Monday, March 30, 2009

Ke2, Kf2, in the Vienna Defense

How about this position? After 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 e6 4.c4 Bb4+

White has opened with four straight pawn moves, and now wins a piece with 5.Ke2! Really.

This comes from that most entertaining writer on chess, Tim Krabbé, and is currently republished at from their archives, a piece called "The Man Who Almost Played 5.Ke2," which first appeared in March 2000. It's a fascinating article you'll want to read (link at end of this post).

Although the first game Krabbé came across with this line was played in 1983, when he went looking for similar games with this theme (he turned up over 30), the earliest game he found was played by, who else, E. J. Diemer. Here's the story from Krabbé:
"Interesting are those cases where Ke2 or Kf2 only seemingly win a piece, or where the choice between the king moves matters. The oldest game where this came up is from 1947:

Diemer – Kopp, Endingen 1947

1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 Bf5 5.g4 Bg6 6.g5 Nd5 7.Nxe4 e6 8.c4 Bb4+

This was the premiere of the standard position in one line of the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit, and it gets a diagram in Diemer’s classic Vom ersten Zug an auf MATT! 9.Kf2 Simply 9.Bd2 is probably best, as neither this king move nor 9.Ke2 wins a piece: 9.Ke2? Nb6 10.c5 Nd5 11.a3 Ba5 12.b4 Bxe4 13.fxe4? Nc3+ The game went 9...Nb6 10.c5? Bxe4 11.fxe4 Bxc5, and Black had saved his piece and won a pawn. This did not keep Diemer from winning the game in his special way: 12.Be3 Be7 13.Nf3 h6 14.g6 Bh4+ 15.Ke2 fxg6 16.Bh3 Qf6 17.Qb3 O-O 18.Bxe6+ Kh7 19.Raf1 Qe7 20.Nxh4 Re8 21.Nxg6 Kxg6 22.Bf5+ Kh5 23.Bg5 Qxg5 24.Qf3+ Kh4 25.Qh3 mate

In a sub-line however, White does win the piece:

Brunold – Strasser, Kempten 1988

1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 Bf5 5.g4 Bc8 6.g5 Nd5 7.Nxe4 e6 8.c4 Bb4+

9.Ke2 9.Kf2 does not work here; 9…Ne7 10.a3 Bd6 11.c5 Be5! 12.Be3 f5 and Black has saved his piece (13.Nc3 f4!) 9...Ne7 10.a3 Bd6 11.c5 and White won."
I had never seen the five-move version of this theme when I published the following BDG in 1983, coincidentally the same year the first game discoverd by Krabbé was played:

Kampars,N - Wehrley,OMJ
Milwaukee, 1955
BDG, Vienna Defense

1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 d5 3.e4 dxe4 4.Nc3 Bf5 5.g4 Bg6 6.g5 Nd5 7.Nxe4 e6 8.c4 Nb6

In my notes to this game in the August 1983 issue of BDG WORLD I wrote this:

"Diemer, Harding, and Studier all warn that 8...Bb4 drops a piece to 9.Kf2, but offer no evidence. I'm skeptical, since it appears that Black can escape any immediate trap on his bishop at b4 with a timely exchange of his other bishop. This may be the early stages of amaurosis schacchistica on my part (I'm reluctant to go against two BDG masters and the other fellow), so I'd be grateful to any reader who can demonstrate the forced win of a Black piece after 8...Bb4 9.Kf2. In any case, the Bishop check is not recommended. 8...Ne7, as played in Tartakower- Simonovic (Paris 1954, 1:0, 59). drew a (!) from Diemer, but in view of his generosity with aurufzeichen, that could be considered damning with faint praise."

[Here's the line I had in mind at the time: 8...Bb4+ 9.Kf2 Nb6 10.c5 Bxe4 11.fxe4 Bxc5

which is actually Diemer-Kopp, above, but with which I was unfamiliar at the time. Diemer actually gives 9.Kf2 a (?) in his note to that game in his book, so I'm not sure where I picked up his verdict that it deserved a !--perhaps in one of his early letters or in his Blackmar Gemeinde, or maybe I just imagined it???]
9.Be3 N8d7 10.h4 Bb4+ 11.Kf2 0-0 12.c5 Nd5 13.a3 Nxe3 14.Kxe3 Bxe4 15.fxe4 Bxc5 16.dxc5 Qe7 17.Rc1 f5 18.Qc2 f4+ 19.Kf2 Ne5 20.Nf3 Ng4+ 21.Kg1 Ne3 22.Qb3 Rad8 23.Bh3 Rfe8 24.Rh2 Kh8 25.Qxb7 e5 26.Qb3 Rb8 27.Qc3 c6 28.b4 h5 29.Rd2 Ng4 30.Rd6 Rbc8 31.Rcd1 Rc7 32.Qd2 Kh7 33.Rd7 Rxd7 34.Qxd7 a5 35.Qxe7 Rxe7 36.Rd6 axb4 37.axb4 Ra7? 38.g6+ Kh6 39.Ng5 Ra1+ 40.Bf1 Ne3?? 41.Nf7# 1-0

Great fun. Play through the games here. Read Tim Krabbé's article here.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Repairing the Blackmar-Diemer?

Now and then a line suffers a theoretical blow, made known in a new book, and then the BDG player has to do his best to find a novelty that repairs the damage. This is true for any opening, but when a BDG player ignores such a gap, he risks a lot more than a Queen’s Indian player. A case study: how to mend a critical BDG variation.

So writes Stefan Bücker in his latest column at The line he sets out to rehabilitate is this: 1 d4 d5 2 e4 dxe4 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 f3 c6! 5 Bc4 exf3 6 Nxf3 Bf5! in the O'Kelly Defense, but which also transposes from the Gunderam and Ziegler.

This has always been a tough nut to crack. Stefan gives it a heroic try, and at the very least provides White some ideas, Black a lot to think about. See what you think. The column is here. Highly recommended.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Another BDG from the US Amateur Team East

Lev Zilbermintz had a pretty good outing at the recent US Amateur Team Championships, scoring 5 of 6 with four wins and two draws, and two of the wins were Blackmar-Diemers. Here's the second one.

Note: I've added a link at the end of post to play through the game and download a copy in PGN.

Zilbermintz,Lev (2010) - Wyatt,Jordan R
US Amateur Team-ch East Parsipanny USA (2), 14.02.2009
BDG, Bogoljubov Defense

1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 g6 6.Bc4 Bg7 7.0-0 0-0 8.h3

This avoids the most common Black defensive lines with Bg4, and discourages the Bf5 lines. 8...b6 Since Bg4 is precluded, Black looks for another way to trade off the Knight on f3. 9.Qe1 Bb7 10.Qh4 Bxf3 11.Rxf3 Nc6 This Knight begins a strange journey that ends in disaster. 12.Ne2 Re8 13.c3 Na5 14.Bd3 c6 15.Bg5 Nb7 16.Raf1 Nd6 This replaces, perhaps unintentionally, the guard on f7 that Black removed with his 12th move. 17.Bh6 b5 18.g4 Nc4?+- 

So much for holding f7. 19.Bxc4 bxc4 20.Bxg7 Kxg7 21.g5 

21...Nh5?+- [Not the best move, but Black is lost anyway. 21...Rb8 22.Qh6+ Kh8 23.gxf6 exf6 24.Rxf6 Qe7 25.Rxf7 Qe3+ 26.Qxe3 Rxe3 27.R1f2 Rxb2 28.Rxa7 Kg8 29.Nf4+-] 22.Rxf7+ Kh8 23.Ng3 Ng7

24.Qf4?+/- [Missing a forced mate with 24.Qh6 Rg8 25.R1f4 Qd6 (or just about anything else) 26.Qxh7+! Kxh7 27.Rh4#] 24...Rg8 25.Qe5 Qd5 26.Rxe7 Qxe5 27.Rxe5 Rae8 28.Rfe1 Rxe5 29.Rxe5 Rb8 30.Re2 Rf8 31.Kg2 Kg8 32.Rf2 Re8 33.Re2 Rf8 34.b4 Rb8 35.Re5 Rb5+- 36.Rxb5 cxb5 37.Ne4 Nf5 38.Kf3 Kf7 39.Ng3 Nxg3? Black surrenders. 40.Kxg3 a5 41.a3 axb4 42.axb4 Ke7 43.Kf4 Ke6 44.Ke4 Kd6 45.d5 Kd7 46.Ke5 Ke7 47.d6+ Kd7 48.Kd5 Kd8 49.Kc6 Kc8? 50.Kxb5 Kd8 51.Kxc4 1-0.

You can play through the game and download it in PGN here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

BDGs from the US Amateur Team Championships

Yesterday The Week in Chess had a few Blackmar-Diemers for a change. I counted five of them, all from the US Amateur Team East championships. Also, for a change, White came out well, winning four of the five. Here's the first one, from an old BDG hand. Zilbermintz,Lev (2010) - Nahum,Lawrence E US Amateur Team-ch East Parsipanny USA (1), 14.02.2009 BDG, Teichmann Defense 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 Bg4 6.h3 Bh5 7.g4 Bg6 8.Ne5 e6 9.Qf3 c6 10.g5 Nfd7
This is better than the more common Nd5, but Nh5 might be slightly better still. 11.Nxg6 hxg6 12.Bd3 Bb4 13.0-0 Qe7
13...0-0 14.h4 e5 15.h5 Nb6 16.Be3 exd4 17.hxg6 fxg6 18.Qh3 Rxf1+ 19.Rxf1 Qd7 20.Qh4 Qd6 21.Ne4 Qe7 22.Bf4 Qe8 23.a3 Bf8 24.Nd6 Bxd6 25.Bxd6 N8d7 26.Re1 Qf7 27.Re7 Qxe7 28.Bxe7 Ne5 29.Qe4 1-0 Schmidt,W (2308)-Fernandez Russo,J (2317)/ICCF email 1997 14.Ne4
14.Bf4 Bxc3? 15.bxc3 Nb6 16.Qg3 Kd7 17.Bd6! Qe8 (17...Qxd6?? 18.Rxf7+) 18.c4 Na6 19.Rab1 Kc8 20.c5 Nd5 21.Bxa6 1-0 Flude,D-Seines,H/1029 Australia-New Zealand Team Cs 1991 (21.Bxa6 bxa6 22.Qb3) 14...e5?!
14...0-0 15.h4 c5 16.c3 Ba5 17.Bf4 e5 18.dxe5 Nc6 19.Rae1 Ndxe5 20.Qg3 Rfe8 21.Bb5 Bc7 22.Nf2 Rad8 23.Ng4 f6 24.h5 Qe6 25.gxf6 gxf6 26.Bxc6 bxc6 27.Bxe5 Bxe5 28.Rxe5 fxe5 29.Nf6+ 1-0 Chargelegue,L-Duljan,F/France 1997, or (14...0-0) 15.c3 Ba5 16.Bf4 e5 17.Rae1 Bc7 18.Bg3 (18.Nd2 Nb6 19.Qg4 N8d7 20.Nf3 Nd5 21.Nxe5) 18...Na6 19.h4 Rae8 20.h5 Qe6 21.Qh1 Qd5 22.h6 f5 23.hxg7 Kxg7 24.Qh6+ Kf7 25.Qh7+ Ke6 26.Bc2 c5 27.Qxg6+ Ke7 28.Nf6 Nxf6 29.Bxe5 Ne4 30.Bxe4 fxe4 31.Qg7+ Kd8 32.Rxf8 Bxe5 33.Rxe8+ 1-0 Markus,R-Ryska,J/CIF corr 2002 15.c3 Ba5 16.Kg2
Missing (or rejecting) 16.Qxf7+ Kd8 (16...Qxf7 17.Nd6+) 17.Qb3 exd4 18.Rf7 Qe8 19.Bf4 dxc3 20.Nd6 Bb6+ 21.Kg2 cxb2 22.Rd1 b1Q 23.Rxb1 1-0 Andersson,J (2200)-B.P Pikan,B (2430)/corr 1995 16...Bc7 17.Bc4 Rf8 18.Bd2 Nb6 19.Bb3 N8d7 20.Rae1 Nd5 21.c4 N5b6 22.d5 cxd5 This was Black's last chance to seek safety with 22...0-0-0 23.cxd5 0-0-0 (Too late now)
24.a3 Or 24.Rc1 Nxd5 (24...Kb8 25.Rxc7! Nxd5 26.Rxb7+ Kxb7 27.Bxd5+ Kb8 28.Qb3+ Nb6 29.Bb4+-) 25.Bxd5 Nb6 26.Bxb7+ Kb8 27.Rfd1+- 24...Bd6 Not a chance!
A better try would have been 24...Nc5 25.Bb4 Nbd7 26.Rd1 and then 26...Bd6 where Rybka likes 27.Qxf7 Rxf7 28.Rxf7 b6 (28...Qxf7? 29.Nxd6+ Kc7 30.Nxf7 Nxb3 31.Bd6+ Kc8 32.Rd3 Ndc5 33.Rc3 Rxd6 34.Nxd6+ Kb8 35.Rf3) 29.Rxe7 Bxe7 30.Bc2+/- 25.Nxd6+ Qxd6 26.Bb4 Nc5 27.Bxc5 Qd7 [27...Qxc5 28.Rc1] 28.Bxf8 Rxf8 29.Qg4 f5 30.gxf6 Qxg4+ 31.hxg4 gxf6 32.Rxe5 Nd7 33.Re6 Nc5 34.Re3 Kd7 35.Bc2 g5 36.b4 Na6 37.Re6 Nc7 38.Rexf6 Rxf6 39.Rxf6 Nxd5 40.Rf3 Kd6 41.Be4 Nf4+ 42.Rxf4 gxf4 43.Bxb7 1-0
Here's the game in PGN for your clipping pleasure: [Event "US Amateur Team-ch East"] [Site "Parsipanny USA"] [Date "2009.02.14"] [Round "1"] [White "Zilbermintz, Lev"] [Black "Nahum, Lawrence E"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D00"] [WhiteElo "2010"] [Annotator "Purser,Tom"] 1. d4 d5 2. e4 dxe4 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. f3 exf3 5. Nxf3 Bg4 6. h3 Bh5 7. g4 Bg6 8. Ne5 e6 9. Qf3 c6 10. g5 Nfd7 11. Nxg6 hxg6 12. Bd3 Bb4 13. O-O Qe7 (13... O-O 14. h4 e5 15. h5 Nb6 16. Be3 exd4 17. hxg6 fxg6 18. Qh3 Rxf1+ 19. Rxf1 Qd7 20. Qh4 Qd6 21. Ne4 Qe7 22. Bf4 Qe8 23. a3 Bf8 24. Nd6 Bxd6 25. Bxd6 N8d7 26. Re1 Qf7 27. Re7 Qxe7 28. Bxe7 Ne5 29. Qe4 { 1-0 Schmidt,W (2308)-Fernandez Russo,J (2317)/ICCF email 1997}) 14. Ne4 (14. Bf4 Bxc3 $2 15. bxc3 Nb6 16. Qg3 Kd7 17. Bd6 $1 Qe8 (17... Qxd6 $4 18. Rxf7+) 18. c4 Na6 19. Rab1 Kc8 20. c5 Nd5 21. Bxa6 { 1-0 Flude,D-Seines,H/1029 Australia-New Zealand Team Cs 1991} (21. Bxa6 bxa6 22. Qb3)) 14... e5 (14... O-O 15. h4 (15. c3 Ba5 16. Bf4 e5 17. Rae1 Bc7 18. Bg3 (18. Nd2 Nb6 19. Qg4 N8d7 20. Nf3 Nd5 21. Nxe5) 18... Na6 19. h4 Rae8 20. h5 Qe6 21. Qh1 Qd5 22. h6 f5 23. hxg7 Kxg7 24. Qh6+ Kf7 25. Qh7+ Ke6 26. Bc2 c5 27. Qxg6+ Ke7 28. Nf6 Nxf6 29. Bxe5 Ne4 30. Bxe4 fxe4 31. Qg7+ Kd8 32. Rxf8 Bxe5 33. Rxe8+ {1-0 Markus,R-Ryska,J/CIF corr 2002}) 15... c5 16. c3 Ba5 17. Bf4 e5 18. dxe5 Nc6 19. Rae1 Ndxe5 20. Qg3 Rfe8 21. Bb5 Bc7 22. Nf2 Rad8 23. Ng4 f6 24. h5 Qe6 25. gxf6 gxf6 26. Bxc6 bxc6 27. Bxe5 Bxe5 28. Rxe5 fxe5 29. Nf6+ {1-0 Chargelegue,L-Duljan,F/France 1997}) 15. c3 Ba5 16. Kg2 ({ Missing (or rejecting)} 16. Qxf7+ Kd8 (16... Qxf7 17. Nd6+) 17. Qb3 exd4 18. Rf7 Qe8 19. Bf4 dxc3 20. Nd6 Bb6+ 21. Kg2 cxb2 22. Rd1 b1=Q 23. Rxb1 { 1-0 Andersson,J (2200)-B.P Pikan,B (2430)/corr 1995}) 16... Bc7 17. Bc4 Rf8 18. Bd2 Nb6 19. Bb3 N8d7 20. Rae1 Nd5 21. c4 N5b6 22. d5 cxd5 ({ This was Black's last chance to seek safety with} 22... O-O-O) 23. cxd5 O-O-O { (Too late now)} 24. a3 ({Or} 24. Rc1 Nxd5 (24... Kb8 25. Rxc7 $1 Nxd5 26. Rxb7+ Kxb7 27. Bxd5+ Kb8 28. Qb3+ Nb6 29. Bb4 $18) 25. Bxd5 Nb6 26. Bxb7+ Kb8 27. Rfd1 $18) 24... Bd6 ({A better try would have been} 24... Nc5 25. Bb4 Nbd7 26. Rd1 {and then} Bd6 {where Rybka likes} 27. Qxf7 Rxf7 28. Rxf7 b6 (28... Qxf7 $2 29. Nxd6+ Kc7 30. Nxf7 Nxb3 31. Bd6+ Kc8 32. Rd3 Ndc5 33. Rc3 Rxd6 34. Nxd6+ Kb8 35. Rf3) 29. Rxe7 Bxe7 30. Bc2 $16) 25. Nxd6+ Qxd6 26. Bb4 Nc5 27. Bxc5 Qd7 (27... Qxc5 28. Rc1) 28. Bxf8 Rxf8 29. Qg4 f5 30. gxf6 Qxg4+ 31. hxg4 gxf6 32. Rxe5 Nd7 33. Re6 Nc5 34. Re3 Kd7 35. Bc2 g5 36. b4 Na6 37. Re6 Nc7 38. Rexf6 Rxf6 39. Rxf6 Nxd5 40. Rf3 Kd6 41. Be4 Nf4+ 42. Rxf4 gxf4 43. Bxb7 1-0

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Master and Grandmaster, BDG and Caro-Kann

I haven't posted anything for a while. Linares has taken all my allotment of chess time. It finished up yesterday, with GM Vassily Ivanchuk, who first won the tourney 18 years ago, and GM Alexander Grischuk tied with eight points in 14 rounds. Grischuk had three wins to Ivanchuk's two and that was used to break the tie, rather than the more usual S/B system. I watched the games live online and gained a new appreciation for the veteran Ivanchuk.

But back to the the Blackmar-Diemer. Peter Webster was the first master I ever heard of who frequently played the BDG. He quit tournament play years ago for health reasons. But here's an interesting game from one of his simultaneous exhibitions.

Peter B. Webster - Anonymous
Elm Grove WI simul, 1988
BDG, Teichmann Defense

1. d4 d5 2. e4 dxe4 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. f3 exf3 5. Nxf3 Bg4 6. h3 Bh5 7. g4 Bg6 8. Bg2 e6 9. Ne5 c6 10. h4 h5?

This position is also reached in the Gunderam Defense after 1. d4 d5 2. e4 dxe4 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. f3 exf3 5. Nxf3 Bf5 6. Ne5 e6 7. g4 Bg6 8.Bg2 c6 9. h4 h5?

11. Nxg6 fxg6 12. Qd3 Kf7? 

13. g5 Ng4 14. Be4 Bd6 15. Bxg6+ Kg8 16. Ne4 Qc7 17. O-O Nd7 18. Bf7+ Kf8 19. Bxe6+ Ke7 20. Rf7+ Kxe6 21. Qb3# 1-0

The Webster game is entertaining on its own, but I wanted to show it here to compare it with some of the themes in this game by the big guys:

Karpov, Anatoly - Hort, Vlastimil
Bugojno, 1978

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nd7 5. Nf3 Ngf6 6. Nxf6+ Nxf6 7. Ne5 Bf5 8. c3 e6 9. g4 Bg6 10. h4 h5?

11. g5 Nd5 12. Nxg6 fxg6 13. Qc2 Kf7?

14. Rh3 Ne7 15. Bc4 Nf5 16. Rf3 Qd7 17. Rxf5+ gxf5 18. Qxf5+ Ke7 19. Qe4 Re8 20. Bf4 Kd8 21. Qe5 Rg8 22. O-O-O g6 23. Re1 Bg7 24. Qb8+ Ke7 25. Rxe6+ 1-0

In both games Black made similar errors, h7-h5?, leading to the white square weakness, and then Kf7?, trying to hold the g6-pawn. Karpov had to run the Rook up to h3 to get it over to the f-file, but since the f-file was already open in the BDG, Webster could get it there in one move by castling. There are other similiarities and differences, but I'm too tired from watching Linares to mention them.