defended tactically.

10...Qa5 11.Ne2 Ng6 12.Qh5 Qxc5 13.0–0 b6 14.h4

This thrust accomplishes nothing. It is time for White to admit he has nothing and just play 14.Be3 followed by 15.f4 with a long maneuvering game to follow.


This move came as a complete surprise, and I still don’t fully understand it. Why would Black let me exchange the crippled c3-pawn for his healthy one at d5?

15.cxd4 Nxd4 16.Ng3??

This dumb move should have cost me the game. I thought I had a large advantage and a nearly winning Kingside attack. So I tryied to keep attackers on the board. If I were looking at the position more objectively and realized Black was fully equal I would have been happy to exchange with 16.Nxd4!? Qxd4 and 17.Bg3= or there is the trappy 17.Be3!? and Black can’t play 17…Qxe5 because of 18.Bxg6. There is that pattern again!


Here is another nasty surprise move. If the d3-Bishop leaves, the Bishop on f4 hangs. Adam is really playing well here.

17.Be3 Bxd3 18.cxd3 Qd5 19.Ne4

I am still 100% in attack mode and looking only at 20.Ng5 and 21.Qxh7#, but this is far too easy for Black to defend. I needed to force myself to leave Fantasy Island to deal with Black’s threats, both to my e5-pawn, and to my back ranks. Even then, Black’s game is preferable, e.g.: 19.Rac1 Nb3 20.Rcd1 Qxe5 with a strong initiative for Black.


Forcing a safe simplification into a won game. Black could also be greedy with 19...Nxe5 20.Bxd4 Qxd4 21.Rae1 Nxd3, but this leaves a lot of strong White pieces on the board. He takes the safest course instead and settles for less of an objectrive advantage.

20.Rad1 Nxe3 21.fxe3 Qxe5 22.Qg4??

White is down a pawn for no compensation, but this move loses the game instantly. There was nothing better than 22.Qxe5 Nxe5 23.Kf2 with a difficult endgame defense in store for White.

22...f5 0–1

Game 24: Columbia Round 4

The Columbia chess club sponsors a tournament that meets for one round every Thursday night. There is no prize money, and the entrance fee is nominal, two dollars for the tournament in order to cover the expense of rating the tournament. This arrangement is to my mind ideal. The type of person who is attracted to and excited by the prospect of winning a $40 prize for a $10 entry, or a $250 prize for a $60 entry fee, is not the type of person I have much regard for. I mean, don't most of us have jobs in which we earn $30,000 to $100,000 per year? Who needs to play for chump change prize money like this as an extrinsic motivator? It's insulting. This prize fund mentality is the product of a male mind, no doubt one reason why so few women find tournament chess at all appealing.

Games like poker and roulette are meaningless without an extrinsic motivator like money, but chess is not poker. Playing chess carries its own value. Bridge players in tournaments (and these typically dwarf the number of participants in chess tournaments) pay $10 per session (which lasts about three hours) for the privelege to play and do not compete for any prize money at all. They play for their standings in the tournament, for the love of the game, and for the chance to match wits and skill with other good players and the prestige of winning. I do not think chess should be any different. We care about our standing in a tournament, whether we win or lose, and we love the game too. People who play bridge for no money are usually of a more distinguished sort (business leaders, attorneys, financial consultants) than the typical scruffy, hygenically-challenged, prize-seeking, chess tournament player who gets titillated by the prospect of coming away with a few dollars more than he spent. It does not have to be this way. Eliminate prizes, I say!

I played in the final two rounds of the mid-summer tournament.

Ashland XXVIII
C63: Ruy Lopez, Schliemann Defense
White: George Morton (1583)
Black: Dan Quigley (1812)
Columbia, SC, Round 4, G/90, Aug 2, 2012

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 f5

The Schliemann Defense. In my database Black has a higher winning percentage with this defense than with any other. Nevertheless, it does feel somewhat unsound.

4.Nc3 fxe4 5.Nxe4 d5 6.Nxe5

The main line, which is strong and good for White according to the programs. White’s winning percentage is 59.8 here as well, about 4 percent more than most openings. Stll, this position is fun to play.

6…dxe4 7.Nxc6 bxc6

7…Qd5 and 7…Qg5 are less discredited in theory than the text, but I saw a line at the board I wanted to play after this move.

8.Bxc6+ Bd7 9.Qh5+ Ke7 10.Qe5+ Be6 11.Bxa8 Qxa8 12.Qxc7+ Ke8

I judged this move to give the most pieces maximum flexibility.

13.0–0 Nf6 14.Re1?

I can understand why George would want to move his Rook to the same file my King is on. However, the move does not meet the concrete demands of the position. Not only does it weaken f2, and this fact will soon come in to play, but it gives Black an idea for how to proceed in his game. To find the concrete demands in the position, both sides must (as Silman states) look at the differences. The biggest one is material, not King safety. Materially in pieces Black has an edge 23-22. Even more significantly Black has five pieces to White’s four. However, White has a big pawn edge, specifically 7-4. Pawns get more valuable when they advance as long as they can generate good promoting chances. Since Black does not have enough pawns and must use pieces to stop White’s pawn advances, White’s attack plan is clear. Every move possible that he can make, all other concerns equal, should be a pawn move. 14.d4 is best. White is protected tactically from Black ruining his pawn structure with 14…exd3 by 15.Re1! Qd5 16.Bd2, which threatens Rxe6 and Re1. Black has no real answer to this. Therefore, after 14.d4, Black would have to play as he does in the game with …Be7, …Kf7, and then try to find a use for the h8 Rook. Black has some chances in this latter line, but White’s position is preferable.


Unnecessary right now. Black would be better advised to give priority to …Be7 and …Kf7 to solve his e-file problems. These moves are needed for certain. It is less clear that …Qd5 will really help. After 14...Be7, White creates the most problems for Black with 15.b3.


The mistaken move I anticipated when I made my last move. The line that tests White’s entire line of play is 15.d3!? I don’t think Black has an adequate response to this.

15...Kf7 16.Qxa7+ Be7 17.Qe3

If White had foreseen the pressure Black could now place on f2 he would have taken precautions and given preference to 17.h3 Ra8 18.Qe3 Rc8 19.d3 with a small edge.

17...Bc5 18.Qb3??

This decision plays right into Black’s hand. It is difficult to find, but White now has only one path to equality and that starts with giving back a pawn 18.d4!! Bxd4 19.Qd2 and Black now can’t make progress because after 19…Ng4 20.Qf4+ Black gets to check on c7 unless White retreats with 20…Nf6 in which case White can play 21.Qd2=


Black totally misses that he can end the game right now with 18...Bxf2+ 19.Kxf2 Qf5+ 20.Kg1 Bxb3 21.cxb3 Qc5+ 22.d4 exd3+ 23.Be3 Qc2–+


After the more defensive minded 19.Qg3!? Black still has a lot to prove before he can show any advantage.


Black has a mate threat


The only chance for White to prolong the game was with 20.d4!? exd3 21.Be3 dxc2 22.Bxc5 Qxc5 23.b4ยต


More accurate was 20...Qh5, after which a forced mate in twelve follows: 21.Re1 Bxf2+ 22.Kf1 Qf5 23.Re2 Ng4 24.Rxe4 Be3+ 25.Ke2 Qf2+ 26.Kd3 Rd8+ 27.Qd5 Rxd5+ 28.Kc4 Re5+ 29.Kd3 Rxe4 30.b3 Bxd2 31.c3 Qe3+ 32.Kc2 Qxc3+ 33.Kd1 Re1#


Also losing is 21.Qa6 Bc8 22.Qc4 Ng4


21...Bd4 22.Rb1 Bc4 was more efficient

22.Bb2?? Bxh2+?

22...Qh5 was a simpler and quicker way to reach the goal 23.h3 Qxe2–+


23.Kxh2 would allow White to play on 23...Qh5+ 24.Kg1 Qxe2 25.Qb6=


Now the game is over.


Terrible, but the game is lost in any case: 24.Ke1 Bxe2 25.Kxe2–+

24...Rxf6 25.d3

25.Qa7 what else? 25...Bxe2+ 26.Kxe2 Qh5+ 27.Kf1 Bg3–+

25...exd3 26.Rd2 dxc2+

A more elegant finish was 26...Qxf2+ 27.Rxf2 d2#

27.Ke1 Qe5+

It’s mate in two: 28.Qe4+ Qxe4+ 29.Re2 Qxe2#


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Game 23: Greenville Round 3

South Carolina Open
C52: Evans Gambit
White: Dan Quigley (1839)
Black: Suhas Madiraju (1684)
Greenville, SC, Round 3, May 26, 2012

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4 Bxb4 5.c3 Ba5 6.Qb3 Qe7 7.0-0 Nf6 8.d4
The normal book move for White is to play Ba3, either now or last move. I am not so certain the Bishop does not belong on g5 though. So I deferred this decision.


My opponent is a 12-13 year old boy who had been moving slowly since move 4. Apparently, the very common Evans Gambit was brand spanking new to him. Oh boy! Black's eighth move is an elementary tactical mistake. 8...0-0 instead is normal and fine. I was now certain I was not playing an under rated child whose rating had not yet caught up to his skills. Unfortunately, this child was playing up a section in this tournament, something he lacked the skill or maturity for. This decision was made by someone with too much money and too little judgement. Did someone want to discourage this kid by having him lose every game? Did someone really think he was a new Bobby Fischer?

9.d5 Nd8 10.Qb5+ Bd7 11.Qxa5 Nxe4 12.Re1 f5 13.Bb5?!

I believed exchanging my bad Bishop off to be good strategy, but there is no hurry. 13.Nbd2 b6 14.Qb4 Nf6 15.a4 keeps the material advantage and patiently begins a build-up of pressure.

13...c6 14.dxc6 Nxc6 15.Qc7?

I needlessly complicate my life. Retreating the Queen to a3 or a4 and buckling down to play good technique chess was all that was required for the point. Unfortuantely, I had no respect for my opponent at this point, and little to no interest in this game. Watching myself make silly mistakes like this was very frustrating.

15…Rc8 16.Qxb7 Nc5 17.Qxc8+ Bxc8 18.Bxc6+ Bd7 19.Bg5 Qf7 20.Bxd7+ Nxd7?!

There was no reason to retreat the Knight 20...Qxd7 21.Be3 Na4 22.c4 0-0 is perfectly equal.


Not the most accurate move. 21.Na3 was better, keeping Nb5 open as an option and the d-file clear for a Rook. White would start to have some pressure again.

21...0-0 22.Nb3 f4 23.Rad1 h6 24.Bh4 g5 0-1

According to computer programs, 25.Rxd6 is completely equal, both materially and positionally. I was attempting to concentrate hard to find the best move in this position and was weighing the consequences of taking on g5 both ways or playing Rxd6. While sitting across from me waiting for my move, my immature opponent chose to start playing the air drums for the third or fourth time in the game. Was this boredom on his part, or an intentional attempt to distract me? After giving the matter some thought, I decided it really did not matter. It was not my job to do what his parents had neglected to do, namely teach the child the most basic courtesy or sportsmanship. The village Mrs. Clinton says it takes needs some other candidate than me to raise the lad. Disgusted, I left the board while my opponent continued his air drum solo and withdrew from the tournament.

I mentioned the problem of this child's behavior to the tournament director, Walter M. High, as I withdrew. He could not have been less interested. Mr. High is apparently one of those non-chess-playing directors who consider his responsibilities over once the computer makes the pairing for him and he attaches a piece of tape to the printout. I understand the Greenville club actually paid Mr. High for his services, importing him from North Carolina. This director never once stepped foot in the playing room to ensure his tournament was running smoothly, or to see if the children running around the room could be made to behave more appropriately. I just hope the Greenville club got a senior citizen discount when they hired him. The parents of the children running around the tournament room banging into the chess playing adults (the fact there is no room between chair rows of players never seems to daunt a child) were nowhere to be found either! I suspect they were availing themselves of the easy babysitting opportunity.

This experience troubled me enough for me to suspend my participation in large tournament chess. Why spend serious cash in entry fees just to have a misbehaving child permitted to ruin things? Why does it seem I am the only person in South Carolina who thinks children's participation in adult tournaments is a bad idea? Don't get me wrong. I am all for youth chess, but children have plenty of age-appropriate scholastic tournaments to play in, especially in South Carolina. Let children play there! Only older children with true demonstrated potential and sufficient maturity to self control should be permitted in adult tournaments. I think it a good idea to make the minimum for youth participation in an adult tournament be a 1600 rating, or a minimum age of 15, either one. Playing up a class (for youth especially) should not be permitted. Give a child something to play for by earning the right to play in the higher class. Don't just give the privelege away! Adopting these measures and setting expectations with tournament directors that they are responsible for actually directing their tournaments would go a long way towards solving problems I perceive in an otherwise outstanding South Carolina chess program.

Game 22: Greenville Round 2

South Carolina Open
D02: Chigorin Defense
White: Tim Brookshear (2027)
Black: Dan Quigley (1839)
Greenville, SC, Round 2, May 26, 2012

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.g3 Bg4 4.Bg2 Nf6 5.0–0

5.Ne5 is another line for White that has had considerable success.


I want to play ...Bh3 without having Ne5 inconvenience my Queen. Players who have had this position before, and computer programs, prefer 5…e6, but then White can play a Catalan with 6.c4, an opening I don’t know much about.

6.c4 Bh3

Staying with my idea, which fails to quite equalize. White is way ahead in development. Another typical Chigorin style line is 6...dxc4 7.d5 Bxf3 8.exf3, which gives White an initiative too, though not as large a one.


With 7.Bxh3!? Qxh3 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.e4 Nb6 10.d5 Black would be embarrassed.

7...Bxg2 8.Kxg2 e6 9.Ne5 Nxe5

This may seem an over reaction to White’s threat to capture my Knight on c6, but ignoring White’s plan and continuing my own development with 9...Bb4 10.cxd5 exd5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Qa4 loses a pawn.

10.dxe5 Nd7 11.cxd5 Nxe5 12.Bf4 Ng6 13.Qa4+ Qd7 14.Qxd7+ Kxd7 15.dxe6+ Kxe6?!

Rather than sacrifice a pawn, Black should allow a disruption to his pawn structure, play 15...fxe6, and try to force White to find a winning path. Perhaps 16.Rfd1+ Bd6 17.Be3 would be the best way for White to go then.


There was nothing wrong with 16.Bxc7!? Rc8 17.Nb5 a6 18.Nd4+ and White is up a pawn with the better position too.


Controls b5

17.Rfd1 c6?

Taking control of d5, but creating a weakness on b6, the importance of which I had not forseen. Fighting for the other central light square e4 was more important since White will be wanting to get his pawn majority rolling by playing a pawn to the square. Nevertheless, even after 17...f5 18.Bd4 Rd7, 19.e4 is still on for White. Black makes no further mistakes, but nevertheless now gets ground down by excellent technique from White.

18.f4 f5 19.Bb6 Be7 20.e4! Bd8 21.Bc5 Be7 22.exf5+ Kxf5 23.Bxe7 Nxe7 24.Rd7 Rhe8 25.Re1

My resignation may seem premature, but 25.Re1 Nd5 26.Rxe8 Rxe8 27.Nxd5 cxd5 28.Kf3 looked hopeless. I would have a considerably worse position due to my inactive Rook and three pawn islands to White’s two. Tim played an error-free controlled game. My hat is off to him.


Game 21: Greenville Round 1

South Carolina Open
B06: Modern Defense
White: Dan Quigley (1839)
Black: Michael Anderson (2046)
Greenville, SC, Round 1, May 25, 2012

1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nf3 d6 4.Nc3 a6 5.Be3 Nd7 6.Qd2 b5 7.0–0–0 Bb7

This position has been reached five times according to my database, White winning four. In all but one game White chose to continue 8.d5. I have no idea what could motivate one to play that move. I don’t like the idea of committing White’s pawn structure that way. I am also considering trading off the dark-squared Bishop if given the chance. I don’t want my central pawns on White if the light-squared Bishop is the only one I possess.

8.Bd3 Rc8

My database game continued with 8…h6, but my opponent’s move seems more reasonable if he wants to continue to avoid the more normal looking …Nf6.

9.h4 h5?!

I was happy to see this move. The problem with playing …h5 to stop a raiding White h-pawn is that it leaves g5 vulnerable to a piece invasion. The only way to get rid of a piece on g5 is to play the horribly weakening …f6. If I have this position as Black I play 9...c5 and allow 10.h5. It is not at all clear that White gets anything from having a pawn on h5.

10.Ng5 c5 11.dxc5

My computer program gives White a slight edge after 11.e5 dxe5 12.dxc5 Ngf6. I am not comfortable giving up the center this way however.

11...Nxc5 12.Rhe1

12.Ne2 Nf6 13.f3 Nfd7=


12...Qa5!? 13.Kb1 Bxc3 14.Qxc3 Qxc3 15.bxc3 Na4 and Black's position is preferable.

13.Qxd3 Bxc3 14.bxc3 Nh6 15.f4 f6??

The Knight on g5 finally induces Black to commit a grave error. Perfectly fine is 15...0–0 16.f5 Qa5 17.Kb2=


White misses his chance. He has a beautiful sacrifice to play in 16.e5 fxe5 (16…fxg5 17.Qxg6+ Nf7 18.exd6 Rxd6 19.Bc5 Rxc5 20.Rxe7+ Qxe7 21.dxe7 Rd5 22.hxg5 and Black can’t stop the pawns backed by White’s Queen.) 17.Qxg6+ Kd7 18.Qe6+ Kc6 19.fxe5 winning


This move equalizes for Black. The isolani on c3 becomes a target.


One move too late. Best was 17.Kb2 Kf7 18.f5 Ng4=

17...Nf5 18.exd6 Qa3+ 19.Kb1 Qxd6 20.Qxd6 exd6 21.Bc5

21.Nd4!? should be considered. After 21...Kd7 22.Nxf5 gxf5 23.Bd4 Bxg2 24.Bxf6 White has good chances of holding on for a draw.

21...Kd7! 22.Bb4

Better was 22.Bf2, though after 22…Rhe8 23.Nd4 Rxe1 24.Rxe1 Nh6 Black’s attack is still strong.

22...Rhe8 23.Nd4 Ne3 24.Rd3

White is lost now no matter what, e.g.: 24.Nb3 Nxd1 25.Rxd1 d5 and Black wins.

24...Nc4 25.Red1 a5?

The quickest win for Black was 25…Be4 26.Rg3 a5. The text gives White a chance to save the game in complications.


Under pressure I failed to see my chance and take the final step towards the grave. Necessary was 26.Nxb5! d5 (26…axb4 27.Nxd6 Nxd6 28.Rxd6+ Kc7 29.cxb4 Re4 30.R1d4 and the outcome is far from certain.) 27.Na7 Rb8 28.Bc5 Re2 and Black still has White under pressure, but play can continue.

26...Be4 27.Nxb5

I now noticed that after 27…Bxd3 White can not play 28.Rxd3 because he will be mated. White must therefore lose a piece. There was no point to continuing.