Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Diemer scoresheet

Since first becoming interested in the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit—almost forty years ago now—I’ve collected just about anything I could find on the opening, on Blackmar, on Diemer. Books, magazine articles, photos. correspondence, whatever. Scoresheets—here’s one I scanned from the original.


This is Diemer's scoresheet of one of a series of BDGs he played with Manfred Kloss in August 1959. On the back page he wrote:

A typical BDG game!
The sword of Damocles has won more victories than the sword of Caesar. (Khrushchev)
The goddess of victory surrenders only to he who courts her with strong will. (de Gaulle)

That’s heavy stuff, but I think it’s still okay to play the game just for the fun of it. No, really!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Of course, there are exceptions...

The winning of a pawn among good players of even strength often means the winning of the game.--Jose Capablanca.

But stay away from poisoned pawns!—Jose Capablanca’s momma.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Another photo quiz

Recently I posted a photo of the contestants taken during the game Motta-Greer from the 1988 Montana Open and asked readers to identify the move pending on the board. Among the first to correctly do so were Günter Brunold, Richard Westbrook, and Matt Lasley. The clock in that photo indicates Black is on the move. Black’s queen is clearly on f7  and is only there for one move during the game. The answer then is that it is Black’s move after 21.e6.

Now, a new photograph, a somewhat different quiz. I’ll give you the move number: the gentleman on the left raises his hand after having played his 12th move. You tell me the players, the event, the date. Here’s the photo, generously provided by Günter Brunold and used with his permission.

Did I make it too easy?


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Catching up with Klaus Nickl

Back in the 1980s Austria’s Klaus Nickl was a formidable opponent in Blackmar-Diemer thematic correspondence tournaments. After I included several of his Lemberger Countergambits in my last post I decided to see what sort of chess he’d been up to recently. No straight BDGs turned up, although Nickl seems to still be quite active over the board. As he approaches his 70th birthday (he was born in 1942) his ELO has fallen a bit from a high of just over 2250 some years ago.

He had a very successful outing this past July in the 9th International Senior Tournament in Ramsau am Dachstein, Austria, finishing clear first, with 6 points in 7 rounds, ahead of several FIDE Masters. I have no games from that event, but found an interesting one from the European Seniors this past April. It’s a Veresov. It’s also a BDG by transposition. You can try, but you can’t get away from the BDG.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Problem number one

“Not for a few chess friends,” wrote Diemer in Vom Ersten Zug ..., “is the move 3...e5 problem number 1 of the BDG.” That draws no argument from me. The Lemberger Countergambit, so christened by no less a personage than the great Savielly Tartakower, is a tough nut to crack.

From this week’s TWIC comes the latest example. White tries Edgar Sneiders’ optimistic 4.Qh5 and ends up struggling for a draw. The game follows a defensive line often played by Klaus Nickl, and I’ve inserted several of his games in the notation. Other than that you’re on your own.

Monday, September 26, 2011

An old friend’s runaway d-pawn

I’ve always credited Andy Tejler for my introduction to the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit, but never blamed him for my addiction to it. We were correspondence friends for a third of a century. In his later years he lived in northern Virginia and played chess at the Arlington Senior Citizens Club. This is a photo taken there in April 1994.


Andy enjoyed gambits. The BDG, of course, but just about any gambit. Here’s an example, an Albin Countergambit, played a month or so after the photo was taken. It’s one of the last games he sent me.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bad bargain on black bishops

Black gives up his for a knight, but White gets a rook for his. We’ve seen this movie before. See Tom's BDG Pages: Black Square Anemia

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Diemer and simultaneous exhibitions

Diemer, Fussback, Rebstock 1980E. J. Diemer wrote that although he learned chess at the age of nine from a schoolmate, he was in his twenties before he experienced the two events which most shaped his chess development. The first was his discovery (in 1931) of the games of Paul Morphy. The second was his introduction to Alekhine at Baden-Baden in 1934, and their association while Diemer was assisting with the organization for the world champion's second match with Bogoljubov.

Diemer played in several Hastings Chess Congresses, winning the Major A tourney two years running (1935/36 and 1936/37). A complimentary remark on Diemer's strength in combinations, made by Alekhine at one Hastings Congress, still made Diemer as happy as a child, even as an old man. This was particularly true since he so admired Alekhine, whom he had come to know well in Baden Baden.

During this period Diemer took the opportunity to play in simultaneous exhibitions given by both Bogoljubov and Alekhine, and in each case came away with a win. The games are disappointing because of weak play by the grandmasters—but they were simuls, after all.

Or maybe Diemer was casting spells?

[Photograph by Tom Purser at Fussbach, Germany, 1980]

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Jumping in at f6 again

Okay, going back one more time to the old swimming hole at f6 that I wrote about here and here. The square f6 is so often a target in the Blackmar-Diemer. In my dreams it beckons as a clear dark hole for my knights to jump into. Of course, that square and that tactic are still on the board in other openings. I’m drawn back to this well-known game where our late friend Hugh Myers watered his horse there. The story in two parts:

In his notes to this game in Chess Review (March 1957, page 89), Hans Kmoch called White’s 20th move “the brilliant preparation for a brilliant stroke.”

Friday, September 9, 2011

Old photos again

Paul Motta has played many Blackmar-Diemer Gambits, and I published quite a few of them over the years in BDG WORLD. Today I was prowling through some old photos and came across this one.


Fortunately, there are some identifying notes on the back of the photo. It was taken at the Montana Open in Missoula, in May 1988. Paul has the white pieces, and his opponent is Bill Greer. A quick check in my database of 14 trillion BDGs turned up the game. The clock indicates it’s Black to move; but what is the move number? 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The last time I saw Diemer...

It was in the spring of 1980. I was being reassigned back to the states, so I drove down to Fussbach, probably on a Saturday morning, to pay one last visit. As usual, we met at a small table in his “office” in the gasthaus across the street from his quarters. After some conversation over the chessboard (more listening than talking on my part), Diemer suggested we go outside for some air, and then led me on an hour-long walking tour about the village. During that walk I took a photo of him beside the sign welcoming visitors to Fussbach.

Diemer, Fussbach 1980, Sign2

It just occurred to me that at the time of this photo, Diemer, born in 1908, was several years younger than I am now. I only mention that to provide some semblance of an excuse for posting my reminiscences.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Elephant in the hole

In the last post I talked about the fun of jumping into the hole Black often leaves at f6. Usually (and appropriately) a knight jumps in, but I mentioned a game in which Kurt Richter sent in a rook. Here’s that game, which chess friend Günter Brunold of Kempten (Allgäu), Germany called to my attention, from the November 1923 issue of the Deutsche Schachzeitung. Since it’s a game by Richter himself, I’ve retained the Richter (Veresov) Attack label, but as Günter noted, the opening actually transposes into a Weinspach Declination to the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit.

An earlier related post: IM Kurt Richter and the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The old swimming hole at f6

We know about the fishing pole, dangling a piece on the g-file, tempting your opponent to capture it with his h-pawn, and thereby opening a line to his castled king. But how about diving into the old swimming hole, that deep, dark space at f6? What a special joy to jump into that clean, clear, unoccupied pool, as smooth as glass. Horses love to jump in there, and even elephants do it now and then—a chess friend just sent me an old game where Kurt Richter led one of his rooks in there.

For now, however, here’s a game played in England a couple of weeks ago, a rarer breed, an O’Kelly Defense. Don’t stand too close—the horse makes a big splash on move 17.

Monday, August 15, 2011

When the time is right

After I posted several new games without notes last week, not seeing much to stir my interest, I heard from Matt Lasley on the Le Diouron-Bugalski game. He suggested that the knight fork played at move 20 should have come at move 18. So we took a look at it.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A rook sac again

“The only good rook is a working rook!” —Samuel Reshevsky.

Did you ever notice how many BDG games are decided by rook action down the open f-file?

Monday, August 8, 2011

A mixed bag

Mondays are fun days here. I look forward to the crop of games from The Week in Chess. Today’s issue brought forth more BDGs and close relatives than usual, but a mixed bag of wins, losses, and draws (how chess-like). I didn’t find anything especially of interest: no theoretical innovations, no spectacular combinations, not even an entertaining blunder of note. See if you agree.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

An affection for rook sacs

While we’re on the subject... In the mid-1980s Walter Schneider invited me to play in a BDG thematic with a dozen or so old BDG hands. Several had been finalists or semi-finalists in the large BDG World Correspondence Tournament organized by Nick Kampars. It was a great opportunity to meet and compare notes with other longtime BDG fans.

One of my opponents was Karl Hanisch from Germany. Playing black I managed to draw a Lemberger; as white I had better luck with my favorite line in the Teichmann. Christoph Scheerer included this game in his recent book on the BDG.

Another rook sac...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Another bad accident at f7

Yes, now people leave cards, flowers, sympathy notes at the intersection, but maybe the authorities should post a warning.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Back to back

How do you explain it? A player has a great tournament one month, a dismal one a month or two later. Nakamura triumphs spectacularly at Wijk aan Zee and a few months later struggles to avoid last place at Dortmund. What is it? What’s the difference? Concentration? Confidence? Fate? Luck? It happens everywhere. Teams go on winning streaks (and losing streaks). Batters go on hitting streaks. Golfers, racing car drivers, best selling novelists, all succeed or fail in streaks.

Yes, simple woodpushers, too. By the time I took up chess I had a family and work that allowed little time for weekend tournaments. They were usually so few and far apart that I came to consider two games won in row a winning streak. Here’s an example from thirty years ago, when my work involved so much travel that I probably got in no more than a couple of tournaments a year. The games were played back to back, one with white, one with black. And each was blessed with a rook sac down the beloved f-file.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

One more Vienna Defense

There’s something distasteful about the Vienna Defense. Not that I’ve got anything against Vienna, or Austria, or even Hans Müller, the guy Diemer always blamed credited with dreaming the defense up. But when somebody offers you a pawn, take it! If you don’t want to play into a Blackmar-Diemer, step up and fight like a man with something like the Lemberger (my personal favorite) or, if the opportunity presents, the Hübsch. But 4...Bf5, that’s just...well, distasteful. (Not to mention that I don’t like to play against it.) And we recently saw where Scheerer had his problems with it as well: Scheerer - Kopylov Revisited.

So I comb through over four thousand games in this week’s TWIC and turn up only one solitary BDG, and what is it? One more Vienna Defense. And a draw at that. It is distasteful.

Monday, July 25, 2011

More old BDG friends

Old photos again... I was rummaging through back issues of BDG WORLD and in Vol III, No 5, Oct-Dec 1985 I came across this photo and caption: 
Robert Fleuriot, E. J. Diemer
Bob Fleuriot was in Europe a few months ago,and stopped by to pay his respects to E. J. Diemer, who lives now in the little village of Fussbach in the Black Forest. Bob sent us this photo of himself with EJD. If they’re considering a position on the board, Bob (on the left) would seem to be more content with it.
Bob and I played a few correspondence BDGs. He went way back with the opening. I think he had good nerves. I say that because he was willing to venture a Kampars Gambit against the Vienna Defense. You have to have good nerves for that. After he won it he received a congratulatory letter from Kampars himself (you remember letters—people sent those in the days before email). Here’s that game, presented without notes. My nerves won’t stand for it.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A new walk on an old battlefield

The photo of old BDG friends which I posted recently induced me to review the battle between Diemer and Gunter Müller, Biel 1975, which Gunter annotated for BDG WORLD 25 in December 1986. I’ve retained Gunter’s original notes and augmented them with a few of my own (indicated with ***), assisted by computer analysis and tablebases which were of course not readily available almost a quarter century ago.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Some BDG Buddies

You get more that way the older you get. You’re looking for something, a missing key, say, and you open a drawer and there's an old box. You open the box, and look, there’s an envelope, and inside, why, some old pictures. And now the key is forgotten. Now it’s the pictures...
The pictures, like this one, about a quarter of a century old now, taken somewhere in Germany in the late 1980s. I once played correspondence chess with all these guys, except the old fellow with the white beard.

The gentleman with the tie is Walter Schneider, who did yeoman’s service in directing the finals of the first BDG World Correspondence Championship. Standing to Walter’s right is Gunter Müller, a master correspondence player and finalist in that tournament, finishing sixth in a field that began with 276 players. Seated in front of Gunter is Volker Drüke, editor of BDG-Revue, later Gambit-Revue, and beside Volker is the old master himself, E. J. Diemer.

Looking through the old pictures...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Have you no shame?

I freely give you one pawn, and you turn right around and snatch another?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A BDG Fishing Pole?

In Atzerpay's last game he played 15.Ng5, hoping to provoke 15...h6, weakening Black's kingside, while at the same time opening the f-file to give his rook a shot at a sac on f6--which only works, symbiotically enough, because Black did weaken his kingside with h6--a comforting relationship.

In Bird Defense Fishing Pole, Michael Goeller presents a recent game... 
 "...employing my favorite Bird Defense to the Ruy Lopez. For the second week in a row, I found myself sacrificing material for a direct attack on my opponent's king. In this case, I employed what Brian Wall likes to call "the fishing pole" theme: dangling my Knight at g4 for capture in order to open the h-file."
Before continuing here, I recommend you take a look at Goeller's post now, and also his links to several "fishing pole" examples. Heartwarming.

I called Atzerpay's provocation his rope-a-dope strategy. It has a similar idea to the fishing pole, but it's not specifically designed to open the h-file. So I looked for a BDG that went all the way. Our old friend David Gedult did not disappoint--even if he was playing the black pieces.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Float like a butterfly...

My old friend Peter Atzerpay, the private investigator and strong amateur chessplayer, often tells me that chessplayers can learn from other sports (games, arts, sciences, whatever). Even boxing.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Black Square Anemia

Or, Why Did You Stray So Far From Home, Little Bishop?

What do you call the opening 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e6 3.e4 Bb4? The ECO classification is A45, unusual Indian openings. Tim Sawyer did me the honor of including one of my games in this line as Game 1 in his Keybook II, and called it the Nimzo-Indian variation. "Sometimes I wonder," he wrote, "if Black realizes there's a pawn on e4 instead of c4."

Whatever you call it, if you try for the Blackmar-Diemer with 2.Nc3 you'll see it sooner or later. I can no longer remember where I first saw the line with 5.Qg4, but I've played it dozens, if not hundreds of times. In fact I'm sure I've played the exact game given below a dozen or more times in blitz. It's a little like the ubiquitous Halosar trap that is such a popular subject of YouTube videos.

But for all that, I never got the chance to play it in a rated OTB game. Larry Carroll, who recently returned to active play after some time away, got one a few days ago in a G/30 tournament. I've added a few short notes to Larry's game. For some detailed analysis of the line, see Tim's Keybook II.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What Kind of BDG Was That?

Sometimes I enjoy opening a book or magazine article on the Blackmar-Diemer, choosing a diagram of a middlegame position, again at random, and seeing if I can guess what variation it evolved from. Take a look at this diagram, for example.

After 16...Nb4
A routine BDG position, I'd say, and a BDG accepted at that. There's the open f-file, the White queen already at her standard attack position at h4, the bishop at g5, not unusual. The white-squared bishop is at d3, my personal favorite square for that bishop--and look, Black has just played a knight to b4, preparing to take that irritating bishop off the board (just like in Atzerpay's last game). Is there time? 
The White knight on e4 must have come from c3. Come to think of it, it's there on e4 also like in Atzerpay's last game. But what's with e5?There's a pawn there on the preferred position of the other knight. Still, with his bishop on g7, Black must have played the Bogoljubov Defense, or perhaps the Pohlmann.
Let's see. It's a recent game, played just a day or two ago. By a couple of GMs, yet. Oh. Oh, my. Well... it's almost as good as a BDG.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

There's just something about f7

The Knight and the f-pawn should be friends.
"I don't know what got into me," the Knight said. "I was just sitting there at e5, hanging out, minding my own business, and then..."
"And then?" The Bishop prompted.
"And then I look up and this little guy on f7 is eyeing me. He just sits there eyeing me, saying nothing, just eyeing me."
"So he just kept eyeing me and finally I said 'You looking at me, little man? You looking at me?' and he still didn't say nothing. He just sat there and stared at me with those little round eyes in that little round head and didn't say nothing."
"Pawns are like that sometimes," the Bishop said.
"Yeah, I know," the Knight said. "I know, I know... but then something just snapped, and I ... I just fell on him like a ton of bricks."
"It's over now," said the Bishop, "How do you feel about it now?"
"Terrible. I don't know what got into me. I got nothing against f-pawns. Some of my best friends are f-pawns." The Knight looked away. "You know me. I abhor violence."

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Atzerpay Again: No Time

My buddy Peter Atzerpay, the well-known private investigator and strong amateur chessplayer (and a better alter ego than I ever deserved), dropped by the Blackmar Mansion beach shack last weekend, between planes. Thinking we might knock off a game or two, I hauled a couple of Becks out of the cooler, but no.

"Nope. No time," he said. "Consulting on a hot case in DC."

He chugged down his beer, clearly agitated, in a rush. "Gotta run," he said. He grabbed his ragged briefcase off the table. "By the way," he said. "Do you know anything about Twitter?"

And Pete was gone before I could answer. When I picked up the empty Becks I realized it sat on an envelope with the score of a chess game scribbled on its back. The ink was beginning to run from the condensation from the bottle but I was able to make out the moves.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Ignoring the Langeheinecke Pawn

The Langeheinecke Defense to the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit is named after a German doctor who lost a 47-move correspondence game to Diemer in 1940. In fact it is not so much a defense to the gambit — if that name is reserved for lines where the gambit is accepted—as it is a declination.

In the line's most direct form, after 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3, Black passes on the gambit pawn with 4...e3. White is not obliged to take the pawn immediately with 5.Bxe3, although he usually does. Scheerer, in his recent book on the BDG, doesn't consider games where White leaves the e-pawn alone for a while. But here are a couple of such games, including one played a couple of weeks ago, in which the passed pawn survives to the bitter end.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Vienna Defense Line in Scheerer - Kopylov Revisited

Last week ChessBase celebrated its 25th anniversary by offering a 25% discount on its products for one day. I've used ChessBase from its earliest days, but have been getting by with version 9 for several years. Rather than risk waiting another 25 years for 50% off, I decided to go ahead and pick up version 11.

I'm glad I did.

One nice feature in 11 is something the CB folks call "novelty annotation." In earlier versions, CB would identify a new move, a novelty, in an observed game by checking the game against a reference database installed on your computer's hard drive. Now CB 11 checks a huge online database and inserts the appropriate line(s) in the game on your screen. And it does this very quickly, usually in a matter of seconds.

I tried this feature on the Scheerer-Kopylov game I posted recently, a line in the Vienna Defense that Scheerer had included through White's 19th move in his book. ChessBase came back extending Scheerer's line several moves, and providing a White win which split from Scheerer on move 22.

So here's another look at the Scheerer-Kopylov game with the new line from Leisebein-Jacobs, getting a jump on the attack down the h-file with 22.Rh3.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Scheerer's BDGs Come Up Short

It's refreshing to see an author actually play an opening he writes about--especially when the opening is the Blackmar-Diemer. In the just completed Luebeck club tournament, Christoph Scheerer, author of the recently published the Blackmar-Diemer gambit, a modern guide to a fascinating chess opening, tried for a BDG in two games. In one game Black evaded the BDG by going into a Hübsch Gambit; in the other Black declined with the Vienna Defense.

Unfortunately, White lost both games and finished with 4 points. His opponents, Michael Kopylov and Vladimir Epishin, along with Henrik Danielsen finished on top with 6 of 9, with the title going to Kopylov on tie-breaks. The game with Kopylov, a Vienna Defense, goes 18 moves deep in a line in Scheerer's book.

(Use the pull-down menu to see the second game.)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

"Don't think this is enough"

Thanks to Matt Lasley for alerting me to this game from the Jan-Mar 2011 issue of The Chess Correspondent, the newsletter of the Correspondence Chess League of America (CCLA).  The game was published as a best game contest winner for the Master-Expert category, and was probably played in 2010. The players' ratings are from the current CCLA rating list. The game slips into a BDG where Black tries a queenside attack beginning with 9...a6. White, a veteran BDG player, has other plans.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Blogging the Blackmar

A couple of new blogs on the Blackmar-Diemer have emerged recently.

It's Spring, time for new growth. Check them out.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Breaking News: Stronger Players Win

This week's TWIC yielded several Blackmar-Diemers, the first crop of the season, I suppose. No great surprises here--in each game the higher rated player won. In two of the three games that was black.

(Pull down the player names to select the other games).

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Final Theory of Chess Project

TheFinalTheoryofChessLast year I heard about a big book called The Final Theory of Chess. It worried me a little. At my age, any mention of "final" tends to do that. But more than that, the idea that anything as complicated as chess could have a final theory didn't seem to make much sense to me. For a long time my own working theory of chess has been covered by one of Tartakower’s many witticisms: "Chess is a fairy tale of 1001 blunders."

But I was intrigued and contacted the author of The Final Theory, Gary M. Danelishen, with an offer to enter an exchange sacrifice—his big book for one of my little books. And what a big book it turned out to be. Almost 400 pages, 8.5 by 11.5 inches, crammed with four years of analysis by up to six computers running Fritz software around the clock. What made the book of special interest to me was that over 100 of those pages were devoted to analysis of the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit.

If I had my druthers, the book might have been better called Toward a Final Theory... or maybe In Search of a Final Theory... or, well, you get the idea. Danelishen doesn’t suggest that we’re there yet; his concept is to expand opening theory and analysis upward over time. All the while tablebases (but not in his analysis) will be expanded downward, and someday they will intersect in a glorious union, maybe like the joining of the transcontinental railroad, and lo, we will in fact have achieved the final theory!

I’m much too lazy these days, and even if I had the energy, I couldn’t do justice to this book. Nor should I even try, since Rick Kennedy, as is his practice, has done another excellent, thorough review at Chessville Reviews. I recommend you read it there.

Meanwhile, Danelishen is pressing on. He has established a Final Theory of Chess Project website, in a wiki format, open to all to extend opening theory. As Gary explains:
The Final Theory of Chess wiki, based upon the book with the same name, is an attempt to construct an aggressive opening repertoire based primarily upon the use of computer analysis. Computer analysis has been built upon previous computer analysis, in a process repeated seemingly ad infinitum.

The ultimate goal is to push opening theory through the middlegame and finally to a point where endgame tablebases can solve for mate. The Final Theory of Chess lays a solid foundation upon which further computer analysis may be built in order to solve the game of chess.
It’s an interesting concept, and a chance to share ideas on as broad or fine a scale as you wish. Take a look at it. I suggest you start at the front door. You can also jump right to the BDG variations.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Tim Sawyer Looks at Scheerer's BDG Book

Well, it was a long time coming, but it appears to have been worth the wait. Tim Sawyer thinks so, and I'm inclined to agree with him. Here's Tim's take on Christoph Scheerer's take on the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit.

A Review
By Tim Sawyer

One month ago “The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit: A Modern Guide to a Fascinating Chess Opening” book by Christoph Scheerer was released. (He took the last name of his wife when he got married; he was Christoph Wisnewski.) I have examined this book in detail during the past four weeks. It is wonderful to see an author from a younger generation take up the BDG mantle. Scheerer turns age 31 this year and I turn age 60 in two years.

IM Scheerer of Germany is rated over 2400, yet I am shocked that the book is so good! I’ve been disappointed by famous authors. Christoph did a LOT of research. I have done the same for my unpublished BDG Keybook 4 (due out in 2012). Scheerer lists a 3 page bibliography of major articles, books, cds, dvds, databases, periodicals and websites. Only the excellent works from 2010 by Eric Jego and by Guido de Bouver are missing.

Most BDGers were disappointed that his book had been delayed so long by Everyman. As I recall it was initially projected to be 192 pages. Now it seems that Scheerer himself just wanted to make it a bigger and better book. A revised Everyman listing had the book coming out with 272 pages. The final book actually has 336 pages, not the typical Everyman volume. Over the years I have purchased maybe 100 Everyman books. They are well written, but the coverage of the book is understandably limited. Christoph’s book (as Wisnewski) “Play 1...Nc6!” is a favorite repertoire book of mine. Rather than cover the typical three or four options that Black has in each 1...Nc6 main line, Christoph picks one and just covers only that. He excels in assessing the most practical continuations.

Scheerer’s BDG work is not a repertoire book limited to only one variation for White. He covers all the variations by Black on moves three, four and five and gives at least two playable options for White vs. each. In the twelve years since I wrote my BDG Keybook II, I have done a lot of research finding the critical lines. I have graduated from chess engines Rybka 2 to Fritz 11 and now to Junior 12. Scheerer uses Rybka throughout the book, presumably a current version. Most of Scheerer’s conclusions mirror my own these days. He adds ideas that are new to me and reminds me of some ideas I forgot.

Christoph Scheerer's work presents the gambit as very playable, and yet he shows where the biggest theoretical traps lay. He has clear verbal explanations as to what is going on. About half of the analysis covers more recent games or recommendations from other recent sources. Most authors either seem to worship popular BDGers or belittle them. I found Scheerer to be fair and positive toward past BDGers. Those who have played more known games and those who are higher rated get the most mention. When there is a point for improvement, Scheerer notes how we can play better in our future games.

Scheerer covers both the Lemberger and the Hübsch. The only negative that I can see is that he does not cover Pirc, Benoni or French Defense lines nor the 1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 move order. Fair enough. Scheerer is a Veresov player, so Nc3 on moves 1, 2, or 3 is his natural approach. The BDG fits well into his repertoire. Enjoy the book! Play the Gambit!!

Friday, February 18, 2011

BDG Books: an Update

I received a note from Guido De Bouver today, informing me that had shipped his copy of the long-awaited BDG book by Christoph Scheerer, The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit: A Modern Guide to a Fascinating Chess Opening. So, it seems the footsteps that we hear down the hall are real.

The page at shows the book is indeed available, and provides the capability to "click to look inside." As of now, the US Amazon page (which also provides the "look inside" capability) only has the message "Sign up to be notified when this item becomes available."

Guido asked me to announce:
I am working on the second volume of my book, including the euwe and bogoljubow defense. But time is a problem right now.  What I am looking for is some help, someone who could help me with this effort of detailed analysis of the various lines.
You can contact Guido here: AT

Monday, February 7, 2011

Bad Day at the Rock

Here's a pleasant little knockout of the Euwe Defense from the Gibraltar Masters. Black wastes time with pawn-snatching by his queen and bishop, and then fails to guard f7 sufficiently. I'm fond of this Rxf7 sac when Black is locked in by a wall of his own pieces--a rook on e8, bishop on e7, and pawn on e6, having played it myself in many skittles and blitz games.

The PGN for this game is here. And what's a cockle?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Footsteps that you hear down the hall ...

 You know the feeling of something half remembered
Of something that never happened, yet you recall it well...

I hesitate to bring it up again,'s back.

The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit: A modern guide to a fascinating chess opening

"The book went to the printers this very week." So posted the author, IM Christoph Scheerer (previously Wisnewski) on the ChessPub forum on 20 January 2011.

It looks to be real this time. Go to this page at Everyman Chess. There you can download  a PDF with an introduction, a table of contents, and an extract of part of a chapter on the Bogoljubow Defense. It looks good!

Promised in February. Again.

For real this time?

Or just a face in the misty light?

(With help from Johnny Mercer)

Nakamura wins Wijk aan Zee

This morning I got up too late to watch GM Nakamura win the 2011 Tata Steel Chess Tournament. It's probably just as well since his final game was a 22-move draw with Wang Hao. But last week I watched some exciting, fighting chess from Nakamura (on Chessbomb, a great place to watch). Winning this venerable tournament was a significant accomplishment, as Nakamura finished ahead of Anand, Carlsen, Kramnik, and Aronian, among others.

I've long been attracted to this tournament, played on the coast at Wijk aan Zee, The Netherlands, since 1968, and before that, since 1938, just inland at Beverwijk. Diemer played there, in the lower levels, several times, and in 1956, he won his section--without playing a single Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. For an account of Diemer's adventure there that year, see these previous posts.

The Beginning of His Best Year (Part 1)

The Beginning of His Best Year (Part 2)

The Beginning of His Best Year (Part 3)

The Beginning of His Best Year (Part 4)

And here's another post on Diemer's game with Durao from the tournament.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Teichmann Defense, Oz Edition

Here's a recent BDG from the Australian Open. Black gets his queen in a bad way, and White just simplifies down.

You can get a PGN copy of the game here.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Diemer Yes, Blackmar No

Diemer wrote that he played his first BDG "on the international stage" at a tourney in Czechoslovakia in 1936 (Diemer—Fux). However, he had not completely abandoned his old favorite, the Colle. From the same event:

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year, Old Opening

Well, let's get 2011 underway with a game played a couple of months ago in a team match. It's our old friend, the Euwe Defense (it can't be right). The notes are by the winner, except for my insertion of the Diemer-Rauch game.