Friday, December 21, 2012

It's the season...

Well, it's that time of year again. Maybe there won't be so many presents under the tree this year. Have you been good? Maybe so, maybe not, but either way I hope we can all have the chance to do better next year. Let's hope so.

Anyway, it that time of year again, time to trot out the little piece I wrote almost a quarter of a century ago, in defense of the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit:
Many years ago an eight-year old girl, Virginia O'Hanlon, wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Sun, looking for the truth about Santa Claus. The quick response by veteran newsman Francis P. Church, which was printed as an unsigned editorial on Sept. 21, 1897, has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial. Some ninety-plus years later, in BDG WORLD 37, November 1989, I imagined a letter from Virginia's twin brother, Boris, with similar doubts about the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. I provided a parallel answer...
Here is the letter to Boris. Merry Christmas to all, even those who don't play the Blackmar-Diemer.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Emil Josef Diemer, RIP

Today is the 22nd anniversary of Diemer's death on 10 October 1990. After receiving the news of his passing I wrote a short tribute, which surveyed commentary in German newspapers and chess magazines. It originally appeared in the January 1991 issue of BDG World.

You can see the article here.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Running against the wind

Bob Seger and his Silver Bullet Band. I've always liked that. Or Paul Simon's Still Crazy After All These Years--that's another one. Might have been before your time. Last month this old bod completed 76 revolutions around the sun. I tried for a BDG on my birthday, but I didn't have much time, and this first game was the best I could do. It's a trivial game, but it's the best I could do. Tonight I got in a reversed BDG, a Soller Gambit, as some of us old timers might say. It's the second game below.

Anyway, it's a post. I'm slowing down, so will not be posting that often here. I have other interests I want to concentrate my remaining years and energies on, but--always a but--I still have some of Diemer's papers and stuff that I want to put up here. So if you want to check back now and then, if you are a BDG fan, you might find something of interest.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

How many times?

Tonight, while I had the Olympics telecast on in the background, I played a short BDG on the Internet. When it was over, I thought, "how many times?" How many times have I played this mating pattern at the end of a Blackmar-Diemer Gambit? The answer seems to be in the hundreds, although in actual fact it must be only in the tens. But I can't believe that anyone who plays the BDG with any regularity has not encountered this mating pattern time and time again. Have you?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Remembering Nikolajs Kampars

Today is the 40th anniversary of Nikolajs Kampars' death on 5 August 1972. Blackmar-Diemer Gambit fans of a certain age know (or certainly should know) that he did more than any other player to popularize the gambit in the United States.

This year also marked the 50th anniversary of another significant event for Kampars and the BDG. In February 1962 Kampars began his magazine Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. It originally appeared as a four page insert in the Latvian magazine, Chess World, and concentrated on the BDG (and closely related openings) almost exclusively. With the January 1964 issue, Kampars began to publish independently of Chess World. At the same time he expanded his magazine to include openings other than the BDG, and renamed it Opening Adventures. From then until failing health forced him to discontinue publication with the May 1967 issue, Kampars insured that this modest little magazine was true to its name. There were indeed delightful adventures in its pages: gambits of all sorts and sizes, and still plenty of BDGs, of course.

Four years ago I reprinted a short article on Kampars' life. You can see it here, and also play through a few of his games.

And lest you think Kampars was not a "serious" chess player, here is his draw with a young Bobby Fischer.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Pawns just wanna have fun

I've always enjoyed the lines in the Vienna Defense to the BDG where White flings his kingside pawns up the board, helter-skelter. It exemplifies the sheer madness of the opening. Makes you want to shout to the white king, "get some clothes on, for god's sake!" Here's a recent example.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Simplicity in the Gunderam Defense to the BDG

Simplicity is the bane of the gambit player. The more Black can trade down pieces in the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit, the closer he comes to an endgame up a pawn. So it stands to reason that White usually prefers to keep the game complicated. I've lost too many BDGs to count where Black wins by that approach. So that would lead one not to play my sixth move in this game. But in this case it worked out.