Monday, September 29, 2008

The Beginning of His Best Year (Part 4)

Concluding an account of Diemer's success at the 1956 Premier Reserve Master Tourney at the Beverwijk Open...

In round eight Diemer faced another Yugoslavian master:

E. J. Diemer - V. Jovanovic
Beverwijk, 1956, Round 8
Alapin-Diemer Gambit Declined

1.d4 d5 2.e4 e6 3.Be3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.Nf3 Be7 8.Bd3 cxd4 9.cxd4 Qb6 10.Qd2 Nb4

Black begins a time-wasting excursion on the Queenside that comes to nought.  
11.Be2 f5 12.Nc3 a6 13.h4 Qa5 14.Kf2 b5 15.Ng5 Qb6 16.a3 Bxg5
[Necessary, since 16...Nc6? leaves the e-pawn loose.]
17.hxg5 Nc6 18.Bh5+ Ke7
[18...g6? 19.Bxg6+]  
19.g4 fxg4 20.f5! Ndxe5 
[20...exf5?? 21.Nxd5+]  

[21...gxf6? 22.gxf6+ Kf8 23.dxe5 d4 24.Bh6+ Kg8 25.f7# --Diemer)]  
22.dxe5 d4 23.Kg3 g6
[23...dxe3?? 24.Qd6+ Kg8 25.f7#] "What follows next is truly ingenious defense" --Diemer.  
24.Bxg6 Bb7 25.Bxh7 Nxe5 26.g6 dxe3 27.g7+ Kf7 28.gxh8Q Rxh8 29.Qh2!
Diemer saw the Black Queen going to c7, and then threatening mate through Ng6+ and Qf5+.  
29...Qc7 30.Qh6 
[30.Qh5+?? Ng6+]  
30...Ng6+ 31.Kxg4 Qc4+ 32.Kh3 Bg2+ 33.Kg3 Rxh7 34.Qxh7+ Kxf6 35.Qh6 e5 
"And now something happened which I had never experienced...for a move and a half I no longer saw the Black Queen on c4!," wrote Diemer.  
36.Rhf1+ Bxf1 

And here Diemer was ready to play 37.Rxf1+?? when the Black Queen reappeared to him on c4. What to do? Why not another sacrifice?  
37.Nd5+! Ke6 38.Qxg6+ Kxd5 


39...Kd4 40.Qxc4+ bxc4 41.Rxf1 e2 42.Re1 Ke3 43.a4 e4 44.Ra1 a5 45.Kg4 Kd2 46.Kf4 

[White wins after 46...e1Q 47.Rxe1 Kxe1 48.Kxe4]
47.Rh1 Kc2 48.Kxe4 Kxb2 49.Re1 Kb3 50.Kd4 c3 51.Kd3 c2 52.Kd2 Kb2 53.Rc1 Kb3 54.Kxe2 Kxa4 55.Kd2 Kb3 56.Rxc2 a4 57.Kc1 1-0

With one round remaining, Diemer had only to avoid a loss to win sole first place. In still another Sicilian Defense, "ein Schachmeister, der niemals auf Remis spielte," a chess master who never played for a draw, drew in 37 moves with another Amsterdam player named Donk. Diemer finished with 6.5 points, one-half point ahead of the second-place finisher, Crabbendam.

Although he went the entire tournament without playing a single Blackmar-Diemer Gambit, for E. J. Diemer it was a good beginning to what turned out to be a very good year.

(This article originally appeared in BDG World 20, May-June 1985.)

The Beginning of His Best Year (Part 3)

Continuing an account of Diemer's success at the 1956 Premier Reserve Master Tourney at the Beverwijk Open... In round three Diemer won again, over one Dr. Bergsma of Rotterdam, in an opening Diemer called a Sicilian Counterattack: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.c3 Nf5 5.Qe2 Qc7 6.0-0 Ng4 7.h3 h5, 0-1 in 62 moves. Another chance with White in round four brought no BDG; Diemer won in 40 moves against a King's Indian by a player from Amsterdam named Frank. The streak ended in round five when another of his Sicilian Counterattacks lost in 34 moves to Ditt of Bremen in a game Diemer termed an "echtes Kunstwerk," a genuine work of art. Then in round six, against a master from Portugal (who later became an international master) came the following game. E. J. Diemer - J. Durao Beverwijk, 1956, Round 6 Hübsch Gambit 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4 Nxe4 4.Nxe4 dxe4 5.Bf4
5...Nd7 6.f3 exf3 7.Nxf3 Nf6 8.Bc4
(to provoke Black's next)
8...e6 9.0-0 Be7 10.Qe1 0-0 11.Bd3 Nd5 12.Be5 Bf6 13.c4 Bxe5 14.dxe5 Nf4 15.Bc2 Qe7 16.Qe3 Ng6 17.Ng5 h6 18.Nxf7 Rxf7 19.Bxg6 Rxf1+ 20.Rxf1 Bd7 21.Rf7 Qd8 22.Qf3 1-0
Black saw no way to stop mate, e. g., 22...Bc6 23.Rxg7+
In round seven Diemer lost a 43-move Sicilian Defense to Crabbendam, a young master from Amsterdam.
There was a young master named Crabbendam, Who came down from the city of Amsterdam, In chess quite a schemer, He mastered Master Diemer, And said,"What a damn fine player I am!"
So after seven rounds, with two left to play, Diemer stood in great shape with five wins and two losses. His eighth-round game was to produce fireworks. (To be continued)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Beginning of His Best Year (Part 2)

Continuing an account of Diemer's success at the 1956 Premier Reserve Master Tourney at the Beverwijk Open... In the first round Diemer drew the Black pieces against the Yugoslavian master Pavlovic. The opening presaged all his attempts at gambits in Beverwijk--he couldn't give a pawn away! Pavlovic,B - Diemer,EJ Beverwijk (1), 1956 Soller Gambit Declined (? A40 1.d4 e5 2.d5 Bc5 3.e4 Qh4 4.Qe2 Nf6 5.Nd2 Ng4 6.Nh3 d6 7.Nb3 Bb6 8.g3 Qe7 9.f3 Nf6 10.Nf2 h6 11.Be3 c5 12.Nd2 Bc7 13.Bg2 a6 14.a4 b6 15.0-0 Nbd7 16.f4 Rb8 17.f5 Nh7 18.g4 Ng5 19.h4 Nh7 20.Nf3 Nhf6 21.Nh2 Nh7 22.Nf3 Nhf6 23.Qd2 h5 24.g5 Ng4 25.Bh3 Nxe3 26.Qxe3 Nf8 27.Kh2 Qd8 28.Rg1 g6 29.f6 Bxh3 30.Nxh3 Nd7 31.Nf2 Qc8 32.Nd2 Ra8 33.Ra2 Kf8 34.Qe2 Kg8 35.Rga1 Kh7 36.Nf1 Nb8 37.Ng3 Ra7 38.Kg2 Kg8 39.Qc4 Rb7 40.c3 Kh7 41.b4 Bd8 42.Qe2 cxb4 43.cxb4 Rc7 44.Rb1 Nd7 45.Rbb2 a5 46.bxa5 bxa5 47.Rb5 Nc5 48.Rxa5 Nb3 49.Rb5 Nc1 50.Qb2 Nxa2 51.Qxa2 Rc2 52.Qb1 Qc3 53.Rb7 Bc7 54.Qd1 Ra8 55.Nxh5 Rxa4 56.Ng3 Raa2 57.Ngh1 Rc1 58.Qg4 Qe1 0-1 How was this a Soller Gambit Declined when the f-pawn was not offered? Presumably, Diemer would have offered it had White taken the e-pawn on move two; at any rate he labeled this game a Soller Gambit Declined. In round two, Diemer saw another of his custom gambits declined (or more accurately put, avoided). Diemer, EJ - Tilstra Beverwijk (2), 1956 Alapin-Diemer Gambit Declined [A40] 1.d4 e6 2.e4 c5 3.c3 d5 4.Be3 cxd4 5.cxd4 Nc6 6.Nc3 Qa5 7.a3 Nf6 8.b4 Nxb4 9.axb4 Qxb4 10.Bd2 Bd7
11.e5 On 11.Nxd5? Tilstra planned 11...Nxd5 12.Bxb4 Bxb4+ 13.Ke2 Nc3+ 11...Qxd4 12.Nf3 Qg4 13.exf6 gxf6 14.h3 Qg7 15.Nb5 Bc5 16.Nc7+ Ke7 17.Nxa8 Rxa8 18.Rc1 b6 19.Nh4 a5 20.Bd3 a4 21.Qe2 Kd8 22.0-0 a3 23.Bb5 Bxb5 24.Qxb5 Qf8 25.Bc3 d4 26.Rfd1 Qd6 27.Bxd4 Bxd4 28.Qc4 e5 29.Nf5 b5 30.Qxf7 1-0
(To be continued)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Beginning of His Best Year (Part 1)

E. J. Diemer was at the top of his playing form in the mid-1950s, and as Gunter Müller notes in A Life for Chess, the year 1956 was his most successful. He began that year with a fine victory in the Premier Reserve Master Tourney of the Beverwijk (Holland) Open, winning clear first over severa1 European masters. He finished the nine round robin with six and one-half points, a half point ahead of his nearest rival. Although he won all his games with White, he did not play a single BDG--his opponents wanted no part of one. Nevertheless, in the foreword to his book, Vom ersten Zug an auf Matt, Diemer credits his success in this tournament as leading directly to the publication of his book. It is also interesting that when he began the first round on January 7, 1956 Diemer had not played a tournament game for almost two years--since Easter, 1954. As he traveled to the site, Diemer was a guest of chess friends and clubs along the way. In his Blackmar Gemeinde he relates how on the evening of January 4th he visited at the club of his friend William Buis in Haarlem, and played the following game against the “Blitzmeister” of Holland. Diemer,EJ - Schneiders Haarlem, 1956 Lemberger Countergambit (Game 321 in BDG World) 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 e5
4.Nxe4 exd4 5.Bb5+ c6 6.Bc4 Be7 7.Qe2 Qc7 8.Nf3 Nd7 9.0-0 Ngf6 10.Bxf7+ Kxf7 11.Neg5+ Ke8 12.Ne6 Qd6 13.Nxg7+ Kf7 14.Nf5 Qc5 15.Ng5+ Ke8 16.Ng7+ Kd8 17.N5e6# 1-0
From then until the end of the tournament on January 15th, Diemer got no closer to a BDG than this. The tournament games would not be so easy, of course. (To be continued)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Blackmar's Second Gambit

I've always reserved a special place in my gambiteer's heart for the Staunton Gambit, given its affinity to the Blackmar-Diemer. You don't see it that often in "serious" play, but a nice little game turned up recently in the Michigan Senior Championships.

Santiago,Ray (2000) - Kitts,Gary (1931)
2008 Senior Championships, Michigan (2), 31.05.2008
Staunton Gambit [A82]

1.e4 d6 2.d4 f5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 Nc6 5.Bg5 e5 6.Bb5 Bd7 7.Nge2 Nxd4?! 

8.Nxd4 exd4 9.Qxd4 Bxb5 10.Nxb5 fxe4 11.0-0-0 Be7 12.Bxf6 Bxf6 13.Qxe4+ Kf8 14.Rhe1 g6 15.Nd4 Qd7 16.Ne6+ Kf7 17.Nc5 Qf5 18.Qc4+ Kg7 19.Ne6+ Kh6 20.g4 Qxf3 21.Rd3 Qf2 22.Rh3+ Bh4 
23.Rxh4+! Qxh4 24.Qf4+ 1-0

Blackmar’s thematic f2-f3 is also found in a line in the Staunton Gambit against the Dutch Defense (1. d4 f5 2.e4 fxe4 3.f3). This 1ine, which often results in BDG-like positions, is referred to, appropriately enough, as Blackmar's second gambit. An example from Blackmar himself:

Blackmar,AE - Labry,A 
Staunton Gambit [A82]
(Game 0366 in BDG World)

1.d4 f5 2.e4 fxe4 3.f3 exf3 4.Nxf3 Nf6 5.Bd3 e6 6.Ng5 g6 7.Nxh7 Rxh7 8.Bxg6+ Rf7 9.Bg5 Be7 10.0-0 Kf8 11.Bxf7 Kxf7 12.Bxf6 Bxf6 13.Qh5+ Kf8 14.Qh8+
and White wins.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Did Anybody Get the License Number?

Years ago I had a nice message from the winner of this game, Pierre Théon, thanking me for giving him the taste for playing the BDG. "I hope you like the game," he wrote. "The opening is maybe not correct (I'm a beginner with BDG and played 1 e4 for 15 years) but the sacrifices 13 Nxf7 and 15 Nd6 are worth a look (and it's mate in 21 moves)." Yes, indeed. Théon,P (2145) - Marzolo,C (2435) French Team Championships (11), 1999 BDG, Euwe Defense 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 e6 6.Bd3 c5 7.Bg5 cxd4 8.Bxf6 Qxf6 9.Ne4 Qd8 10.0-0 Be7 11.Ne5 0-0 12.Rxf7 Rxf7 13.Nxf7
With Kxf7 Black's last chance was gone. 13...Qd5 14.Qf3 Qf5 15.Nh6+ gxh6 16.Qg3+ Kh8 17.Nd6
14.Qh5+ Kg8 15.Nd6
15...Bxd6 16.Qxh7+ Kf8 17.Qh8+ Kf7 18.Qxd8
16.Qxh7+ Kf8 17.Qh8+ Kf7 18.Qh5+ Kf8 19.Bg6 Bg5 20.Qxg5
20.Rf1+ Qf4 21.Rxf4+ Ke7 22.Qxg5+ Kd6 23.Rxd4+ Kc6 24.Be4+ Kb6 25.Qd8+ Kc5 26.b4+ Kb5 27.Qa5#
A blunder, but mate is forced anyway, e.g., 20...e5 21.Rf1+ Kg8 22.Qh5 Qxg6 23.Qxg6 Be6 24.Qxe6+ Kh7 25.Rf3 g6 26.Qe7+ Kh6 27.Rh3#
21.Qd8# 1-0
Did anybody get the license number of the truck???
Here's another of Théon's wins I came across today. Black avoids the BDG, entering a Hübsch Gambit, not an easy line for White to meet (although Théon makes it appear easy in this game). Theon,Pierre (2170) - Girard,Eric (2265) Besancon ch-FRA sf (9), 1999 BDG Avoided, Hübsch Gambit 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4 Nxe4 4.Nxe4 dxe4 5.Bc4 Bf5 6.g4 Bg6 7.Ne2 e5 8.Be3 Nd7 9.h4 h5 10.Ng3
Two strong masters fought from this position with 10...hxg4 11.h5 Bh7 12.Qxg4 exd4 13.Bxd4 Nf6 14.Bxf6 Qxf6 15.0-0-0 Bd6 16.Kb1 Qf4 17.Qh3 f5 18.Be6 Rf8 19.Ne2 Qe5 20.Qb3 Rd8 21.f4 Qf6 22.Rhg1 Qe7 23.Nd4 c6 24.Bc4 b5 25.Nxb5 Bxf4 26.Nd4 Qd7 27.Be6 Qc7 28.Nxf5 Rxd1+ 29.Rxd1 Rxf5 30.Bxf5 Bxf5 31.Qg8+ Ke7 32.Qxg7+ Ke6 33.Qg8+ Ke7 34.Rf1 Qe5 35.Rd1 e3 36.Rd8 Bd7 37.Qf8+ Ke6 38.Qg8+ Ke7 39.Qf8+ Ke6 40.Qg8+ Kd6 41.Qg4 e2 42.Qxd7+ Kc5 43.Qxa7+ Kc4 44.Qa4+ Kc5 45.Qa5+ Kc4 46.b3# 1-0 Diebert,C (2360)-Rao,V (2490) Ohio State CS 1989, Game 693 in BDG World.
11.gxh5 Nxh5 12.Qg4 Qd6 13.0-0-0 Nxg3 14.dxe5 Ne2+ 15.Bxe2 Qe6 16.h5 Bh7 17.Qxe6+ fxe6 18.h6 gxh6 19.Bh5+ Ke7 1-0.
Black resigned, since 20.Bc5 is mate.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Young IM Wins a BDG

Here's another one for filing under "masters don't play the BDG." If you've played the BDG very long you may have played this game, or one very similar. The mating attack against this Euwe Defense is, well, not original, but still satisfying. Miroslav Houska (2364) - David Moskovic (2260) Smith and Williamson Young Masters (2) Guildford, 07.1999 BDG, Euwe Defense 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4 dxe4 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 e6 6.Bg5 Be7 7.Bd3 Nbd7 8.0-0 0-0 9.Qe1 c5 10.Qh4 g6 11.Ne5
This demonstrates how quickly things can go bad with one careless move. Black's best try was 11...Nxe5 12.dxe5 Nd5; (11...Nd5 12.Nxf7 Bxg5 13.Nxg5; 11...cxd4 12.Ne4)
Of course the mate is even shorter with 12...Kxf7 13.Qxh7+ Kf8 14.Bh6#
13.Bxg6 hxg6 14.Qh8+ Kxf7 15.Qh7+ Kf8 16.Bh6# 1-0

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Better than a BDG

Just kidding, of course. I've been away from chess for a few years and haven't kept up with the new kids on the block. But a couple of days ago I watched (live online) the 17-year-old phenom from Norway, Magnus Carlsen, demolish Aronian in a game in the Bilbao Masters Grand Slam. Wow! Enough pawn sacs to put a BDG player to shame--and with an exchange sac thrown in to boot. Here's how Gambit, the New York Times Chess Blog summed up the game:
"Carlsen was clearly aggressive against Aronian, but Aronian, who was Black, also baited Carlsen by playing the double-edged Meran system of the Semi-Slav Defense. For a while, the game followed the path of Game 4 of the 2006 world championship match between Topalov and Kramnik. But, on move 12, Aronian varied, taking a pawn and neglecting his development. Carlsen followed up with another pawn sacrifice and before long Aronian’s king was trapped in the center. Aronian’s position was precarious, but not lost until he overlooked a temporary exchange sacrifice by Carlsen that quickly led to an attack that cost Black a rook. The resulting endgame was hopeless and Black soon resigned."
Here's the game. Carlsen,Magnus (2775) - Aronian,Levon (2737) Bilbao Masters, 08.09.2008 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 Bb7 9.a3 b4 10.Ne4 Nxe4 11.Bxe4 bxa3 12.0-0 Nf6 13.Bd3 axb2 14.Bxb2 a5 15.d5!?
15...Nxd5 16.Ne5 Nf6 17.Qa4 Bb4 18.Nxc6 Bxc6 19.Qxc6+ Ke7 20.Rfd1 Rc8 21.Qf3 Qb6 22.Bd4 Qb8 23.Ba6 Rcd8 24.Bb7 h5 25.h3 h4 26.Rab1 e5 27.Rxb4
27...axb4? 27...exd4 28.Rbxd4 Rxd4 29.exd4 Rd8 30.Qa3+ Qd6 31.Qxa5 28.Bc5+ Ke6 29.Ra1 Rd6 30.Bxd6 Kxd6 31.Qc6+ Ke7 32.Ra8 Qd6 33.Qxd6+ Kxd6 34.Rxh8 b3 35.Ba6 Nd7 36.Rxh4 Nc5 1-0.
Black had 13 seconds on his clock, White had 22 minutes 53 seconds. The tables were turned in yesterday's game, and Carlsen was run off the board by Ivanchuk. But Carlsen still holds on to first place in the event as another round starts today. He also holds the unofficial number one rating in the world!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Center Counter to BDG -- Part 3

Here's our final example of the transposition from a Center Counter to the Blackmar-Diemer, again played by now international master Bela Molnar. It's another Euwe Defense, with the thematic challenge of White's d-pawn with c7-c5.

Molnar,Bela - Kadas,Gabor
Salgotarjan Balazs mem op Salgotarjan (7), 1997
BDG, Euwe Defense

1.e4 d5 2.d4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 e6 6.Bd3 c5 7.dxc5 Bxc5 8.Bg5

The identical position occurred in a well-known Diemer game, but with Black a tempo behind because he had twice moved his Bishop--from f8 to e7 and then capturing the pawn on c5. That game went  9.Qe2 Be7 10.0-0-0 Nd5 11.Bb5+ Bd7 12.Rxd5 exd5 13.Nxd5 f6 14.Nxf6+ gxf6 15.Bxf6 Bxb5 16.Qxb5+ Kf7 17.Qh5+ Kxf6 18.Qh6+ Kf7 19.Ne5+ Kg8 20.Qe6+ Kg7 21.Qf7+ Kh6 22.Ng4+ Kg5 23.h4+ 1-0 Diemer - Terzi, Rastatt 1953.
8...Be7 9.0-0 0-0 10.Qe1 Nc6 11.Qh4 g6  12.Rad1 Qb6+?? 13.Kh1+- Kg7 14.Ne5!

14...Ng8 15.Nxf7! Qd4+- (15...Rxf7? 16.Rxf7+ Kxf7 17.Qxh7+ Kf8 (17...Ke8 18.Bxg6+ Kf8 19.Qf7#) 18.Bxg6 Ne5 19.Bh6+ Nxh6 20.Qxh6+ Kg8 21.Qh7+ Kf8 22.Qh8#)
15.Bxf6+ Bxf6 16.Qxf6+ Kg8 17.Qxe5 Qxb2 18.Rb1 Qa3 19.Nb5 Qe7 20.Nc7 f6

21.Nd5! 1-0.
21...fxe5 22.Nxe7+ Kg7 23.Rxf8 Kxf8 24.Nxc8 Rxc8 25.Rxb7+-

Friday, September 5, 2008

Center Counter to BDG -- Part 2

More Molnar, more Center Counter transposing to the Blackmar-Diemer, this time to the Euwe Defense (5...e6). Molnar,Bela - Szaz,Ferenc HUN-chT2 Hungary, 1997 BDG, Euwe Defense 1.e4 d5 2.d4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 e6 6.Bg5 Be7 7.Bd3 h6 8.Bf4 Nd5N 9.Nxd5 exd5 10.Qd2 Be6 11.0-0-0 Nd7 12.Rde1 g5?
13.Rxe6 fxe6 14.Bg6+ Kf8 15.Qe2 Kg7 16.Qxe6± Rf8 17.Bxc7
17...Qxc7?? 17...Rf6 18.Qxf6+! Nxf6 19.Bxd8 Rxd8± 18.Qxe7++- Kxg6 19.Ne5+ Kh5 19...Nxe5 20.Qxc7 Nd3+ 21.Kb1+- 20.g4+ Kh4 21.Qh7 21.Qa3! 21...Qd6 22.Qd3 Qxe5 23.dxe5 Kxg4 24.Rg1+ Kf4 25.Qd4+ 1-0.
25...Kf5 26.Qg4+ Kg6 27.Qxd7+-