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.