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.