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.