Thursday, May 31, 2012

That h7-h6 thing in the Euwe again

When our friend Sveinung Økland from Byrne, Norway sent us this sharp little Blackmar-Diemer the other day, he wrote, almost apologetically that " It's blitz chess, I know, and you might have seen these attacks lots of times, but anyway..." Well, yes, that's true. So? Blitz chess is chess, too. And what was that they played the other day to decide the World Championship? What kind of chess was that? To each his own. We can enjoy both, or either, or none, for that matter.

Sure we've seen the mating pattern before. So? The old movies are quite often better than the new ones.

Now I think I'll load up the late great Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard again. Get the popcorn.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Swamped in Sweden: The Vienna Defense

Today we have a brutal little BDG played last week at the Deltalift Open in Tylösand, Sweden. I did not know this place, so I looked it up. According to that most reliable of sources, Wikipedia, "Tylösand is famous for its 7 km long sand beach, its golf courses and 'Hotel Tylösand', a hotel owned by Roxette star Per Gessle and Björn Nordstrand. Tylösand earlier mostly consisted of small summer houses but is nowadays considered to be an expensive area, where the rich and famous have built luxury villas..."

I like beaches, have lived alongside a couple of them, one with a lovely view of the South China Sea, and in fact I live across the road from one now. Our beach has more than seven kilometers of bright white sand. Rich and famous and luxury villas, not so much.

Still, the thought of winning a Blackmar-Diemer in such a pleasant setting is, well, heartwarming.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Another BDG? Not Exactly

The other day I heard from Clyde Nakamura, who sent along "a recent game where I took down IM Ling-Fong (elo 2400) with the Kahiko Hula Gambit on the Internet Chess Club at game 15 minutes. Actually on the ICC you have the option of playing a computer program. IM Ling-Fong is a computer chess engine."

And Clyde added: "Playing IM Ling-Fong is equivalent to playing an actual IM." Well, I haven't played on ICC for many years, and I'm not up to speed on their rating and title rules, but after playing through this game I admit to having some doubts about the validity of this computer's IM rating. Not about Clyde's report, but about how ICC does the calculations.

I know computer engines are notorious for pawn-grabbing, but this Ling-Fong character goes overboard, and  gets his its Queen discombobulated and sees its game go to pieces. Surely no real IM would do such a thing. So I hesitated posting the game--until I watched today's eighth game of the World Chess Championship, a disaster for Gelfand who resigned without making his 17th move, his Queen trapped at h1.

So this is not a BDG, but it is a gambit. Gambits are good for the soul. And I like this game, because just as in the BDG, White gets the open f-file, an open road to the Black king. The notes are Clyde's, except for my comment after White's third move.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Diemer's birthday: it's today!

Drawing by Rob Rittenhouse
for BDG World
Oh my. I almost forgot, even though I'd left a note on the wine cabinet to  write something about it.

Today is the 104th anniversary of E. J. Diemer's birth on 15 May 1908 in Bad Radolfzell. There's been a lot written about Diemer, the good and the bad. His friend Georg Studier wrote the definitive biography. Gunter Müller wrote a little summary for me years ago, which I posted here previously. You can see it here.

Whatever you think, Diemer was one of a kind. Kinda like the BDG.

Happy birthday, EJD. Next year I'll remember to bring flowers.

Kokholm Coldcocks Kallenbach in Copenhagen

Sorry about that title. Couldn't help myself. This game is so fresh there are no fruit flies yet. I found it in yesterday's TWIC. What a great resource that is. I tip my hat to Mark Crowther every Monday night, even when there are no BDGs in his presentation of the week's games.

This is a BDG with 5...c6, know in the BDG world as the Ziegler Defense, only because a fellow by that name lost a poorly played game with it to Diemer, who promptly attached his name to it. As Scheerer mentions in his introduction to this variation in his book, it would better be called the Gunderam Defense, considering all the work Gunderam did on it. But Gunderam's name is already attached to the 5...Bf5 defense, so we'll just leave things the way we found them.

Anyway, 5...c6 is really a very flexible answer to the BDG, and Black reserves numerous options while waiting to see how White is going to develop. Consequently, positions found in the Ziegler can also arise out of the other main BDG defenses, especially the Teichmann and the Euwe, and of course, the Gunderam.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Not so dumb Diemer-Duhm Gambit

This morning Clyde Nakamura sent me a dozen "recent blitz games on the Internet," as he put it. Among them are the two quick little Diemer-Duhm Gambits which I include below with my very light notes. Okay, I admit, my notes are almost always light.

While writing this post I stopped to check what Wikipedia had to say about the Diemer-Duhm. Not so much. "The Diemer-Duhm Gambit is also a variation of the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit declined with the move order 1.d4 d5 2.e4 e6 3.c4." That's what it says, but, well, it's not quite right. I'd call the D-D a close relative,  maybe a first-cousin, but a litter-mate, not really. We could help the Wikipedia page out, but it's too much trouble.

Anyway, there are better references to be googled. Although it appears he hasn't updated them in quite a while, Jyrki Heikkinen's Diemer-Duhm Gambit pages  (which Wikipedia does link to) are still probably the best source, including a large PGN database of games. Jyrki wrote several articles for my old BDG World, and has specialized in the line.

Give the Diemer-Duhm a try. It's almost like driving a BDG.

Monday, May 7, 2012

I never said it was easy

I didn't promise you a rose garden. Diemer said the BDG would make a new man of you, put hair on your chest, whatever. I'm not sure what he thought it would do for female chess players. Anyway, the BDG really doesn't win every time. We're adults here. I can say that.

Here's the latest example, straight from today's TWIC. Diemer used to call this variation with 5...Bf5 the Tartakower Defense. He loved to attach GM names to BDG defenses, even when the connections were somewhat tenuous. And I love Tartakower, one of my favorite GMs. But Gunderam did a lot of grunt work on the Bf5 lines, and really deserves the credit, for what it's worth. He was a thorn in Diemer's side, or perhaps some other anatomical spot, until the end. God bless them both, and this wonderful, foolish game we call chess.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Steinitz stumbles in BDG bog

It happened near the end of the 19th century, a long time ago. The great Wilhelm Steinitz, having lost his "first undisputed" world championship to Emanuel Lasker a couple of years earlier, ran afoul of a Blackmar-Diemer Gambit in a Moscow simultaneous in February 1896. Steinitz failed miserably in a return match against Lasker in Moscow later that year, and died in New York City on 12 August 1900.

This game, which purists might want to call the von Popiel attack in/or rather than the Ryder Gambit has been around the web for years, but it came up again in a note I received recently from Clyde Nakamura, who wrote that he recently retired (from work, not chess) and plans to revive his column at Chessville called The Search for Dragons & Mythical Chess Openings. That's good news for all of us fans of unorthodox openings and enterprising chess.

So here's the game: