Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Maltese Falcon Attack

Happy Thanksgiving to all. I've been out of town for a few days and have not posted for a bit, partially due to the time away, partially to a little hiccup when a garbage truck backed into my truck. I'm fine; my truck's not. Today I want to bring back a little article by Tim Sawyer from an old BDG World issue about one of the strange characters of American chess. I first became aware of Claude Bloodgood through a column he wrote for the American Postal Chess Tournaments Newsletter, probably in the late 70s. It was called The Chess Swindler, the Chess Hustler, or some such title. I think I first saw a game he claimed to have played with Humphrey Bogart in that column. Bloodgood left the scene in 2001, and took many unanswered questions about his life and chess exploits to his grave. You can find a Wikipedia article on him here, with several links to more info. But for now, enjoy this little piece by Tim Sawyer, author of the BDG Keybook. Claude, here's looking at you, kid. The Maltese Falcon Attack By Tim Sawyer I confess. I have dabbled in a few non-BDG openings for variety. Most of the time I play 1.d4 (over 600 recorded games as White). Now and then I go for 1.e4 (over 200 times as White), every once in a while I venture a flank opening with 1.c4, 1.f4, or 1.g4 (about 50 times each). About a year ago, APCT announced a thematic tournament with the Grob (1.g4). When I saw Claude Bloodgood had entered, I entered too, especially to play him via correspondence. Bloodgood is in prison for life, and there is no condoning the crimes for which he has been convicted. Yet, I found this 72-year-old man to be a very friendly opponent, and we carried on a lively discussion from postcard to postcard.BogartI mentioned to Tom Purser that I was playing Bloodgood. Tom inquired about the famous Humphrey Bogart game via 1.d4 Nf6 2.g4. Bloodgood told me that it had been published. Our games ended with three draws and one Bloodgood win. We said our good-byes and I figured I'd never hear from him again. Then there comes this fascinating note from which I quote: Dear Tim, You asked me about the Bogart Poisoned Spike Game some time ago. I mentioned that it had been published. It was originally published in the New York Daily News circa 1935, later in the New York Times. I first became aware of it when Bogart visited the U.S. Naval Hospital at Camp Pendleton (Calif.) in late 1955. I was playing chess when he and several other Hollywood actors arrived on the ward where I was recovering from foot surgery. He watched me play for a while and then discovered I was playing for money. He got a great big grin and asked if I'd care to play him for a small wager. The games were blitz (no scores), but he held his own (I think we broke even after 8 games) and gave me a phone number to call him when I could get out of the hospital for a day or so. When I called, I got someone else, but arrangements were in place and a car was sent for me. I played Bogart (and some others) at beach houses in Santa Monica one time and Van Nuys several times. Bogart took real pride in his chess ability and was a born hustler. I am enclosing two Bogart games (1 against me) which I hope you will find interesting. Same opening line in Bloodgood-Lowmaster also enclosed... Best, Claude Here are the games he sent in what Bloodgood calls the "Maltese Falcon Attack," clearly a cousin of the BDG: 2359 / Dutch Defense Humphrey Bogart Claude Bloodgood Santa Monica 1955 1. d4 f5 2. Nf3 e6 3. e4 fxe4 4. Ng5 d5 5. f3 exf3 6. Qxf3 Nf6 7. Bd3 g6 8. Nxh7 Rxh7 9. Bxg6+ Rf7 10. 0-0 Bg7 11. Bg5 Nbd7 11. .. Kf8 12. Bxf7 Kxf7 13. Qh5+ Kg8 14. Bxf6 Bxf6 15. Qg6+ Bg7 16. Rf7 1-0. Claude Bloodgood - Robert Lowmaster, Camp McGill, Japan 1956 (Game 2360). 12. Nc3 Kf8 13. Bxf7 Kxf7 14. Rae1 c5 15. Nxd5 exd5 16. Qxd5+ Kg6 16. .. Kf8 17. Qd6+ Kg8 18. Re7 Ne8 19. Qe6+ Kh8 20. Rxg7 1-0. Humphrey Bogart - NN, Santa Monica 1955, (Game 2361) 17. Bxf6 Bxf6 18. Re6 Qh8 19. Qf5+ Kf7 20. d5 Qh4 21. c3 Qg5 22. Qh7+ Qg723. R1xf6+ Nxf6 24. Re7+ Kxe7 25. Qxg7+ Kd6 26. Qxf6+ Kxd5 27. Qd8+ 1-0. As for my experiments in the Grob, I scored quite well as White (78%, same as with the BDG), and better that I deserved. I won one section that Bloodgood did not enter. I also managed a couple draws versus strong postal players in other events, such as BDGer Tim Just and author Roy DeVault. Alas, my Grob games were very ugly; my wins were not completely deserved. I won nine games when my opponents either set their board up wrong, or had severe health problems, or they just quit. Two players gave me a draw when I was losing. My assessment of 1.g4 opening theory is that both sides are lost. I have gone back to playing 1.d4! This article originally appeared in BDG World 77

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Two BDGs from the Netherlands

The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit appears to have a certain affinity for The Netherlands. Diemer completed Vom Ersten Zug an auf Matt there, and the book was also first printed by an Amsterdam publisher. The country seems to have more than its share of BDG players as well. 

Years ago I printed several BDGs by the Dutchman Theo Hommeles. Shortly thereafter I established contact with Theo and elicited a promise for more of his games. Here are two of those games, played against stiff competition. These and several more of Theo's games appeared in BDG WORLD 76.

Notes by Theo Hommeles

2308 / BDG, Langeheinecke Defense
Theo Hommeles
IM Gert Ligterink (2435)
Netherlands KNSB 1992

Gert Ligterink was champion of Holland about a decade ago and a member of the strongest team in Holland, the team of Volmac/Rotterdam. For eleven years they were almost invincible.

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nc3 d5 3. e4 dxe4 4. f3 e3 5. Bxe3 e6 6. Bd3 Nbd7 7. Nge2 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. Qe1 c5 10. Rd1 cxd4 11. Bxd4


The same stratagem as in the game against Chuchelov is displayed. White doesn't want to lose his white-square bishop.

11. ... Qc7 12. Qh4 Bc5 13. Ne4 Nxe4 14. Qxe4 Nf6 15. Qh4 e5 16. Bxc5 Qxc5+ 17. Kh1 Be6 18. Nc3 h6 19. a3 Rad8 20. f4 Rd4 21. Ne2


With 21 ... Ra4 22. Nc3 in mind I offered a draw.

21. ... Rd7 22. b4 Qc7 23. fxe5 Qxe5 24. Nf4 Bg4 25. Rde1 Qg5

Not 25 ... g5? 26. Qxh6.

26. Qf2 b6

Either this or 26 ... a6 Gert thought.

27. h4 1-0.

I still remember Korchnoi's roaring laughter when he heard Ligterink's explanation. 

2309 / BDG, Vienna Defense
Theo Hommeles
E. Skoblikov
Netherlands KNSB 1992

Another game played in the highest class of the Dutch team championships. Skoblikov was also playing for Rotterdam since that year they had two teams competing on the highest level (in a total of ten). The combination in this game is the finest I have ever played.

1. d4 d5 2. e4 dxe4 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. f3 Bf5 5. fxe4 Nxe4 6. Qf3 Nd6!

I'm convinced that 6 ... Nxc3 7. bxc3 Qc8? 8. Bd3 is very good for white.

7. Bf4 e6!

Stronger than the unnecessary 7 ... c6

8. O-O-O Nd7 9. g4 Bg6 10. Qe3 Be7 11. Nf3

Or 11. d5 e5 12. Bxe5 Nxe5 13. Qxe5 and black is better.

11. ... h6 12. Ne5

Here 12. d5 was an alternative

12. ... Bh7 13. h4 c6 14. d5

Something has to be done.

14. ... exd5 15. Nxc6 bxc6 16. Bxd6 Nf6 17. Bc5 Ne4!

It seems that white will remain a pawn down. But that day I was in a very creative mood.

18. Nxe4 Bxe4 19. Bd3! Bxh1 20. Re1!! Be4

An equal endgame arises after 20 ... 0-0 21. Bxe7 Re8 22. Bxd8 Rxe3 23. Rxe3 Rxd8 24. Re7 a5 25. Rc7

21. Bxe4

And now again black can enter equality with 21 ... dxe4 22. Qxe4 0-0. There seems to be a way though in which black maintains a pawn up. When I started anticipating black's next move my heartbeat accelerated and even became audible. I quickly moved away from the board for I didn't want my opponent to notice my excitement. And yes he did it! He made the best move which would turn out not to be good at all, but instead lose instantly!

21. ... Kf8!??


22. Bh7!!

A silent move. So hard to find for humans. I have been testing the position on anyone with ears. Utter simplicity for a computer though. Mine needs about zero seconds!

22. ... Qd7(?)

Relatively best was 22 ... Bd6 23. Qe8+! Qxe8 24. Bxd6+ Qe7 25. Bxe7+ Ke8 26. Bf5 (threatens mate starting with Bb4+) f6 27. Bb4+ Kf7 28. Re7+ Kg8 29. Bg6 etc.

23. Bxe7+ Ke8 24. Bf5 Qb7 25. Bb4+ Kd8 26. Ba5+ 1-0.
These games appeared in BDG World 76.

Friday, November 14, 2008

More Teichmann Defense

My last post featured a BDG from the recent Senior World Chess Championship in Bad Zwischenahn, Germany. The game was a Teichmann Defense which went:

1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 Bg4 6.h3 Bh5 7.g4 Bg6 8.Ne5 Nbd7 9.Qe2

As I wrote, 9.Qf3 is usually seen here. When I first played through this game Qe2 seemed new to me. I was surprised to find I'd actually published several games with it years ago in BDG World.

A natural question here is what happens after 9...Nxe5? In No. 52, the July-August 1992 issue, Steve Kelly annotated the game Nick Schoonmaker (2245) - Stevis Chakis (2165), G/20, played on the old GEnie network in 1992:

The text, along with its follow-up, allows White's pieces tremendous activity.
10.dxe5 Nd5 11.Nxd5 Qxd5 12.Bg2 

12...Qa5+ 13.Bd2 Qb6 14.0-0-0 0-0-0?

14...e6 is absolutely mandatory. Castling is usually done for safety, but the text is about as safe as running through a forest fire with a gallon of gasoline in each hand.
15.Be3 Rxd1+ 16.Rxd1 Qa5 17.e6!+-

White strikes the match, and Black at once explodes into flames.
17...fxe6 18.Bxa7 Bf7 (18...Qg5+ 19.Kb1 does not help at all) 19.Qd3 and Black cannot cover both d7 and d8. Instead, GEnie onlookers got to witness the most spectacular finish.
18.Rd8+ Kxd8 19.Qd2+ 1-0.
Black burns to a crisp, as 19...Kc8 20.Qd7+ Kb8 21.Qd8+ is mate.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

BDGs in the 2008 Senior World Chess Championship

IM Larry Kaufman won the 2008 Senior World Chess Championship in Bad Zwischenahn, Germany, and with it, the Grandmaster title. He finished the 11 round Swiss tournament in a tie for first with Romanian GM Mihai Suba with nine points each, but was awarded first on tie breaks. Kaufman, who earlier won the US Senior Championship, is also well known as a member of the team behind Rybka, the current world champion chess program. Good news indeed. And more good news for us common folk who like to play the Blackmar-Diemer: one of these old geezers (at my age, I speak with authority on geezers) played a couple of BDGs that made it into Crowther's latest issue of TWIC. Both were played by a German named Karl-Heinz Bondick, age 64, who finished with 6 points and in the top third of a field of 304 players. Here's one of his BDGs—I'll add the second in a later post. Bondick,K (2175) - Piastowski,K (1997) Senior World Chess Championship, Bad Zwischenahn, Germany (3), 30.10.2008 BDG, Teichmann Defense [D00] 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 Bg4 6.h3 Bh5 7.g4 Bg6 8.Ne5 Nbd7 9.Qe2
9.Qf3 is usually seen here. When I first played through this game Qe2 seemed new to me. I was surprised to find I'd actually published several games with it years ago in BDG World (watch for my next post).
9...c6 10.h4
Not good. Better tries would be 10...Nb6!? 11.h5 Bxc2 12.Qxc2 Qxd4 13.Qf5!?; or 10...Qa5 11.h5 Be4 12.Nc4 Qb4 13.a3 Qxc4 14.Qxc4 Bxh1±
11.Nxg6± fxg6 12.Qd3 Qc7 13.Qxg6+ Kd8 14.Rh3 e5 15.Be3 exd4 16.Bxd4 Qf4 17.Ne2
17...Qe4 is only slightly better 18.Qxe4 Nxe4 19.Nf4±
18.Bxf6+ Nxf6 19.0-0-0+ Kc8 20.Qf7
20...Bb4 21.Rg3 Qh5 22.Bh3+ Kb8 23.Qxg7 Re8 24.Qxf6 a5 25.Bg4+-
21.Rb3 1-0.
21...Nd7 22.Rxd7 Qxd7 23.Bh3

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Unsolved Mystery

In my old magazine, BDG World, I occasionally published some historical "mystery," some missing chess game or incongruous information or so. I would usually set my imaginary sleuth, Peter Atzerpay, "the well-known private detective and strong amateur chessplayer," to work on the case. Often readers would solve the mystery before Pete.

Here's such a case that remains unsolved.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Kasparov Plays a Blackmar-Diemer Gambit (sorta)

My previous post mentioned a line in the Trompowsky Attack that can transpose into a (near) Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. That got me to thinking about this line, so I took a look at such games that might have been played since I last examined it years ago. This little goody turned up. I never thought I'd find a game where Kasparov played a BDG, even if it was in a simul, even if it was only an "enhanced" BDG—that is, a transposition that gives White a move up over the normal BDG. But here it is:

Kasparov,Garry (2817) - Carneiro,Marco Paulo
Sao Paulo 450th anniversary  simultaneous
Sao Paulo, 21.08.2004
Trompowsky to BDG Teichmann Defense [A45]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 Ne4 3.Bf4 d5 4.f3 Nf6 5.e4 dxe4 6.Nc3 exf3 7.Nxf3 Bg4
The Teichmann Defense to the BDG, but with the Bishop developed to f4 representing the extra tempo gained in the transposition from the Trompowsky.
8.h3 Bxf3 9.Qxf3 c6 10.0-0-0 e6 11.Bc4

11...Be7 would blunt the forthcoming 12.d5
12.d5 cxd5 13.Nxd5

13...exd5 is better: 14.Rhe1+ Be7 15.Bxd5 0-0 16.Bxb7 Bc5=

14...exd5 is still better: 15.Rhe1+ Be7 16.Bd6+- and play might go 16...Ne5 17.Bxe5 0-0 18.Rxd5 Bg5+ 19.Kb1 Qb6 20.Bxg7 Rae8 (20...Rfe8 21.Rf1; 20...Kxg7 21.Rxg5+) 21.Red1]
15.Bxb7 Ra7 16.Rxd7 Qf6 17.Rhd1 Be7 18.Rxe7+ Qxe7 19.Qc6+ Kf8 20.Bd6 g6 21.Bxe7+ Kxe7 22.Qc5+ Kf6 23.Qxa7 Rf8 24.Qd4+ e5 25.Qd6+ Kg7 26.Qxe5+ Kg8 27.Qf6 h5 28.Bd5 Kh7 29.Bxf7 1-0.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Grandmaster Plays a New BDG

If you're a Blackmar-Diemer Gambit fan it's always interesting—well maybe even a bit exciting—to come across a new BDG played by a grandmaster, even a little-known one. Here's one played a few weeks ago in a Russian tournament. White is a Ukrainian grandmaster. Black is a Russian FIDE master.

White plays a rare line in the Teichmann Defense, loses the initiative at move 19, and struggles to hang on to a draw in an endgame where Black had winning chances. 

Kislinsky,A (2501) - Slugin,S (2425)
Zvenigorodskaya Open A
Zvenigorod RUS (5), 27.09.2008
BDG, Teichmann Defense

1.d4 d5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.e4 dxe4 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 Bg4 6.h3 Bh5 7.g4 Bg6 8.Bf4 e6 9.Ne5

This line, with Bf4, is quite rare in the Blackmar-Diemer. The position is more likely to occur in a line in the Trompowsky, after 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 Ne4 3.Bf4 d5 4.f3 Nf6 5.e4 dxe4 6.Nc3 exf3 7.Nxf3 Bg4 8.h3 Bh5 9.g4 Bg6 10.Ne5 e6, reaching the above position, but with an important difference: Black has lost a tempo with an extra Knight move. It's now White's move. One such game continued 11.Qf3 c6 12.0-0-0 Be7 13.h4 Nd5 14.h5 Nxf4 15.hxg6 fxg6 16.Nf7 Kxf7 17.Qxf4+ Ke8 18.Qe4 Bg5+ 19.Kb1 Qe7 20.Bc4 Kd7 21.Rde1 e5 22.dxe5 Kc7 23.e6 Na6 24.Qe5+ Kc8 25.Bxa6 bxa6 26.Rd1 Bf6 27.Qa5 Qb7 28.Rd7 Qb6 29.Qxb6 axb6 30.Ne4 Be5 31.Ng5 Re8 32.Rhd1 h5 33.Nf7 Bc7 34.Rxc7+ Kxc7 35.Rd7+ Kb8 36.Nd6 Ra7 37.Nxe8 hxg4 38.Rd8+ Kb7 39.Nd6+ Kc7 40.Rd7+ Kb8 41.Rxa7 1-0, Indbryn-Royset, NOR-chT Tromsoe,1998
9...Nd5 10.Nxd5 Qxd5 11.Kf2 Nc6 12.Bg2 Qxd4+ 13.Qxd4+/- Nxd4 14.c3 Nb5
14...Bc5!? 15.cxd4 Bxd4+ 16.Kg3 0-0-0+/-
15.Bxb7+- Bc5+ 16.Kf3 Rb8 17.Bc6+ Ke7 18.a4 Nd6 

The game turns here. Better is 19.b4 Bxb4 20.Nxg6+ hxg6 21.cxb4 Rxb4 22.Rac1+/-
19...Be4+ 20.Bxe4 Kxd7 21.b4 Nxe4 22.Kxe4 Bd6 23.Rhd1 Ke7 24.Be3 a6 25.Kd3 f6 26.Kc4 h5 27.g5 f5 28.Bd4 e5 29.Re1 Ke6 30.Ra2 e4 31.Bxg7 Rhg8 32.Bf6 Be5 33.b5 Bxf6-+ 

34.gxf6 Kxf6 35.Kc5 Rge8 36.c4 Re6 37.Rd2 axb5 38.cxb5 f4 39.Rd4 Kf5 40.Rd7 e3 41.Rf7+ Ke4 42.Rf1 

Black should win with 42...e2 43.R7xf4+ Kd3-+
43.Kc4 e2 44.R7xf4+ Ke3 45.R4f3+ Kd2 46.Rd3+ Kc2 47.Rc3+ Kb2 48.Re1

48...Rd8 49.Rcc1 Re4+ 50.Kc5 Rxa4-+
49.Rcc1-/+ Re3 50.a5 Rxh3 51.a6 Ra3 52.Kb4 Re4+ 53.Kc5 Re6 54.Rc4 Rf3 55.Kd5 Re7 56.a7 Ra3 57.Re4 Rxe4 58.Kxe4 Kc3 59.Rxe2 Kc4 60.Rc2+ Kxb5 61.Rxc7 Kb6 62.Rh7 Rxa7 1/2-1/2

Monday, November 3, 2008

More Mad Dog

We all know we don't see the Blackmar-Diemer played that much in "serious" chess, so I was a bit surprised to come across this game played a decade ago in the second round of a tournament in England. Does the audacity (a popular word these days) of this variation account for Black's tenth move? Black is not a weak player. Now he is a FIDE master with a rating of 2327. But then he reacted badly in his encounter with a mad dog. Ormrod,Joe P - Webb,Laurence (2225) Aintree Open (2), 05.06.1998 BDG, Bogoljubov Defense, Mad Dog Variation [D00] 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4 dxe4 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 g6 6.Bc4 Bg7 7.h4 c5
8.h5 gxh5 9.Ne5 e6 10.Bg5
Inexplicable. Clearly better was 10...Qxd4 11.Qe2 Nd5 12.Nxd5 Qxe5 13.Qxe5 Bxe5 14.Nf6+ Bxf6 15.Bxf6 Rg8 16.Rxh5 a6 (16...Rxg2 17.Rxh7 Rg1+ 18.Bf1+/=) 17.Rxh7 Nd7 =/+
11.Nxc6+- bxc6 12.Qf3
12...Qxd4 gets complicated quickly, e.g., 13.Qxc6+ Nd7 14.Qxa8 Qe5+ 15.Be2 Qxg5 16.Qxc8+ Ke7 17.Qc6 Qg3+ 18.Kf1+-
13.0-0-0 Rb8 14.Bb3 c5?
Not good, but I can't find a move here to prevent the loss of a piece.
15.Ne4 Bb7 16.Nxf6+ Bxf6 17.Qxf6 Qxf6 18.Bxf6 Rg8 19.Ba4+ Kf8
Okay, but 20.Rxh5 is better 20...Bd5 (20...Bxg2 21.Rxc5) 21.Rxh7 Rb4+- with 22.Rdh1!? or 22.b3.
20...Rc8 21.Bd6+ Kg7 22.Rxh5 Be4 23.Bxc5 Kg6 24.Rdh1 Bxg2 25.Rh6+ Kf5 26.R1h5+ Ke4
26...Rg5 27.Be7 Rxh5 28.Rxh5+ Kf4 29.Rxh7+-
27.Rh4+ Kd5 28.Bxd4 Be4 29.c3+-
27...e5 28.Bd3+ Kd5 29.b4
29...Rg6 30.Rxh7 Rf6 31.Rg5 and Rhh5+-
30.Rd6# 1-0