Archive for the ‘chess lessons’ Category

My Favorite #Chess Games: The Opera House Game

June 12, 2018

The Opera House Game is perhaps the most famous chess game to have ever been played. It’s title is derived from the fact that the great American chess master Paul Morphy defeated the Duke Karl of Brunswick and the Count Isouard while all the parties involved were watching Norma being performed from the box seats at the Paris Opera House. I show this game several times a year to demonstrate the art of attacking in chess. Included below the game are my lesson notes.

 

paul-morphy-b283cfd9-dd4e-4a18-82cc-0d3c1c55ad2-resize-750

 

imb_s1xk6p

The Opera House Game

 

[Event “The Opera House Game”]
[Site “Paris (France)”]
[Date “1858”]
[Round “”]
[White “Morphy Paul”]
[Black “Duke Karl of Brunswick and the Count Isouard”]
[Result “1-0”]
[Eco “C41”]
[Annotator “Chris Torres”]
[Source “”]

{[ PHILIDOR’S def.,C41] Morphy Paul +8 =1 -1 Duke Karl Count Isouard +0 =0 -1 Morphy Paul-Duke Karl Count Isouard +1 =0 -0}
1.e4 {Paul Morphy’s favorite way to start a game.} e5 2.Nf3 {Knights before bishops.}
d6 {Philidor’s Defense was quite popular during the time of Paul Morphy’s European
adventures and he was quite adept with either color of it.} {%08DA}
3.d4 {Paul Morphy choses to place a second pawn in the center. Of course, developing
a second piece with a move like Bc4 is also good.} Bg4 {?!} {
A questionable choice for black. Generally speaking, it is a good idea to bring
out a knight before the bishop. Here black could have played Nf6 or Nd7. Also
fine is exchanging pawns with exd4. Below are sample games for each move.}
( 3…exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Be7 6.g3 d5 7.e5 Ng4 8.Bg2 O-O 9.Nxd5
Bc5 10.c3 c6 11.Ne3 Nxe5 12.O-O Re8 13.b4 Bb6 14.a4 a5 15.Bb2
Na6 16.bxa5 Bxa5 17.Qc2 Qf6 18.Rad1 Qg6 19.Be4 Qh5 20.c4 Nc5
21.Bg2 Bh3 22.f4 Bxg2 23.Kxg2 {…0-1, Carlsen Magnus (NOR) 2837 – Mamedyarov Shakhriyar (AZE) 2726 , Astana 7/10/2012 Ch World (blitz) (final)}
) ( 3…Nf6 4.Nc3 Nbd7 5.Bc4 Be7 6.O-O {?} ( 6.Bxf7+ Kxf7 7.Ng5+
$40 ) O-O 7.Qe2 c6 8.Bg5 ( {‘better is’} 8.a4 {‘better is’} )
h6 9.Bh4 Nh5 10.Bg3 Nxg3 11.hxg3 b5 12.Bd3 a6 13.a4 Bb7 14.Rad1
Qc7 15.axb5 axb5 16.g4 Rfe8 17.d5 b4 18.dxc6 Bxc6 19.Nb1 Nc5
20.Nbd2 Qc8 21.Bc4 g6 ( 21…Qxg4 22.Bxf7+ {!} $18 ) 22.g3 Kg7
23.Nh2 Bg5 24.f3 Qc7 25.Rfe1 Rh8 26.Ndf1 h5 27.gxh5 Rxh5 28.Bd5
Rah8 29.Bxc6 Qxc6 30.Qc4 Qb6 31.Kg2 Ne6 32.Re2 Nd4 33.Ree1 Qb7
{!} 34.Rxd4 ( 34.c3 bxc3 35.bxc3 ( 35.Qxc3 Rc8 $41 ) Qb2+ $19 )
exd4 35.Ng4 ( 35.Qxd4+ Bf6 36.Qxd6 Rd8 ) Qb6 36.f4 Be7 37.Rd1
f5 38.Nf2 fxe4 39.Qxd4+ Qxd4 40.Rxd4 d5 41.g4 Bc5 {!} 42.Rd1
Rh4 43.Rxd5 Bxf2 44.Kxf2 Rxg4 45.Ke3 Rc8 46.Kxe4 Rc4+ 47.Kd3
Rcxf4 48.Ne3 Rg3 49.Re5 Kf6 50.Re8 Kf7 51.Re5 Rf6 52.c4 b3 53.Ke4
Re6 54.Rxe6 Kxe6 55.Nd5 g5 {0-1, Teichmann Richard (GER) – Nimzowitsch Aaron, San Sebastian 1911 It}
) ( 3…Nd7 4.Bc4 c6 5.dxe5 dxe5 6.Be3 Be7 7.Nc3 Qc7 {‘better is’ Ng8-f6, 0-0, Rf8-e8}
8.a4 Nc5 9.b4 {?} ( {‘better is’} 9.Ng5 {‘better is’} Nh6 10.h3
{!} {=} ) Ne6 10.Rb1 Nf6 11.O-O O-O 12.Ne1 ( 12.Ba2 {!?} )
( 12.Be2 {!?} {(B) Alekhin} ) b5 {!} 13.Bb3 a5 14.axb5
( 14.bxa5 b4 15.Ne2 Qxa5 $17 ) axb4 {} $17 {} 15.b6 Qb7 16.Ne2
c5 17.c3 {!} Bd7 ( 17…Nxe4 {?!} 18.cxb4 cxb4 19.Nc2 {=} ) 18.cxb4
cxb4 19.Ng3 Nc5 20.Bc4 Ncxe4 21.Nxe4 Nxe4 22.Bd5 ( 22.Qd5 $13
Bc6 ( 22…Qxd5 23.Bxd5 Nc3 24.Bxa8 Nxb1 25.Be4 ) 23.Qxe5 Bd6
24.Qf5 Rae8 {} ) Bc6 23.Bxc6 Qxc6 24.Qh5 Nc3 $18 25.Rb2 Qb5 {!}
26.Nf3 ( 26.g3 Ra1 $18 ) Ne2+ 27.Rxe2 Qxe2 28.Qxe5 Bf6 29.Qc5
b3 30.Bf4 Rfe8 {!} 31.b7 Qxf1+ 32.Kxf1 Ra1+ 33.Bc1 b2 {0-1, Von Bardeleben Kurt (GER) – Alekhine Alexander A (RUS), Dusseldorf 1908 It}
) 4.dxe5 {Paul Morphy aims to punish his opponents’ last move.}
Bxf3 {Practically forced because otherwise:} ( 4…dxe5 5.Qxd8+
Kxd8 6.Nxe5 Be6 {and black is a pawn down and has lost their right to castle.}
) 5.Qxf3 {It is fine for Morphy to develop his queen to f3 as it does not block the
already exchanged knight that originated on g1. However, this didn’t stop
Steinitz from criticizing Morphy play here. Steinitz, who enjoyed finding
“mistakes” in Morphy’s games suggested the following:}
( 5.gxf3 dxe5 6.Qxd8+ Kxd8 7.f4 Nf6 8.fxe5 Nxe4 9.Bg2 Nc5 10.b4
{This is obviously good for white but history prefers Morphy’s method.}
) {%09DB} dxe5 {An interesting position where both sides have one pawn in the center and active queens.} {%09DB}
6.Bc4 {White develops with a Scholar’s Mate style threat. However, here Morphy’s
success is not dependent on poor play from his opponent as is the case with the actual Scholar’s Mate.}
Nf6 7.Qb3 {!} {A very powerful move which threatens both the pawn on b7 and the belly-button.}
Qe7 {The Duke and the Count wisely decide to defend the pawn that is attached to their king safety.}
8.Nc3 {Paul Morphy had three good choices here. The butcher’s choice would be to play
“8. Qxb7 Qb4+ 9. Qxb4 Bxb4” and grind out a long endgame victory. A robot could
evaluate 8. Bxf7+ as best and win in a cold fashion. However, it took Paul
Morphy to recognize that 8. Nc3 was the only move with potential to make the game a true artistic masterpiece.}
( 8.Qxb7 Qb4+ 9.Qxb4 Bxb4+ 10.Bd2 Bxd2+ 11.Nxd2 O-O 12.f3 Nc6
13.c3 Rab8 14.O-O-O Na5 15.Be2 h6 16.Nc4 Nxc4 17.Bxc4 Rb6 18.Rd2
Rc6 19.Bb3 a5 20.Rhd1 a4 21.Bxa4 Ra6 22.Bb3 c5 23.Rd8 Ne8 24.R1d7
Rf6 25.Bc4 g6 26.a4 Ng7 27.a5 Nh5 {…1-0, Kunte Abhijit (IND) 2517 – Akshay Vijayan (IND) 1766 , Jalgaon 11/23/2010 It (open)}
) ( 8.Bxf7+ Qxf7 9.Qxb7 Bc5 10.O-O O-O 11.Qxa8 c6 12.Nc3 Qc7
13.Nd5 cxd5 14.exd5 Qb6 15.Be3 Ng4 16.Bxc5 Qxc5 17.b4 Qb6 18.c4
Na6 19.Qc6 Qxc6 20.dxc6 Nxb4 21.h3 Nf6 22.c7 Rc8 23.Rab1 Na6
24.Rb7 Rxc7 25.Rxc7 Nxc7 26.Rb1 a6 27.Rb7 Nfe8 28.f3 Kf7 29.Kf2
Ke7 30.Ke3 Kd7 31.Rb2 Kc6 32.Kd3 Ne6 33.Rc2 Nd6 34.Rb2 Nc5+ 35.Ke2
Nxc4 36.Rb8 Kd5 37.Rd8+ Nd6 38.Rg8 Nf5 39.g4 Nd4+ 40.Ke3 Nde6
41.h4 h6 42.Rb8 Kc4 43.Rb6 Nf4 44.Kf2 a5 45.Rb8 Ncd3+ 46.Kg3
Kd4 47.Ra8 Ke3 48.Rxa5 Ne2+ 49.Kg2 Ne1+ 50.Kf1 Nxf3 51.Ra3+ Kf4
52.Kxe2 Nxh4 53.Ra4+ Kg3 54.Rb4 Ng6 55.Rb7 Nf4+ 56.Ke3 Nd5+ 57.Kd3
Kxg4 58.Rxg7+ Kf5 59.a4 e4+ 60.Kd4 Nb4 61.Rf7+ Ke6 62.Rh7 Kf5
63.Rxh6 Nc2+ 64.Kc3 Ne3 65.a5 Kf4 66.a6 Ng4 67.Rh4 e3 68.Kd3
{1-0, Moeller Stefan – Hertel-Mach Frank, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern 12/11/2005 Landesliga 2005/06}
) c6 {Now the black queen defends her pawn on b7. Additionally, the pawn on c6 guards
d5 and b5 from being accessed by Morphy’s knight, bishop or queen.
Unfortunately, it is also another slow pawn move for black which gives Morphy
an opportunity to add to his lead in development.} 9.Bg5 {
Momentarily stopped on the queenside, Morphy deploys another piece. Now he has
four pieces in the game versus a pinned knight and an oddly placed queen.}
b5 {?} {This is overly ambitious. Even players well below Morphy’s level would not
hesitate to sacrifice the knight for two pawns and the check.}
( 9…Na6 {Is an improvement over the move the Duke and the Count played.}
10.Bxa6 bxa6 11.O-O Qb4 {Black has prospects to enter a difficult endgame against white.}
) {%09DB} 10.Nxb5 {Of course Paul Morphy does not retreat his bishop.} {%09DB}
cxb5 11.Bxb5+ {The Queen could also capture on b5 with check but why use a $9 piece to do the work of a $3 piece?}
Nbd7 {The Duke and the Count must block with the knight as stepping into the open file with the king would be suicide.}
( 11…Kd8 12.O-O-O+ Kc8 13.Rd3 ) 12.O-O-O {Castling queenside adds the rook’s power to the pinned knight on d7.} {%08DA}
Rd8 {The Duke and Count place the rook on d8 because Knight on f6 and Queen on e7
are not really defending d7. Black’s King is in full turtle mode.}
13.Rxd7 {!} {Paul Morphy fires the cannon for the first time!}
Rxd7 {The only logical response.} 14.Rd1 {Paul Morphy takes advantage of the fact that Black’s rook on d7 is pinned and reloads the cannon.} {%08DA}
Qe6 {This move does a lot of good things for black. First, it threatens to trade
queens and thus take the heat off of the black king. Second, it unpins the
knight on f6 while still having the queen defend the rook on d7. Thirdly, it
creates a roadway for the bishop on f8 and thus gives the black king an escape
rout by castling. Unfortunately for the Duke and the Count, it does not work.}
15.Bxd7+ {!} {The start of a beautiful combination.} Nxd7 {%08DA}
16.Qb8+ {!!} {The shot heard round the world.} Nxb8 17.Rd8# {Paul Morphy only has the bishop and the rook but in the end, that was all that he needed.}
1-0

 

 

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My Favorite #Chess Games: The Peruvian Immortal

June 10, 2018

imb_1cn4ix

 

“In 13 moves, Canal sacrifices both Rooks and his Queen—and then mates on his 14th move! … A man might play a million games of chess and never duplicate Canal’s feat.”- Irving Chernev

 

Esteban-Canal

Esteban Canal at the Chessboard in 1936

[Event “** Simultaneous”]

[Site “Budapest HUN”]

[Date “1934.??.??”]

[Round “?”]

[White “Esteban Canal”]

[WhiteElo “?”]

[Black “NN”]

[BlackElo “?”]

[Result “1-0”]

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 c6 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.Bf4 e6 7.h3 Bxf3 8.Qxf3 Bb4

9.Be2 Nd7 10.a3 O-O-O {??} 11.axb4 {!!} Qxa1+ 12.Kd2 {!} Qxh1 13.Qxc6+ {!} bxc6 14.Ba6#

1-0

Don’t Bring Your Queen Out Too Early

June 8, 2018

Here is a game I played last week against a new student that clearly illustrates the dangers of bringing the queen out too early. I gave my young opponent a three move start with the white pieces and he played 1. e4, 2. Bc4 and 3. Qh5. After blocking the attempted Scholars Mate, I develop easily while chasing his queen around the board. Subsequently, the queen ends up trapped after being moved six times in the opening.

imb_rqe9xn-3

 

#Chess Lesson of the Week: Fabiano Caruana vs. Robert Hess II (Argentina, 2001)

April 1, 2018

Big Thanks to Robert Hess for allowing me to share his Facebook post on this blog!

 

After seeing Robert Hess II’s post on Facebook, I became curious about his chess adventures with Fabiano Caruana in Argentina. After a quick search of my database, I found this superb chess game played by the two young chess prodigies. Below is the lesson from the game that I have prepared for my students this week.

[Event “Ch Pan-American”]
[Site “Guaymallen (Argentina)”]
[Date “2001”]
[Round “8”]
[White “Caruana, Fabiano (USA)”]
[Black “Hess, Robert L (USA)”]
[Result “1-0”]
[Eco “C57”]
[Annotator “Chris Torres”]
[Source “”]

{[ TWO KNIGHTS’ def.,C57] Caruana Fabiano +1 =0 -0 Hess Robert L (USA) +0 =0 -1 Caruana Fabiano-Hess Robert L (USA) +1 =0 -0}

1.e4 e5

2.Nf3 Nc6

3.Bc4 Nf6

4.Ng5 d5

5.exd5 Nd4 {Robert Hess chooses the double-edged Fritz Variation.}

( 5…Nxd5 6.Nxf7 {The original Fried Liver Attack.} Kxf7 7.Qf3+
Ke6 8.Nc3 Nce7 9.d4 c6 10.Bg5 h6 11.Bxe7 Bxe7 12.O-O-O Rf8 13.Qe4
Rxf2 14.dxe5 Bg5+ 15.Kb1 Rd2 16.h4 Rxd1+ 17.Rxd1 Bxh4 18.Nxd5
cxd5 19.Rxd5 Qg5 20.Rd6+ Ke7 21.Rg6 {1-0, Polerio G – Dominiko V, Rome 1602})

Fabi-Hess1

Position after 5… Nd4

6.c3 b5

7.cxd4 {Another American chess prodigy preferred 7. Bf1 which is the main line.}

( 7.Bf1 Nxd5 8.cxd4 Qxg5 9.Bxb5+ Kd8 10.Qf3 e4 11.Qxe4 Bd6 12.O-O
Bb7 13.d3 Nf4 14.Bxf4 Qxb5 15.d5 Qxb2 16.Bxd6 cxd6 17.Re1 Qf6
18.Nc3 Rc8 19.Qb4 Re8 20.Qa5+ Kd7 21.Qa4+ {1-0, Fischer Robert J (USA) 2780 – NN (ITA), Montreal 1964 Simultan})

Fabi-Hess2

Position after 7. cxd4

7… bxc4

8.dxe5 Qxd5

9.exf6

( 9.O-O Bb7 10.Nf3 Nd7 11.Re1 O-O-O 12.Nc3 Qd3 13.Re3 Qg6 14.d4 cxd3 15.Rxd3 Bc5
16.Nd5 Qe4 17.Bg5 f6 18.exf6 gxf6 19.Be3 Rhg8 20.Ne1 Ne5 21.Bxc5
Bxd5 22.Rg3 Rxg3 23.hxg3 Bb7 24.Qb3 Nd3 25.Qc2 Nxc5 26.Qxc5 Re8
27.Nf3 Qc6 28.Qxa7 Qc2 {…1-0, Bollek Jan – Godena Michele (ITA) 2527 , Caorle 1982 It (open)})

( 9.Nf3 {?!} {Seems to favor black.} Qe4+ 10.Qe2
( 10.Kf1 Qd3+ 11.Kg1 Nd7 ) Qxe2+ 11.Kxe2 Nd5 )

Fabi-Hess3

Position after 9. exf6

9… Qxg5

10.Qe2+

( 10.Qf3 Rb8 11.O-O Qxf6 12.Re1+ Be7 13.Qxf6 gxf6 14.b3
cxb3 15.axb3 Rxb3 16.Ba3 Be6 17.Bxe7 Kxe7 18.f4 Kd7 19.Rxa7 Rb2
20.Rc1 Kd6 21.Nc3 f5 22.d4 c6 23.Ra6 Rc8 24.Ra5 Rd2 25.Ra6 Ke7
26.Ra4 Rd8 27.Ra7+ Kf6 28.Ra6 R8xd4 29.g3 Rc4 30.Ra3 Kg6 31.Raa1
Rb4 32.Rd1 Rc2 33.Rac1 Rbb2 34.Rxc2 Rxc2 35.Rd3 Kf6 36.h3 Ke7
37.Nd1 c5 38.Rc3 Rxc3 39.Nxc3 c4 40.Kf2 Kd6 41.Ke3 Kc5 42.Ne2
h5 43.Nc3 Kb4 44.Kd2 Kc5 45.Ke3 Bd5 46.Ne2 Bg2 47.h4 Kb4 48.Kd2
Bf1 49.Nc3 Bd3 50.Nd1 Kc5 51.Ke3 Bc2 52.Nc3 Bd3 53.Nd1 Kb4 54.Kd2
Kb3 55.Nc3 Be4 56.Ne2 Kb4 57.Nc3 Kc5 58.Ke3 Bc2 59.Ne2 Bd3 60.Nc3
Kb4 61.Kd2 Kb3 62.Nd1 Be4 63.Nc3 Bf3 64.Nb1 Kb2 65.Nc3 Kb3 66.Nb1
Kb4 67.Nc3 Bg4 68.Nb1 Kc5 69.Ke3 {1/2-1/2, Paramzina Anastasya (RUS) 1830 – Sunyasakta Satpathy (IND) 1899, Porto Carras (Greece) 2010.10.24})

10… Be6

11.Qe4 Rb8

12.O-O Qxf6 {Fabiano Caruana and Robert Hess are dead even in a position with some serious imbalances.}

Fabi-Hess4

Position after 12… Qxf6

13.Qc6+ {Fabiano takes away black’s ability to castle.}

13… Kd8 {Robert Hess has an exposed king but much better development.}

14.Nc3 Bd6

15.g3 {?!} {Fearing black’s tactics on h2, Caruana plays g3 which is dangerously slow in such a sharp position. Better was:}
( 15.Ne4 Qd4 16.Nxd6 Qxd6 17.Qe4 {Which forces black to exchange his dangerous dark bishop.})

15… h5 {!} {Robert Hess launches his h-pawn toward the newly created weakness and in doing so activates his final piece.}

Fabi-Hess5

Position after 15… h5

16.h4 {Fabiano’s best defense creates even more weak squares around his king.}
( 16.Ne4 {??} {No longer works.} Qf3 {!} 17.h4 Bh3 )

16… Qd4 {Threatening Bxg3.}

17.Qe4 {Fabiano’s strongest move which leaves Robert Hess with a complicated choice as to how to continue his attack.}

17… Qf6 {?!} {Placing the queen on the same diagonal as his king was not the best choice. Better was:} ( 17…Bc5 18.d3 {I’m sure Fabiano would’ve been willing to temporarily lose some material to obtain must needed development.}
cxd3 19.Bf4 Rxb2 20.Be5 Qxe4 21.Nxe4 Rc2 22.Bxg7 Rg8 23.Nxc5
Rxc5 24.Bh6 Bg4 {and it’s black who is playing for a win.} )

Fabi-Hess6

Position after 17… Qf6

18.d3 {!} {Fabiano takes the initiative by threatening to play Bg5!}

18… Qe5

19.dxc4 Qxe4

20.Nxe4 Bxc4 {?}

{Hess wins a pawn and attacks Caruana’s rook. However, Caruana can respond by
playing Nxd6! which threatens Nxf7+ forking Hess’ king and rook. An improvement
for black would have been playing 20… Be5 which creates a threat and preserves the bishop pair for the ensuing endgame.}
( 20…Be5 21.Rb1 ( 21.Re1 Re8 22.Rb1 Bxc4 ) Bxc4 )

Fabi-Hess7

Position after 20… Bxc4

21.Nxd6 {!} {Removing the bishop pair and threatening Nxf7+.}

21… cxd6

22.Rd1 {Fabiano develops his rook with a threat.}

22… Kc7 {?}

{Chess can be so brutal. Had Hess played his king to the adjacent square the result of the game would have been much different.}
( 22…Kd7 23.Bf4 Rb6 24.Rd2 Be6 25.Rc1 Ra8 {and black is fine.} )

Fabi-Hess8

Position after 22… Kc7

23.Bf4 {!}

{Developing the bishop to a diagonal that threatens a pawn with a pin to the king and the king with a skewer to the rook.}

23… Rhd8 {?} {Robert Hess tries in vain to hold onto the pawn. Better was abandoning it.}
( 23…Kb7 24.Bxd6 Rbc8 {and black still has trouble, though not nearly as severe.})

24.Rac1 {!} {All of Fabiano’s remaining pieces entered the game in the most brutal fashion.}

Fabi-Hess9

Position after 24. Rac1

24… Rxb2 {Hess might as well take a pawn as there is no way to defend his pinned bishop.}
( 24…Rb4 25.b3 Kb7 26.Rd4 {!} Rd7 27.Bd2 {!} Rb6 28.Rcxc4 )
25.Rxc4+ Kb7

26.Rxd6 Re8

27.Rd7+ Ka6

28.Rcc7 Ree2 {Even with a 99.9% chance of defeat, Robert Hess still manages to create one more threat.}

29.Rxa7+ Kb6

30.Rdb7+ Kc6

31.Rxb2 Rxb2

Fabi-Hess10

Final Position

{Black resigns. Truly a superb chess game played by two incredible young prodigies!}
1-0

 

#Chess Lesson Worth Sharing: Carlsen vs. Xiangzhi 2017 FIDE World Cup

September 14, 2017

One of my favorite jazz artists, Charles Mingus once said, “Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.” In chess, it is quite common for the more confident player to add complications to the position in order to allow him/her more opportunities to prove superior skill. In general, this is a good strategy and oftentimes the resulting victories are praised by chess aficionados. Of course, another result is also quite possible.

In the 2017 FIDE World Cup match between Bu Xiangzhi and World Champion Magnus Carlsen, Magnus’ over complicated style with the white pieces was dealt a devastating blow by Bu’s straight forward approach as black. Magnus chose a slow developing line of the Giuoco Piano which included several slow pawn moves and piece redeployments. Bu Xiangzhi on the other hand played a fairly straight forward opening with only one cryptic move (9… Rab8.) The result of the game clearly demonstrated the dangers of being too fancy as Magnus’ 11. h3 was severely punished by a common bishop sacrifice and a very creative early advancement of the h-pawn.

As a fan of Magnus Carlsen this game was painful to watch. As a chess educator, this game is a golden opportunity to demonstrate important lessons. For this reason I am sharing my lesson plans on this game. Try pairing the moves with Charles Mingus’ “Music Written for Monterey.”

Carlsen – Xiangzhi page 1

 

Carlsen – Xiangzhi page 2

 

Carlsen – Xiangzhi page 3

 

Carlsen – Xiangzhi page 4

 

Carlsen – Xiangzhi page 5

 

The Fried Morra Attack

July 27, 2017

“Fried Morra” was served at our Southern California Summer Chess Camp!

 

Sometimes in chess themes from one opening can directly apply to another seemingly unrelated system. Below is a game in which I tried to play a Smith-Morra Gambit but after black plays an early e5 the game takes on a Fried Liver flavor. Caution should be used when blending these two spicy openings together as the resulting dish can be quite overpowering.

 

[Event “Summer Chess Camp”]
[Site “Glendale, California”]
[Date “2017.7.4”]
[Round “”]
[White “Chris Torres”]
[Black “Student”]
[Result “1-0”]
[Eco “B32”]
[Annotator “Chris Torres”]

{[ SICILIAN def. Fried Morra var.]}

1.e4 c5

2.Nf3 Nc6

3.d4 cxd4

4.c3 {I do not recapture but instead steer the game into Smith-Morra Gambit territory(1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Bc4 e6 6.Nf3.)}

FriedMorra

Position after 4. c3.

4… e5 {?!} {My opponent declines capturing on c3 and thus my invitation to the Smith-Morra.}

5.Bc4 {With black’s pawn on e5 instead of e6 I am free to target the belly Button(f7) with my bishop.}

5… Nf6

6.Ng5 {I seize the opportunity to play a Fried Liver style attack.}

FriedMorra2

Position after 6. Ng5.

6… d5 {As in the Fried Liver Attack, black can not block the knight’s attack on f7 but can block the bishop with d5.}

7.exd5 Nxd5 {Black’s most solid choice is 7… Na5 and that also holds true at this junction in the Fried Liver.}

8.Nxf7! {Exposing black’s king and creating a new target out of the pinned knight on d5. }

FriedMorra3

Position after 8. Nxf7.

8… Kxf7

9.Qf3+ Ke6

10.O-O  Nce7 {?} {Either 10… Na5 or Be7 would have been better for black.}

( 10…Na5 11.Bd3 Nf6 12.cxd4 Qxd4 13.Nc3 Bd7 14.Bf5+ Kf7 15.Rd1 Bc6 16.Rxd4 Bxf3 17.Ra4 Nc6 18.gxf3 Nd4 19.Be4 Nxe4 20.fxe4 Bc5 21.Be3 Nc2 22.Rd1 Nxe3 23.fxe3 Bxe3+ 24.Kg2 Rhd8 25.Rc4 Bb6 26.Rxd8 Rxd8 27.Nd5 Rd7 28.b4 Bd4 29.a4
a6 30.b5 {…0-1, Vysochin Spartak (UKR) 2520 – Munoz Pantoja Miguel (PER) 2480 , Internet 4/ 4/2008 Dos Hermanas Internet Final})

( 10…Be7 11.cxd4 Nxd4 12.Qe4 b5 13.Re1 bxc4 14.Qxd4 Bf6 15.Qxc4
Qc7 16.Qd3 Bb7 17.Na3 Kf7 18.Bd2 Rad8 19.Rac1 Qd7 20.Qb3 Rhe8
21.Nb5 Re6 22.Ba5 Rc8 23.Rxc8 Qxc8 24.Bb4 Nxb4 25.Qxb4 Be7 26.Qb3
Qc5 27.h3 Bd5 28.Qd3 Bc4 29.Qf3+ Rf6 30.Qh5+ {…0-1, Fomina Tatyana (EST) 2214 – Azarova Nadezhda (BLR) 2308 , Beijing 10/15/2008 World Mindsports Games (Active Team w)})

FriedMorra4

Position after 10… Nce7?

11.Re1 {I would have also been doing well had I played 11. cxd4.}

( 11.cxd4 Kd7 ( 11…exd4 12.Rd1 b5 13.Bb3 Bb7 14.Rxd4 Nf5 15.Rd3 Bb4 16.g4 Nfe7 17.Bg5 ) 12.dxe5 Ke8 13.Bg5 )

11… Kd6

12.cxd4 exd4

13.Bf4+ {?} {Missing the correct square for the bishop by just one square has the potential to throw away all of white’s advantage.}

( 13.Bg5! h6 14.Rxe7 Nxe7 15.Qa3+ Kd7 16.Qa4+ Nc6 17.Bxd8 )

FriedMorra8

Position after 13. Bf4+?

13… Kc5 {??} {Deep Blue would have played 13…Nxf4 and been fine.}

( 13…Nxf4 14.Qxf4+ Kc6 15.Nc3 a6 16.Rad1 Qd6 17.Qe4+ Kb6 18.Rxd4 Qh6 )

FriedMorra5

Position after 13… Kc5??

14.Rc1 {I missed playing 14. Qa3+ which is objectively best as it is the first step in a mate in 9.}

( 14.Qa3+ Nb4 15.Re5+ Ned5 16.Rxd5+ Qxd5 17.Qa5+ Kxc4 18.Nd2+
Kd3 19.Qa3+ Kc2 20.Nf3 Nd3 21.Ne1+ Nxe1 22.Rc1# )

14… Nxf4

15.Bf7+ {!} {My choice for the best move of the game is this beautiful discovered check which places black’s king immediately into his death march.}

FriedMorra6

Position after 15. Bf7+.

15…Kb6

16.Qb3+ Ka5

17.Rc5+ b5

18.Qxb5# 1-0

FriedMorra7

Position after 18. Qxb5#

San Jose Chess Camp to Teach Decision Making Skills to Bay Area Youth

July 7, 2017

SAN JOSE, CA – 07/06/2017

— Chris Torres, the President of the Torres Chess and Music Academy, has been successfully inspiring California’s young chess players for over 20 years. During this time, his annual summer chess camp has proven itself a good training ground for the Bay Area’s brightest chess talent. This year’s San Jose summer chess camp is celebrating his 20 years of knowledge sharing by returning the tuition back to just $160/week the same price Chris charged in 1997!

Over the past two decades Mr. Torres’ classes have attracted players of all abilities ranging from absolute beginners to national champions. Regardless of a child’s talent level, Chris believes that chess benefits all children by improving their decision making skills.

“Using the power of chess to teach children good decision making skills has always been the most important aspect of my coaching. I have personally witnessed how strong decision making skills allow children to excel in all aspects of life. Former students who are now doctors, lawyers, engineers and leaders in Silicon Valley continue to support my classes because they credit much of their successes to chess.”

The Torres Chess and Music Academy’s summer chess camp in San Jose, California will run from July 17-27’th and is open to players of all skill levels. Attendees will receive instruction from Chris Torres, other TCAMA coaches and several highly esteemed instructors including Frisco Del Rosario, Francisco Anchondo and Jay Stallings! Additionally each week there will be a USCF rated tournament and a puzzle solving competition with awards given at the end of each week. All students who complete two weeks of camp will receive a commemorative camp T-shirt, a special 1 on 1 follow up lesson with Chris Torres, and a hand signed diploma. To apply online, or for more information on the TCAMA, please visit www.CHESSANDMUSIC.com, or contact Chris Torres at chesslessons@aol.com.

Media Contacts:

Company Name: Torres Chess & Music Academy
Full Name: Chris
Phone: (209)323-0197
Email Address: SEND EMAIL
Website: www.ChessAndMusic.com

More Fighting Chess from the 2016 Chess Olympiad

September 6, 2016

Today’s featured game from the 2016 Chess Olympiad includes an attack straight out of a chess hustler’s playbook which leads to a victory in just 27 moves. Hats off to Bader Al-Hajiri (Kuwait) and Rodwell Makoto (Zimbabwe) for playing such an entertaining game. Enjoy…

 

[Event “Chess Olympiad”]
[Site “Baku, Azerbaijan”]
[Date “2016.9.5”]
[Round “4”]
[White “Al-Hajiri, Bader”]
[Black “Makoto, Rodwell”]
[Result “0-1”]
[Eco “C48”]
[Annotator “Chris Torres”]

{[ FOUR KNIGHTS’ GAME,C48]}

1.e4 e5

2.Nf3 Nc6

3.Nc3 Nf6

4.Bb5 Bc5

5.Nxe5

 

Position after 5. Nxe5

Position after 5. Nxe5

 

5… O-O {!?}

( 5…Nxe5 6.d4 {The Fork Trick} Bd6 7.f4 (7.dxe5 Bxe5 8.Be3 c6 9.Be2 O-O) 8.  Nc6 8.e5 {The Fork Trick: Part Two} O-O 9.exd6 Re8+
{And oddly enough, black is fine.} )

( 5…Bxf2+ {?!} 6.Kxf2 Nxe5 7.d4 Ng6 ( 7…Nfg4+ 8.Ke1 c6 9.dxe5 d6 10.Be2 Nxe5 11.Bf4
{and white is winning.} ) ( 7…Neg4+ 8.Kg1 c6 9.Be2 d5 10.exd5
O-O 11.dxc6 bxc6 12.h3 Nh6 13.g4 {I’d be happy to play as white from here.}) 8.e5 c6 9.exf6 {!} Qxf6+ 10.Qf3 Qxf3+ 11.gxf3 cxb5 12.Re1+
Kd8 13.Nxb5 {and white is better.} )

6.Nf3

( 6.O-O Nxe5 7.d4 Bd6 8.f4 Nc6 9.e5 Bb4 10.exf6 Qxf6 11.Nd5 Qxd4+ 12.Be3 Qxd1 13.Raxd1
Bd6 14.f5 f6 15.Bf4 Ne5 16.Bxe5 fxe5 17.f6 c6 18.Ne7+ Bxe7 19.fxe7
Re8 20.Bc4+ d5 21.Rxd5 cxd5 22.Bxd5+ Be6 23.Bxe6+ Kh8 24.Rf7
h5 25.Kf2 Kh7 {…1-0, Kulaots Kaido (EST) 2581 – Roiz Michael (ISR) 2652 , Plovdiv 3/22/2012 Ch Europe})

( 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.Nf3 Nxe4 8.Nxe4 Re8 9.d3 f5 10.O-O fxe4 11.dxe4
Bg4 12.Qe2 )

6… Nd4

7.Nxd4 ( 7.Be2 Nxe2 8.Qxe2 d5 9.d3 Bb4 10.e5
Re8 11.O-O Bg4 {Looks like a fun position for both colors.} )

7… Bxd4

8.Ne2 {?} {Bader Ali-Hajiri is asking for trouble with this move. Better was:}
( 8.O-O Re8 9.Be2 Bxc3 10.dxc3 Nxe4 )

 

Position after 8. Ne2

Position after 8. Ne2

 

8… Bxf2+ {!} {Rodwell Makoto responds with fire.}

9.Kxf2 Nxe4+

10.Ke1 Qf6 {Attacks like these are usually reserved for the street chess hustlers. I’m taking notes.}

11.Rf1 Qh4+

12.Ng3 Re8 {Threatening a discovered check with Nc3 which wins the queen.}

 

Position after 12... Re8

Position after 12… Re8

 

13.Be2 Nxg3 {Not sure I agree with voluntarily trading pieces here. Black is attacking and
therefor should be looking to bring in more force not remove it.}

14.hxg3 Qxg3+

15.Rf2 {Bader Al-Hajiri has done a fine job weathering Rodwell Makoto’s creative attack.}

15… d5

16.Kf1 {?} {Unpinning the rook and bishop by stepping aside is tempting but now when
black’s queen moves to h2 white will be in serious trouble. Much better was:}
( 16.d4 Qh2 17.Bf4 Qg1+ 18.Rf1 Qxg2 19.Rf2 Qg1+ 20.Rf1 Qg2 {draw by repetition.})

 

Position after 16. Kf1

Position after 16. Kf1

 

16… Qh2 {!}

17.Rf3 Bg4 ( 17…d4 18.d3 Bg4 19.c3
Re6 20.Bf4 Qh1+ 21.Kf2 Rxe2+ 22.Qxe2 Qxa1 {is another way to go about the attack.})

18.a4 {?} {Trying to make up for his earlier mistakes, Beder Al-Hajiri will try to get
both of his rooks unified in the third rank. This is a very unusual plan and unfortunately, for Al-Hajiri, not very effective.}

( 18.Re3 {Exchanging the queens and freeing the pieces was a much better plan for white.}
Qh1+ 19.Kf2 Qxd1 20.Bxd1 Bxd1 21.d4 c6 22.c3 f6 23.Bd2 )

18… Re6

19.Raa3 {Bader Al-Hajiri has accomplished his goal behind playing 18. a4.}

 

Position after 19. Raa3

Position after 19. Raa3

 

19… d4 {!} {With one pawn push, Rodwell Makoto takes away his opponent’s chances of placing
a rook into the open e-file. This is a crushing blow to white.}

20.Rh3 {Bader Al-Hajiri tries to resurrect some purpose for his rooks being in the third rank.}

20… Rf6+

21.Rhf3 ( 21.Raf3 Bxh3 22.gxh3 Rg6 23.Ke1 Re8 {is even worse for black.})

21… Re8 {Rodwell Makoto has four pieces left and they are all involved in the attack on Bader Al-Hajiri’s king.}

22.Kf2 Qh4+

23.Kg1 Rfe6

24.g3 Qh5

25.Bf1 {?} {Its impossible to defend against such force with such a disorganized position. However, Rfe3 was the more accurate choice.} ( 25.Rfe3 Bxe2 26.Qxe2 Qxe2 27.Rxe2 Rxe2 28.Rf3 )

 

Position after 25. Bf1

Position after 25. Bf1

 

25… Re1{!} {Just crushing.}

26.Rae3 R8xe3

27.Rxe3 Rxe3 {and Bader Al-Hajiri resigns as his queen is trapped.}
0-1

 

Final Position

Final Position

Hidden Gems Abound at the 2016 Chess Olympiads

September 4, 2016

One of my favorite hobbies is treasure hunting for beautifully instructive chess games during the annual Chess Olympiads. With more than 180 countries each sending their best male and female teams to compete in one event, the Chess Olympiads is a veritable mother load of chess gems. For hunting these chess treasures, I follow along at:

The official site for the 2016 FIDE Chess Olympiads

http://www1.bakuchessolympiad.com//

 

 

Chess Daily News

https://chessdailynews.com

 

ChessGames.com

http://www.chessgames.com/index.html

 

FM Qiu Zhou of Canada

FM Qiyu Zhou of Canada

And to illustrate just the kind of hidden gems I am talking about, I present Sindira Joshi (Nepal) vs. Qiyu Zhou (Canada) from round 1 of the 2016 FIDE Chess Olympiads. Enjoy…

[Event “Chess Olympiad”]
[Site “Baku, Azerbaijan”]
[Date “2016.9.2”]
[Round “1”]
[White “Joshi, Sindira”]
[Black “Zhou, Qiyu”]
[Result “0-1”]
[Eco “C54”]
[Annotator “Chris Torres”]

{[ ITALIAN GAME & HUNGARIAN def.,C54]}

1.e4 e5

2.Nf3 Nc6

3.d4 {The start to the Scotch.}

3… exd4

4.Bc4 Bc5

5.c3 {Transposing to a Giuoco Piano.}

5… Nf6

6.cxd4 Bb4+

7.Bd2 {White could have also chosen the equally popular Moeller Attack by playing Nc3 and gambitting the e-pawn.}

( 7.Nc3 Nxe4 8.O-O Bxc3 9.d5 Bf6 10.Re1 O-O 11.Rxe4 Ne7 12.d6
cxd6 13.Qxd6 Nf5 14.Qd5 d6 15.Bg5 Bxg5 16.Nxg5 Qxg5 17.Qxf7+
{1-0, Euwe Max (NED) – Van Mindeno A, Netherlands 1927 It “AVRO”} )

 

Position after 7. Bd2

Position after 7. Bd2

 

7… Nxe4

8.Bxb4 Nxb4

9.Bxf7+ Kxf7

10.Qb3+ d5 {Discovered by Gioachino Greco, this line is a mere 400 years old.}

 

Position after 10... d5

Position after 10… d5

 

11.Qxb4 {Greco preffered Ne5+ here.}

11… Rf8

12.Nc3 {So far so good for the much lower rated Sindira Joshi. Her chances are about equal here.}
( 12.O-O Ng5 13.Ne5+ Kg8 14.Nc3 c6 15.f4 Nf7 16.Ne2 Nd6 17.Ng3
a5 18.Qa3 a4 19.Qb4 a3 20.bxa3 Nb5 21.a4 Qd6 22.Rab1 Qxb4 23.Rxb4
Nc3 24.Rb3 Nxa4 25.Ne2 Ra6 26.g3 Nb6 27.Nc3 Na4 28.Ne2 Nb6 29.Nc3
Nc4 30.Nxc4 dxc4 31.Rb4 b5 {…1/2-1/2, Schaefer Markus (GER) 2390 – Postny Evgeny (ISR) 2595 , Plovdiv 10/19/2010 Cup European Club})

12… Nxc3 13.bxc3 {?} {A slight innacuracy. Better was Qxc3 as seen in this game:}

( 13.Qxc3 Kg8 14.O-O Qd6 15.Ne5 Bf5 16.Rae1 Rae8 17.Re3 Re6 18.Rfe1
Ref6 19.b4 {1/2-1/2, Danilenko Dmitriy (UKR) 1992 – Pavlov Maxim (UKR) 2327 , Alushta 5/18/2006 Ch Ukraine (1/2 final)})

13… Kg8

14.Ne5 {?} {Another harmless looking mistake. Much better was h4 to prevent Qg5.}

 

Position after 14. Ne5

Position after 14. Ne5

 

14… Qg5 {Here comes trouble.}

15.g3 {?} {As dangerous as it looks, castling is to be preferred here.}

15… Rxf2 {!} {Qiyu Zhou starts her combination with a beautiful rook sacrifice.}

 

Position after 15.... Rxf2

Position after 15…. Rxf2

 

16.Kxf2 Qd2+

17.Kf3 Bh3 {Qiyu Zhou is putting on a tactical clinic.}

 

Position after 15... Bh3

Position after 15… Bh3

 

18.Rad1 {Sindira Joshi seems to be playing the most accurate responses but Qiyu Zhou continues to press her advantage.}

18… Bg2+

19.Kg4 Qe2+

20.Kh4 Bxh1 {Not just to win the exchange but also to set up a vicious fork.}

 

Position after 20... Bxh1

Position after 20… Bxh1

 

21.Rxh1 Qe4+ {and now Sindira Joshi’s only chance is to hope for a rare blunder from Qiyu Zhou.}

22.Kh3 Qxh1 {Qiyu Zhou concludes the prefectly executed 8 move combination.}

23.Qe7 {Sindira Joshi finally has a choice but it is to pick her own poison.}

( 23.Qxb7 Rf8 24.Qxc7 Qf1+ 25.Kh4 Qf6+ 26.Kh3 Qf5+ 27.g4 Qf1+
28.Kg3 Qf4+ 29.Kg2 g5 {seems very unpleasant for white.} ) {%09DB}

23… Qf1+ {Qiyu Zhou grabs the initiative again.}

 

Position after 23... Qf1+

Position after 23… Qf1+

 

24.Kh4 Qf6+ {Qiyu Zhou wisely choses to force an exchange of queens and head into a rook vs. knight endgame.}

25.Qxf6 gxf6

26.Nd7 Kf7

27.Nc5 b6

28.Nd3 Re8

29.Nf4 {Hats off to Sindira Joshi for continueing to play on and give us a chance to study good endgame technique.}

 

Position after 29. Nf4

Position after 29. Nf4

 

29… c6

30.Kg4 Re3

31.Kf5 {Nothing can be done to save white’s queenside pawns from a Qiyu Zhou’s rampaging rook.}

31… Rxc3

32.Nh5 Rc2

33.h4 Rxa2

34.Kf4 a5

35.Ke3 b5

36.Nf4 a4

37.Nd3 a3

38.Nb4 Rb2 {Sindira Joshi resigns as there is no hope left for white.} 0-1

 

Final Position

Final Position

Puzzle Worthy Position 30

August 18, 2016

“Who speaks to the instincts speaks to the deepest in mankind, and finds the readiest response.” – Amos Bronson Alcott

White to Move

After much deliberation, I chose Bxd5! After which, my opponent’s rook gobbled up my queen.

White to move and mate in 2.


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