Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Capablanca-Marshall, New York 1918

Marshall launches a fierce counterattack by means of a subtle opening novelty (now known as the Marshall Gambit), but Capa’s chess instinct enables him to thread his way through the pitfalls.

Capablanca - Marshall
New York, 1918

C89 RUY LOPEZ, Marshall Gambit

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. 0-0 Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 0-0 8. c3 d5

Marshall’s innovation, sacrificing a pawn for development and a strong attack.

9. exd5 Nxd5 10. Nxe5 Nxe5 11. Rxe5 Nf6 12. Re1 Bd6 13. h3 Ng4 14. Qf3 Qh4 15. d4 Nxf2


16. Re2

An example of the dangers in the position — for both sides — may be seen in the variation 16. Qxf2? Bh2+ (but not 16. … Bg3? 17. Qxf7+! Rxf7 18. Re8+) 17. Kf1 Bg3 18. Qe2 (now 18. Qxf7+ Rxf7 is a check) Bxh3 19. gxh3 Rae8 with a decisive advantage.

16. Bd2 (Euwe) is also not bad, but if you’re interested in the theory of this line, consult a book on the subject. In many lines, the analysis now extends past move 30!

16. … Bg4 17. hxg4 Bh2+ 18. Kf1 Bg3 19. Rxf2 Qh1+ 20. Ke2 Bxf2 21. Bd2 Bh4 22. Qh3 Rae8+ 23. Kd3 Qf1+ 24. Kc2 Bf2 25. Qf3 Qg1 26. Bd5 c5 27. dxc5 Bxc5 28. b4 Bd6

Or 28. … Be3 29. Bxe3 Rxe3 30. Nd2 Qxa1 31. Qxe3, and White is winning on material.

29. a4 a5 30. axb5 axb4 31. Ra6 bxc3 32. Nxc3 Bb4 33. b6 Bxc3 34. b7 Re3 35. Bxf7+, Black resigns

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Spielmann-Flamberg, Mannheim 1914

Rudolph Spielmann was in many ways a man out of his proper time. Dubbed “the last Knight of the King’s Gambit,” he sought a return to the swashbuckling style on Anderssen and Morphy.

Spielmann - Flamberg
Mannheim, 1914

1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. f4 d5 4. fxe5 Nxe4 5. Nf3 Bg4 6. Qe2 Nc5 7. d4 Bxf3 8. Qxf3 Qh4+ 9. g3 Qxd4 10. Be3 Qxe5 11. 0-0-0 c6
(diagram) 12. Nxd5 cxd5 13. Rxd5 Qe6

No better was 13. … Qe4 14. Bb5+ Nc6 15. Bxc5 Qf3 16. Re1+.

14. Bc4 Qe4 15. Bxc5, Black resigns

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Nimzovich-Tarrasch, St. Petersburg 1914

Perhaps the long and bitter rivalry between Nimzovich and Tarrasch -- the former never missed an opportunity to vilify what he called "the Pseudo-Classical School" -- stemmed from this early game, in which Tarrasch gioves another example of the double-Bishop sacrifice. (See also Lasker-Bauer.)

Nimzovich - Tarrasch
St. Petersburg, 1914


1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 c5 3. c4 e6 4. e3 Nf6 5. Bd3 Nc6 6. 0-0 Bd6 7. b3 0-0 8. Bb2 b6 9. Nbd2 Bb7 10. Rc1 Qe7 11. cxd5 exd5 12. Nh4

Provoking a weakness in the Black King's field, but the cost -- loss of time, opening of thje e-file -- is too high.

12. … g6 13. Nhf3 Rad8 14. dxc5

Opening the a1-h8 diagonal and hoping to exploit the static weakness of the "hanging pawns," but Tarrasch demonstrates their dynamic strength first.

14. … bxc5 15. Bb5 Ne4 16. Bxc6 Bxc6 17. Qc2 Nxd2 18. Nxd2


18. ... d4 19. exd4 Bxh2+ 20. Kxh2 Qh4+ 21. Kg1 Bxg2 22. f3

If 22. Kxg2 Qg4+ 23. Kh2 Rd5 and 24. … Rh5+.

22. … Rfe8 23. Ne4 Qh1+ 24. Kf2 Bxf1 25. d5

The White Queen is lost on 25. Rxf1 Qh2+, and 25. Nf6+ Kf8 26. Nxe8 Qg2+ 27. Ke3 Rxe8+ 28. Kf4 g5+ 29. Kf5 Qc2+ 30. Rxc2 Bd3+ leaves Black with an extra Rook.

25. … f5 26. Qc3 Qg2+ 27. Ke3 Rxe4+ 28. fxe4 f4+ 29. Kxf4 Rf8+ 30. Ke5 Qh2+ 31. Ke6 Re8+ 32. Kd7 Bb5# 0-1

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Cleaning the streets

Fugitive criminal chess master Robert Snyder, recently featured on America's Most Wanted, has been apprehended in Belize.

One prominent chess figure who shall not be named reacted to this with "Good for the children of Belize, but we (the USCF) will be getting some more negative publicity." I'm afraid I have to rank the interests of society as a whole above those of the USCF.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Neverending Story

The USCF has issued a call for nominations for a special EB election to fill the positions formerly held by Susan Polgar and Paul Truong. Personally I think five is already too many Board members, but perhaps the EB wanted to close off any chance of P&T making a comeback (dig a hole, fill it up). So far the only announced candidate is Gary Walters of Ohio. He's an active Class A player (well, he took off from 1994 to 2007, but never mind) and correspondence player. He's also a lawyer, whose USCF Forum posts on the Polgar litigation were unusual in that venue for showing good sense. Whether I will vote for him depends on who else is running. Very likely Sam Sloan will slither from under his rock and run again; whether I will vote for him will not depend on who else is running.

The announcement from the USCF web page:

Special Election For Two USCF Executive Board Seats
Due to the revocation of the memberships of Susan Polgar and Paul Truong which took place at the USCF delegates’ meeting this past August, there will be a special election in June to elect two board members to one-year terms. Deadline for receipt of nominating petitions is midnight, January 11, 2010 and they should be sent to Cheryle Bruce at the USCF office, P.O. Box 3967, Crossville, TN 38557. Petitions must include 30 USCF-voting-member signatures, and the filing fee is $250.

Any current USCF member who is not a current USCF employee or designated contractor (see the USCF bylaws for these definitions) can be nominated as a candidate for election to the USCF executive board.

The nomination petitions must contain the dated signatures, printed names and USCF IDs of each voting member, and should contain the following text: We, the undersigned, being voting members of the U.S. Chess Federation, nominate __(candidate name goes here)__ as a candidate for election to the USCF executive board in the 2010 election. We also consent to having our names and USCF IDs published as having signed this petition. A sample nomination form will be made available on the USCF website.

Candidates must consent to be on the ballot, either by signing their own nominating petition or by a separate notice to the USCF.

Any USCF Member who is 16 years old by June 30th of an election year is a Voting Member, providing that person was a current member on May 5th for the entire day, Central Time.

1) Gary Walters has a blog at Looks like good stuff, check it out.

2) While I haven't seen this confirmed, I'm told that Mike Nietman of Wisconsin plans to run again. I rated him as acceptable last time, and see no reason to change that now, though he was a somewhat torpid campaigner.