Wednesday, December 23, 2015

PCC December Quads

Round 1, Raptis(2366)-chessart(1835), Benko Gambit, Zaitsev System
1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c5 3 d5 b5 4 cb a6 5 Nc3 ab 6 e4

     This initiates the Zaitsev System, a trappy line for white against the Benko, but good for black if black know what he's doing. Unfortunately, I did not remember the line well enough to go into it

6...d6?

     Correct is 6...b4. I was sure that my high-rated opponent would know the main line better than I did, as it had been many years since I studied it. I was unsure of 6...b4 7 e5, but after bc 8 ef Qa5! 9 bc Qxc3+ 10 Bd2 Qxf6 Black is clearly winning. The main line actually runs 7 Nb5 d6 8 Bf4 g5 9 Bxg5 Nxe4 10 Bf4 Qa5 11 Bc4 Bg7 12 Qe2 b3+ 13 Kf1 f5 14 f3 0-0 15 fe fe 16 g3 Qxa2 17 Rxa2 ba 18 Bxa2 Rxa2 19 Qxe4 Ba6 20 Nh3 Rxb2 21 Ke1 Bxb5 (Black has R + B for Q) 22 Kd1 Nd7 23 Ng5 Nf6 23 Ng5 Nf6 24 Qe6+ Kh8 25 Re1 Ba4+ 26 Kc1 Rc2+ 27 Kd1 Rxh2+ drawn.

     Nick said after the game that he plays 8 Bc4 (instead of 8 Bf4), and the main line after that runs 8...Nbd7 9 Nf3 Nb6 10 Bd3 g6 11 b3 Bg7 12 Bb2 0-0 13 0-0 Ba6 14 Qe2 Qd7 15 a2 bxa3 16 Rxa3 and black won both games from here.

     The question arises as to why black can't take the white P/e5 at move 8. It turns out it is playable, contrary to Nick's belief. One game ran Nxe4 9. Qe2 Nf6 10. Bf4 Ra6 11. Nxd6+ Rxd6 12. Bb5+ Bd7 13. Bxd6 Qb6 14. Bxd7+ Nbxd7 15. Bg3 Nxd5 16. Nf3 e6 17. O-O Be7 18. Rfd1 N7f6 19. Ne5 O-O 20. Qc4 Rc8 21. a4 Qa5 22. Qc2 Nb6 23. b3 Nfd5 24. Nc4 Nxc4 25. bxc4 Nc3 26. Re1 Bf6 27. Be5 Bxe5 28. Rxe5 Rd8 29. f4 g6 30. h4 Rd4 31. Qf2 Rxc4 32. h5 b3 33. h6 Qb6 34. a5 b2 35. Rb1 Qd8 36. Rxb2 Nd1 37. Rd2 Rd4 38. Rxd4 cxd4 39. Qf3 Nc3 40. Qd3 Nd5 41. a6 Nxf4 42. a7 Qa8 43. Qf3 Qxa7 44. Qxf4 1-0

     The other game ran 17. Ne5 Nxe5 18. Bxe5 f6 19. Bg3 Kf7 20. O-O h5 21. h4 g6 22. a4 Be7 23. a5 Qc6 24. Qc4 Ra8 25. Rfe1 Ra6 26. Re2 Qa8 27. Qb5 Qc8 28. Rc1 Qc6 29. Qc4 Qa8 30. Rce1 Rc6 31. Bf4 Qa6 32. Qe4 f5 33. Qf3 Nxf4 34. Qxf4 Qxa5 35. Qc4 Qa6 36. Qf4 Rd6 37. Qe5 Qc6 38. Qf4 Bf6 39. Qc4 Qd5 40. Rc1 Qxc4 41. Rxc4 Rd1+ 42. Kh2 Bd4 43. g3 e5 44. Kg2 Ke6 45. Rec2 Kd5 46. Kf3 b3 47. Rxd4+ Kxd4 48. Rc3 Rd3+ 0-1



7 Bxb5+ Bd7 8 Bc4 g6 9 Nf3 Bg7 10 e5 de? 11 Nxe5 0-0 12 0-0 Na6 13 Qe2 Nc7 14 Rd1 Qe8 15 Be3 Rc8 16 f4 e6 17 Bxc5 Nxd5 18 Bxf8 Nxc3 19 bc Qxf8 20 Nxd7 NxN 21 RxR Qc5+ 22 Kh1 QxB 23 Rd8+ 1-0
                                                ***                                               ***
Round 2, chessart(1835)-Taylor(1975), Albin Counter-Gambit
1 d4 d5 2 c4 e5

     This initiates the Albin Counter-Gambit.

3 de d4 4 Nf3 Nc6 5 g3 Nge7

     5...Bg4 6. Bg2 Qd7 7. O-O O-O-O 8. Nbd2 h5 9. h4 Nge7 10. b4 Ng6 11. b5 Ncxe5 12. Qa4 Kb8 13. Nb3 Nxf3 14. exf3 Bh3 15. Nxd4 Bxg2 16. Nc6 bxc6 17. bxc6 Qc8 18. Be3 a6  is the main line here, while Be6 6. Nbd2 Qd7 7. Bg2 O-O-O 8. O-O h5 9. h4 Nh6 10. b4 Ng4 11. Qa4 Kb8 is the secondary line, with white's move a close third.  White has a huge advantage in all three of these lines.

6 Bg2 Ng6 7 0-0 Ngxe5 8 NxN NxN 9 Nd2

     9 b3 is most common, with the idea of 9...Be7 10. Bb2 c5 11. e3 Nc6 12. Bxc6 bxc6 13. exd4 cxd4 14. Qxd4 Qxd4 15. Bxd4 O-O 16. Re1 Be6 17. Nc3 Rfd8 18. Be5  and both these games were drawn, which calls into question the wisdom of white's giving up his B/g2 to win black's d-pawn. If black plays 10...Bf6 (instead of 10...c5), white must be careful not to take the P/d4 as it is poisoned.

9...Be7 10 Nf3 NxN+ 11 BxN 0-0 12 Qc2 Bf6 13 Rd1 Qe7 14 a3 a5 15 Bd2 a4 16 Bb4 c5

     My strategy was to induce this move, as it gives me a great square on d5 for my bishop, and it leaves black's P/b7 permanently weak.

17 Bd2 Re8 18 Rac1 g6 19 b3 (Meeting the threat of ...Bf5, trapping the queen on c2) Bf5 20 Qa2 Be4 21 ba Rxa4 22 Bh6 Rea8 23 BxB QxB 24 Qc2 QxQ 25 RxQ Rxa3 26 Rb1 Ra1 27 R2c1

     Seeing that my original plan of 27 R2b2 doesn't work, I reverted to plan B.

R1a2 28 Kf1 Re8 29 Re1 Rc2 30 Rxb2 Rxc4 31 R1b1 Ra4 32 Rc7!

     Threatening to double rooks on the 7th.

32...Rb4

      32...Ra2 might be objectively better, but black was already getting low on time and thus was unable to work through the complications that would ensue.

33 RxR cb 34 Rb7 Be7 35 Bd2! (recovering the pawn, with the better endgame) Bf8 36 Bxb4 Rd8 37 BxB KxB 38 Ke1 d3?

     This gives me an easy win. All I have to do is push 39 e3, and then win the P/d3 in straightforward fashion. If white leaves the pawn on d4, his king can get to e5 to guard it, and I will have to work for the win.

39 de?? Rxd3 1/2-1/2

Unfortunately, I failed to find 39 e3, and now it is a dead draw. We played on a few more moves before agreeing to the draw.
                                               ***                                             ***
Round 3, Witt(1884)-chessart(1835), Sicilian Dragon
1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 d4 cd 5 Nxd4 g6 6 Be3 Bg7 7 f3 0-0 8 Qd2 Nc6 9 Bc4 Bd7 10 0-0-0 Qa5 11 g4 Rfc8 12 Bb3 Ne5 13 Bh6


     13 h4 is by far the most common, followed in a distant second by 13 Kb1. 13 Bh6 is in third, scoring a healthy 65% for black.

13...Nc4?

     Usual here is 13...Bxh6. The main game proceeded  Bxh6 14. Qxh6 Rxc3 15. bxc3 Qxc3 16. Kb1 Nc4 17. Bxc4 Qxc4 18. Qe3 Rc8 19. Rd2 a5 20. Ka1 e5 21. Ne2 Be6 22. c3 Qa4 23. Rb1 Nd7 24. Qd3 Nc5 25. Qc2 Qa3 26. Rb6 Na4 27. Rbxd6 Nc5 28. Rd8+ Kg7 29. Kb1 Rc6 30. R8d6 Rc7 31. Qb2 Qa4 32. g5 Qc4 33. Ka1 b5 34. R2d4 exd4 35. Rxd4 Nb3+ 36. axb3 Qxb3 1/2-1/2

     The general principle here is that black must sac early on c3 whenever white plays an early g4. Note that white must stop for defense on move 18, because otherwise black's attack proceeds unimpeded, while white has no attack as his queen is useless on h6. Note also that black can proceed equally effectively with 16...a5 or 16...Rc8 (instead of 16...Nc4).

14 BxN RxB 15 BxB KxB 16 Nb3 Qd8 17 e5 Nxg4 18 fg Bxg4 19 Re1 de 20 QxQ RxQ 21 Rxe5 e6 22 Rg1 h5 23 Nd1 Bf5 24 Ne3 Rh4??

     24...Rf4 holds, but white still has a healthy advantage of +1.30.

25 RxB! 1-0

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

PCC October Quads

Gaikwad((1933)-chessart(1832), 10/17/15, Symmetical English
1 Nf3 c5 2 c4 Nf6 3 Nc3 d5 4 cd Nxd5 5 g3 Nc6 6 Bg2 Nc7

Results from a database indicate that black already has an advantage from this position.

7 0-0 e5 8 d3 Be7

Black's advantage is now a healthy 14%.

9 Nd2

I must confess that this move, while quite popular, mystifies me. Why white wants to waste two tempos to reposition his knight to c4 is a mystery to me.

Bd7 10 Nc4 f6 11 f4 b5!

 This strong move forces white's knight on c4 to move, at a time when the knight has no good squares to go to. He is therefore forced to block the diagonal for his queen bishop.

12 Ne3 0-0?

Usual is 12...exf4. The main line then proceeds 13 gxf4 Rb8 14 Ned5 NxN 15 NxN 0-0 16 Be3 Nd4 17 Rc1 Be6=

13 Ncd5 NxN 14 NxN Bd6 15Be3 Nd4 16 Rc1 Bg4 17 Rf2 Rc8 18 h3 Be6 19 Kh2 Nf5 20 Bd2 Kh8 21 Nc3 b4 22 Ne4 Bxa2?

This is a case of the threat being stronger than the execution. Black should play 22...a5, and now white has to worry about his pawn on a2.

23 fe fe 24 Ra1 Bg8 25 Rxa7 Bb8 26 Ra6

Black had a healthy half-pawn advantage a few moves ago, but now white is ahead by .70.

26...Bd5 27 Rc1 Ba7 28 Qf1 BxN 29 BxB Nd4 30 Be3 RxR+ 31 QxR Qf6 32 BxN ed 33 QxQ PxQ 34 Rf1 Rf8 35 Qf5 Kg7 36 Rh5 h6 37 Rd5 Rf7 38 h4 Bb6 39 Rd6 Ba7 40 h5 Re7 41 Kg2 Rc7 42 b3 Re7 1-0

And here my time slipped below five minutes and I stopped keeping score. While material is even, white has a positionally won game, as his king can penetrate my position on the light-colored squares, while my king is stuck where he is. Beyond that, white's rook and bishop are actively placed, while their black counterparts are relegated to passive, defensive roles.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

PCC November Swiss

My first good result in a PCC Swiss tournament. I beat two lower-rated players and drew with two higher-rated players. (I was lucky not to have to play the Master or the Expert.) Here are the two draws. In each of these games I blundered in the opening, but recovered to achieve the draw.

Steve Surak(1955) - chessart(1825), Round 3, Veresof Opening, A45

1 d4 Nf6 2 Nc3


The Veresof Opening, which already hands the advantage to black.

2...c5

Gives black a healthy 5.6% advantage. 2...d5 and 2...c6 also retain black's advantage in the unenterprising opening white has played.


3 dc

Black's advantage is now at 5.7%.

3...Qa5

3...e6 is played slightly more often. My advantage is now at 7.2%. I have always been loathe to develop my queen so soon, but in recent weeks I have been studying openings in which one player does this. Oddly, I prematurely developed my queen in both this game and the next one, an experiment which I am not likely to repeat!

4 Nf3 Qxc5 5 e4 d6 6 Be2 g6

Only game in the 365chess database continued 7. O-O Bg7 8. Be3 Qa5 9. Nd4 O-O 10. Nb3 Qc7 11. f4 Nc6 12. Kh1 Be6 13. Qe1 Na5 14. Nxa5 Qxa5 15. Bd3 Rfc8 16. f5 Bc4 17. Qh4 Bxd3 18. cxd3 Qb4 19. Rab1 d5 20. a3 Qa5 21. e5 Nd7 22. d4 Re8 23. Bh6 Bh8 24. fxg6 hxg6 25. Qf4 f5 26. Qg5 1-0

7 Be3 Qc7 8 0-0 Bg7 9  Bd4 0-0 Bg7 9 Bd4

Here I should have asked myself, "Why did he make that move?" Had I asked myself this basic question, I would have readily seen his follow up.

0-0 10 BxN BxB

10...ef loses the d-pawn immediately to 11 Nb5.

11 Nd5 Qd8 12 NxB+ ef 13 Qd2 Qe7 14 Rfe1 Nc6

Snatching the e-pwn just looked too dangerous. The computer agrees.

15 Rad1 Rd8 16 Bb5 Bg4 17 BxN bc 18 Re3 BxN 19 RxB d5 20 Rd3 Qxe4

This "win" of a pawn is only temporary.

21 Rd4 Qe7 22 c4 Re8

The computer thinks 22...Rd6 gives me an advantage.

23 cd cd 24 Rxd5 Qe2 25 QxQ RxQ 26 R5d2 R8d8

A double rook ending is now in full swing.

27 Kf1 R2e7 28 Rd8 RxR 29 RxR+ Kg7 30 Rd2 f5 31 Re2 Rc7 32 Ke1 Kf6 33 Kd1 g5 34 b3 h5 35 Rc2 Rd7+ 36 Kc1 Ke5 37 Re2+ Kf4 38 Rd2 Rc7+ 39 Rc2 Rd7 40 b4 Ke4 41 a4 Rb7?

I could have equalized completely with 41...Rd4!

42 Rb2 Ke3 43 b5 Kc3? (43...Kc4!=)

44 a5 Kc4 45 b6 Kc5 46 Rc2+ Kb5 47 Rc7 Ka6 48 Rc5 drawn by agreement

White was quite low on time and offered the draw. After the game the top players pointed out that white has an easy win by trading rooks and then going after black's king-side pawns with his king.

                                                              ***
Steven Witt(1894) - chessart(1825), Round 4, Catalan

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 g3 d5 4 Bg2 dc 5 Qa4+?

5 Nf3 is much better. A sample game runs 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 d5 4. Bg2 dxc4 5. Nf3 Nc6 6. Qa4 Bb4+ 7. Bd2 Nd5 8. Bxb4 Nxb4 9. O-O Rb8 10. Nc3 a6 11. Ne5 O-O 12. Nxc6 Nxc6 13. Bxc6 bxc6 14. Qxc4 Qd6 15. Ne4 Qd5 16. Qxd5 exd5 17. Nc5 Rxb2 18. e3 Bf5 19. f3 a5 20. g4 Bg6 21. Rf2 Rfb8 22. Raf1 f6 23. Kg2 Kf7 24. Kg3 Ke7 25. Rxb2 Rxb2 26. Rf2 Rb1 27. Rg2 h5 28. h3 Bf7 29. h4 hxg4 30. Kxg4 g6 31. a4 Re1 32. Kf4 Rh1 33. Kg3 Re1 34. Kf4 Rh1 35. Kg3 Re1 36. Kf2 Rh1 37. Rg1 Rxh4 38. Rb1 Rh2+ 39. Kg3 Re2 40. Rb7 Kd6 41. Rb3 g5 42. Nb7+ Kd7 43. Nxa5 c5 44. dxc5 d4 45. Rd3 Rxe3 46. Rxd4+ Kc8 47. Nc6 Be8 48. Kf2 Re6 49. Rd8+ Kb7 50. Nd4 Re5 51. a5 Ka6 52. Ra8+ Kb7 53. Rd8 Ka6 54. Ra8+ Kb7 55. Rd8 Ka6 1/2-1/2

Another game runs (from 22nd move)  22. Re1 f6 23. Kg2 h5 24. gxh5 Bxh5 25. Nd3 Rxf2+ 26. Kxf2 a4 27. e4 dxe4 28. fxe4 a3 29. Ke3 Bf7 30. Re2 Rb1 31. Rc2 Ra1 32. Nc1 f5 33. exf5 Bd5 34. Rc3 Rb1 35. Nd3 Rb2 36. Rxa3 Rxh2 37. Ra8+ Kh7 38. Nf4 Rxa2 39. Rxa2 Bxa2 40. Ke4 Kh6 41. Ke5 Kg5 42. Nh3+ Kg4 43. Nf2+ Kf3 44. Ne4 Kg4 1/2-1/2

5...Nbd7 6 Qxc4 Nb6

I can't find any games with this move, but it seems to be good for black.

7 Qc2?

7 Qd3 seems better, though it still looks awkward.

Qxd4 8 Qxc7 Nfd5 9 Qc2 Nb4 10 Qe4

Had black played the other knight to d5 on move 8, I would not have this defense.

10...QxQ 11 BxQ f5 12 a3 PxB 13 PxN Bxb4+ 14 Bd2 BxB+

The computer thinks 14...Bc5 gives black a 1.95 edge.

15 NxB e3

Black could not save his pawn, so he gives it to me under advantageous conditions.

16 fe Nd5 17 Kf6 Nf6 18 h3 Bd7 19 Ngf3 Ke7 20 Rhc1 Rhc8 21 Ne5 RxR 22 RxR Kd6 23 Ndf3 a6 24 NxB KxB 25 Ne5+ Kd6 26 Nf7+ Kd7 27 Ne5+ drawn

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Some French Games with 4 Ne2



C15 main line.   1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Ne2 de 5 a3 BxN (5…Be7 is slightly preferred to this move) 6 NxB Nc6 (almost universally preferred to the alternatives) 7 Bb5 Ne7 8 Bg5 f6 9 Be3 0-0 10 Qd2 f5 11 0-0-0 a6 (11…Nd5 has much greater success, but 11…a6 is slightly preferred by Black players) 12 BxN NxB 13 f3 ef 14 gf e5 15 d5 Ne7 and now there are several moves for white, but overall black, who still has his extra pawn, scores well.

chessart-harvos, 10-25-14   1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Ne2 c5 (only one data-base game with this move !) 5. a3 (the  move the computers recommend) Bxc3+ 6. Nxc3 Nc6 (computers do not mention this move) 7. Bb5 (comp. gives 7 dc with a healthy 1.59 plus for white) cxd4 8. Qxd4 Qf6 9. Qxf6 Nxf6 10. exd5 Nxd5 11. Nxd5 exd5 12. Bf4 O-O 13. O-O a6 14. Bxc6 bxc6 15. Rfe1 Bf5 16. c3 Rfe8 17. Rad1 Re6 18. Kf1 Rae8 19. Rxe6 Rxe6 20. Re1??

A horrible blunder. 20 f3 is roughly equal, though I have the better chances due to my better pawn structure. But look at 20 c4! He can't take the pawn due to the back rank mate, and neither can he effectively guard it. So, it looks like I can win the pawn and, time permitting, I should be able to grind him down.

 Bd3+ {White resigns} 0-1

chessart-Juntsu, 9-24-14   1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Ne2 dxe4 5. a3 Be7 6. Nxe4 Nf6 7. N2g3 ( 7 Qd3 is played equally often) O-O 8. c3 Bd7 (8...Nbd7 is usual; 8…Bd7 is not played at all) 9. Bd3 Bc6 10. Qe2 Nbd7 11. Bg5 h6 12. Bxf6 Nxf6 13. O-O b6 14. Rfe1 Bb7 15. Rad1 c6 16. Nxf6+ Bxf6 17. Qe4 g6 18. Nh5 Qe7 19. Re3 c5 20. Qg4 Bg7 21. Rg3 g5 22. h4 f5 23. Qe2 Qf7 24. hxg5 hxg5 25. Rxg5 Kh7 26. Rxg7+ Kh8 27. Rxf7 Rxf7 28. Nf4 Bd5 29. Qh5+ Kg8 30. Re1 Rg7 31. Nxd5 exd5 32. Bxf5 Rf8 33. Be6+ {Black resigns} 1-0

chessart-daskapitallesen, 9-24-14   1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Ne2 dxe4 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. Nxc3 f5 7. f3 exf3 8. Qxf3 Qxd4 (8…Nf6 is the only move played here. Taking the second pawn is considered too risky) 9. Be3 Qd7 (9…Qg4 is usual, but this move is an alternative) 10. Bd3 (computer gives 10 Bc4) Nf6 11. O-O-O Qc6?? 12. Bb5 {Black resigns} 1-0

chessart-coleman, 9-23-14   1. d4 e6 2. e4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Ne2 dxe4 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. Nxc3 Nf6 7. Bg5 h6 8. Bxf6 Qxf6 9. Nxe4 Qg6 (9...Qe7 is usually played, though the computer gives this move as about equal to Qe7) 10. Qf3 (10 Ng3 is the given move, so we leave the book) Nc6 11. c3 e5 12. d5 Bg4 13. Qd3 Ne7 14. Ng3 Qxd3 15. Bxd3 Nxd5 16. Be4 c6 17. f3 Be6 18. O-O-O O-O-O 19. Rd2 Ne3 20. Re2 Nc4 21. Rhe1 g6 22. Bc2 f5 23. Bb3 Bd5 24. Bxc4 Bxc4 25. Rxe5 Bb3 26. Re7 Rhf8 27. Ne2 g5 28. Nd4 Bd5 29. Ne6 Bxe6 30. R1xe6 h5 31. h3 g4 32. fxg4 fxg4 33. hxg4 hxg4 34. Rg6 Rf1+ 35. Kc2 Rf2+ 36. Kb3 Rd7 37. Rxd7 Kxd7 38. Rxg4 Ke6 39. Rg7 b5 40. g4 a5 41. g5 c5 42. Rg8 Kd5 43. g6 a4+ 44. Ka2 Rg2 45. g7 Kc4 46. Rh8 Rxg7 47. Rh4+ Kd3 48. Rh3+ Kc2 49. Rh5 Rc7 50. Rh2+ Kc1 51. Rh8 b4 52. cxb4 cxb4 53. axb4 Rc4 54. Rb8 Kc2 55. Ka3 Re4 56. b5 Re3+ 57. Kxa4 Kxb2 58. Ka5 Ra3+ 59. Kb6 Rb3 60. Kc7 Kc3 61. b6 Rb5 62. b7 Kb4 63. Rh8 Rc5+ 64. Kd6 {Black forfeits on time} 1-0

chessart-Battler, 10-19-14    1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Ne2 c5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. Nxc3 Nf6 7. dxc5 Nxe4 (already out of the database's book) 8. Nxe4 dxe4 9. Qxd8+ Kxd8 10. Bf4 Nc6 11. O-O-O+ Ke8 12. Bc4 Bd7 13. Rhe1 f5 14. Rd2 e5 15. Red1 Rd8 16. Bg5 Ne7 17. Bb5 h6 18. Bxe7 Kxe7 19. Rxd7+ Rxd7 20. Rxd7+ Ke6 21. Rxb7 g5 22. Rxa7 Rc8 23. Bc4+ Kf6 24. Rf7+ Kg6 25. Re7 Rxc5 26. b3 f4 27. Kd2 g4 28. Ke2 h5 29. Re6+ Kg5 30. Re8 f3+ 31. gxf3 exf3+ 32. Ke3 Kh4 33. Rh8 e4 34. Re8 Kh3 35. Rxe4 Kxh2 36. a4 Kg2 37. Re8 Rg5 38. Rh8 g3 39. fxg3 Rg4 40. Rxh5 Rxg3 41. Rf5 f2+ 42. Ke2 Rc3 43. Rxf2+ Kg3 44. Kd2 Rxc2+ 45. Kxc2 Kxf2 46. a5 Ke3 47. a6 Kd4 48. a7 Ke5 49. a8=Q Kf4 50. Qd5 Ke3 51. Kc3 Kf2 52. Qe5 Kg2 53. Kd3 Kf2 54. Qf5+ {Black forfeits on time}1-0

chessart-JavaMeister, 9-23-14    1. d4 e6 2. e4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Ne2 dxe4 5. a3 Be7 6. Nxe4 Nf6 7. N2g3 Nc6 8. c3 Bd7 9. Bd3 O-O 10. O-O Re8 11. Qf3 Rb8 12. Bg5 Nxe4 13. Bxe7 Nd2 14. Qh5 g6 15. Bxd8 gxh5 16. Bxc7 Rbc8 17. Rfd1 Nb3 18. Nxh5 Rxc7 19. Nf6+ Kg7 20. Nxe8+ Bxe8 21. Rab1 Nca5 22. Bc2 b5 23. Rd3 f6 24. Re1 Re7 25. d5 e5 26. d6 Rd7 27. Rg3+ Kh8 28. Rh3 Kg8 29. f4 Bg6 30. Bxg6 hxg6 31. fxe5 fxe5 32. Rxe5 Rxd6 33. Re7 Nc6 34. Rc7 Nc5 35. Rhh7 Ne6 36. Rb7 a6 37. h3 Nc5 38. Rbc7 Ne4 39. Rcg7+ Kf8 40. Rd7 Rxd7 41. Rxd7 Ne5 42. Ra7 Nc4 43. Rxa6 Kf7 44. Kf1 Nxb2 45. Rb6 Nxc3 46. Ke1 Nc4 47. Ra6 Na4 48. Ke2 Nxa3 49. Kd2 Nc4+ 50. Kc1 Kg7 51. Kb1 Kh6 52. Ra8 Kg5 53. Kc2 Ne3+ 54. Kb3 Nd5 55. Rb8 Nc5+ 56. Kb2 Nc7 57. Rc8 N5e6 58. Kb3 Kh4 59. Kb4 Kg3 60. Rg8 g5 61. Rg6 Kh4 62. Rg8 Kg3 63. Rg6 Kf4 64. Rg8 Kf5 65. g3 Kf6 66. h4 Kf5 67. hxg5 Kg4 68. g6 Kg5 69. g7 Kg6 70. Rc8 Kxg7 71. Kc3 Kf6 72. Kb4 Kf5 73. Rb8 Kg4 74. Rxb5 Nxb5 75. Kxb5 Kxg3 {Game drawn because neither player has mating material} 1/2-1/2

chessart-Orpheus, 10-17-14   1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Ne2 dxe4 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. Nxc3 f5 7. f3 Nf6 8. fxe4 fxe4 9. Bg5 O-O 10. Bxf6 Qxf6 11. Nxe4 Qf5 12. Bd3 Qf4 13. Rf1 Qxh2 14. Rxf8+ Kxf8 15. Qf3+ Kg8 16. O-O-O Qh6+ 17. Kb1 Nc6 18. Rf1 {Black disconnected and forfeits} 1-0


chessart-fabioff, 10-22-14   1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Ne2 dxe4 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. Nxc3 f5 7. f3 exf3 8. Qxf3 Ne7 9. Bc4 O-O 10. O-O c6 11. Bg5 h6 12. Bh4 g5 13. Bf2 b5 14. Ba2 Nd5 15. Rae1 Nxc3 16. Qxc3 Qf6 17. Re5 Re8 18. Rfe1 Kf7 19. Qd3 Na6 20. Rxf5 Qxf5 21. Qxf5+ Kg7 22. Qe5+ Kg6 23. c3 Nc7 24. Bb1+ Kf7 25. Re3 Nd5 26. Rf3+ Ke7 27. Qg7+ Kd8 28. Bg6 Re7 29. Rf8+ Kd7 30. Qxh6 Bb7 31. Rxa8 Bxa8 32. Qxg5 Bb7 33. Bh4 a5 34. Qe5 c5 35. Bxe7 Nxe7 36. Bh5 cxd4 37. Qxb5+ Bc6 38. Qd3 Nd5 39. Qxd4 Kc7 40. Bg4 Kd6 41. Qh8 Nf4 42. Qd8+ Ke5 43. Qc7+ Kd5 44.
Bf3+ Kc5 45. Qxc6# {Black checkmated} 1-0

chessart-colombier, 10-23-14   1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Ne2 Nf6 5. Bg5 h6 (5...de is preferred here by 3-1) 6. Bxf6 Qxf6 7. e5? (This hands black the advantage; 7 a3 is equal) Qe7 8. a3 Ba5 9. b4 Bb6 10. Na4 Nc6 11. Nc5 O-O 12. Ng3 a5 13. c3 axb4 14. axb4 Rxa1 15. Qxa1 Bxc5 16. bxc5 Bd7 17. Bd3 b6 18. cxb6 cxb6 19. Qb2 Rb8 20. O-O Na5 21. Rb1 Nc4 22. Bxc4 dxc4 23. Qb4 Qxb4 24. Rxb4 b5 25. Ne4 Kf8 26. Nd6 Ke7 27. f4 Bc6 28. Kf2 Ra8 29. Rb2 Ra5 30. g3 g5 31. fxg5 hxg5 32. h4 gxh4 33. gxh4 f6 34. Ke3 fxe5 35. dxe5 Kf8 36. Kd4 Kg7 37. Kc5 Be8 38. Nxe8+ {Black resigns} 1-0

chessart-Knallbonbob, 1-11-15   1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Ne2 dxe4 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. Nxc3 Nf6 7. Bg5 c5? (This hands white a huge advantage) 8. Bxf6? (8 dc and I have that huge advantage) Qxf6 9. dxc5 Qe5 10. Bb5+ Bd7 11. O-O a6 12. Be2 O-O 13. Re1 f5 14. Qd6 Qxd6 15. cxd6 Bc6 16. f3 exf3 17. Bxf3 Bxf3 18. gxf3 Kf7 19. Rad1 Nd7 20. f4 Rac8 21. Rd2 Rc4 22. Ne2 Rfc8 23. c3 Re4 24. Kf2 Rd8 25. Kf3 Nc5 26. Red1 Rd7 27. Ng3 Ra4 28. Rd4 Rxd4 29. Rxd4 g6 30. h4 Kf6 31. Rd2 e5 32. fxe5+ Kxe5 33. b4 Na4 34. c4 Rxd6 35. Re2+ Kf6 36. c5 Rd3+ 37. Re3 Rxe3+ 38. Kxe3 Ke5 39. Ne2 h6 40. Nd4 g5 41. Nf3+ Kf6 42. hxg5+ hxg5 43. Nd2 Nc3 44. Kf3 Nd5 45. Nc4 g4+ 46. Kg3 Kg5 47. Nd6 f4+ {White forfeits on time} 0-1

The Trompovsky Attack

1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5

I am surprised to learn that this is the third-most popular move here for white.

2...c5

This is black's best move, based on success rates in the 365chess database. White has weakened his dark squares on the queen-side with his second move, and 2...c5 immediately takes action against those dark squares.

3 Bxf6

Played about half the time, this is what black has to get used to, the idea that he allows his king-side pawns to be messed up right off the bat. But he has compensation! Besides 3 Bxf6, the other main move is 3 d5. A sample game is Bouaziz-Labib(2000), which continued 3...Qb6 4. Nc3 Qxb2 5. Bd2 Qb6 6. e4 d6 7. f4 e6 8. Rb1 Qc7 9. Bb5+ Bd7 10. dxe6 fxe6 11. Bc4 Be7 12. Nf3 Nc6 13. O-O Nxe4 14. Nxe4 d5 15. Bxd5 exd5 16. Nc3 Be6 17. Ng5 Bxg5 18. Nb5 Qd7 19. Qh5+ g6 20. Qxg5 O-O 21. c4 Bf5 22. Rbe1 d4 23. h3 a6 24. Na3 Rae8 25. g4 Bd3 26. Rxe8 Rxe8 27. Rf2 b6 28. f5 Qe7 29. f6 Qf7 30. Qf4 Re6 31. g5 Ne5 32. Qg3 Be4 33. Bf4 Nd3 0-1

3...gxf6

Most often played, although 3...exf6 does almost as well.

4 d5

The only move which allows white to retain an advantage.

4...Qb6

Here is the point of black's play. He hits the weakened pawn on b2.

5 Qc1

5 Qc1 is the overwhelmingly favorite move here. 5 Nd2 led to an odd game in Muhren-Eriwch(2000), in which black plays 5...Qxb2, giving up his queen for sufficient material compensation:  1. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5 c5 3. Bxf6 gxf6 4. d5 Qb6 5. Nd2 Qxb2 6. e4 Bh6 7. Ngf3 d6 8. Rb1 Qxa2 9. Bb5+ Nd7 10. Nc4 a6 11. Ra1 axb5 12. Rxa2 Rxa2 13. Qb1 Ra4 14. Ncd2 Rb4 15. Qa2 Ne5 16. Ke2 O-O 17. Rb1 Ra4 18. Qb3 Rb4 19. Qa2 Ra4 20. Qb3 Nxf3 21. gxf3 Rd4 22. Rg1+ Kh8 23. Nf1 Bd7 24. Ne3 b4 25. Rd1 Bb5+ 26. c4 Bxe3 27. cxb5 Rxd1 28. Qxd1 Bf4 29. Qa4 Bxh2 30. b6 Be5 31. Kd3 Rg8 32. Kc4 Rg1 33. Qa8+ Kg7 34. Qxb7 Rc1+ 35. Kd3 b3 36. Qd7 h5 37. b7 b2 38. b8=Q c4+ 39. Ke2 b1=Q 40. Qxb1 Rxb1 41. Qh3 Rb2+ 42. Kf1 c3 43. Qxh5 Bf4 44. Qg4+ Bg5 0-1

5...f5!

This inhibits white's e2-e4, and also opens up the long diagonal for the black king's bishop.

 6. c4 Bg7 7. Nc3 d6 8. e3 Nd7 9. Qc2 Nf6 10. Bd3 Bd7

Black can ignore the white threat on the f5-pawn, since 11 Bxf5 Bxf5 12 Qxf5 Qxb2 wins for black.

11. Nge2 e6 12. O-O h5 13. dxe6 fxe6 14. Nf4 Bh6 15. Rfd1 O-O-O 16. Ng6 Rh7 17. e4 fxe4 18. Nxe4 Rf7 19. a4 Nxe4 20. Bxe4 Bg7 21. Rd2 Bd4 22. Nh4 Bc6 23. Nf3 Rg8 24. Nxd4 cxd4 25. b4 Rg4 26. Re1 Rfg7 27. g3 h4 28. Kg2 Rxe4 29. Rxe4 Rg4 30. f3 Bxe4 31. fxe4 hxg3 32. hxg3 Qxb4 33. Rxd4 Qc5 34. Qd3 Kc7 35. Qd1 Rg5 36. Qd3 Qe5 37. c5 Rxg3+!

Black wins a pawn and simplifies to a queen-and-pawn endgame. Even though white's remaining pawns are isolated and weak, it still takes black 42 more moves to nail down the win, an indication of how tough queen-and-pawn endgames are to win.

 38. Qxg3 Qxd4 39. cxd6+ Qxd6 40. Qg7+

Naturally white will do all he can to avoid the trade of queens, while black will try to force a queen trade.

Kc6 41. Qc3+ Qc5 42. Qb3 Qg5+ 43. Kf3 Qh5+ 44. Kg3 Qe5+ 45. Kf3 Qh5+ 46. Kg3 Qe5+ 47. Kf3 b6 48. Qc4+ Kb7 49. Qb4 Qh5+ 50. Kg3 Qe5+ 51. Kf3 Qh5+ 52. Kg3 Qc5 53. Qb3 Qe5+ 54. Kf3 Ka6 55. Qb4 Qc5 56. Qb3 Qh5+ 57. Kf4 e5+ 58. Kg3 Qg5+ 59. Kf2 Qf4+ 60. Kg1 Qc1+ 61. Kg2 Qc6 62. Kf3 Ka5 63. Qd5+ Qc5 64. Kg4 Kxa4 65. Qd7+ b5 66. Qd1+ Ka5 67. Qd8+ Kb4 68. Qd2+ Qc3 69. Qd6+ Ka5 70. Qd8+ Ka4 71. Qd1+ Ka3 72. Qd6+ b4 73. Qa6+ Kb2 74. Qxa7 Qd4 75. Qh7 b3 76. Kf5 Kc3 77. Qh3+ Kb4 78. Qf1 b2 79. Qa6 Qd7+ 0-1  Dal Borgo-Geirnaert(2008)

Sunday, November 8, 2015

May G60 Swiss at Portland Chess Club

A much better tournament for me than the last Swiss, but I still lost six rating points. In the first two rounds I played three combinations with the theme of the overworked piece, and, oddly enough, the "overworked piece" in each case was the opponent's king! Then in the third round, I got a good position against a Master, but frittered it away as he ground me down in a rook-and-pawn endgame. In the fourth round, I blundered in the opening and miraculously held on to get the draw.

Aaron Probst(1484) - chessart (1895), Rd. 1, Sicilian Alapin's, B22

1 e4 c5 2 c3 d5

For years I struggled against the Alapin's (2 c3). Recently I finally overcame my innate laziness and did some study, discovering that 2...d5 meet's white's unenterprising opening quite effectively.

3 ed Qxd5 4 Nf3 Bg4

This illustrates an advantage of 2...d5. My queen bishop develops as opposed to being hemmed in (as after an early ...e6).

5 h3?

This allows the doubling of white's f-pawns, a huge positional mistake.

5...BxN 6 QxB QxQ 7 PxQ Nf6 8 d4 cd 9 cd Nc6 10 Bb5 e6 11 Bg5 e6 11 Bg5 Be7 12 Nc3 0-0 13 Bxc6 bc 14 Ne4 Nd5 15 BxB NxB 16 Rg1 Kh8?

An embarrassingly bad move. My brain told me it was bad, but somehow my hand was able to overrule by brain!

17 0-0-0 Rad8 18 Nc5 Nf5 19 Nb3 Rd5 20 Rd3 Rfd8 21 Rgd1 e5 22 Re1NxP? (c5!) 23 NxN RxN 24 RxR PxR 25 Re7!

 Had I played 16...g6 instead of 16...Kh8?, this move would not have been so troublesome.

a5 26 Rc7 g6 27 Rxc6 Rd5 28 Kd2 Rh5 29 Rd6 Rxh3 30 Ke2 Rh4 31 Rd5 a4 32 Ra5 h5 33 Kd3 (33Rxa4?? d3+) Rf4 34 Rxa4 RxP+ 35 Ke2 Rf4 36 R 8+ Kg7 37 Rd8 h4 38 Kf1 h3 39 a4 h2 40 Kg2 Rxf2+! 41 Kh1 Rxb2 42 Rxd4 Ra2 43 Rh4 f5 44 RxP RxP

Trading rooks on h2 loses, as my king is too far away to stop his a-pawn.Now, however, the win is straightforward, with my connected passed pawns on the f and g files.

45 Rb2 Kh6 46 Kg2 Kg5 47 Rb5 Kg4 48 Rb6 g5 49 Rb5 Ra2+ 50 Kf1 f4 51 Kg1 Kh4 52 Rf5 Kg4 53 Rb5 f3 54 Kf1 Kf4 55 Rc5 g4 56 Rc1

His rook has to go the the first rank for defense, as I am threatening 56...Ra1+ 57 Kf2 g3#. And 56 Rc4+ does not help, as after 56...Kg3 he still must play Rc1.

g3 57 Rb1 Kg4 58 Kg1 Kh3 59 Rf1 f2+ 60 RxP RxR 61 Kh1 Rf1#  0-1

                                                                                 ***
chessart(1895) - Robert Bowden(943), Rd. 2

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 NxP

I have never before faced this move, but a database shows my response is best.

4 NxP Bc5 5 Bc4 Ne6 6 0-0 Nf6 7 Nc3 c6 8 Qe2 Bb4 9 Rd1 Qa5 10 Nf3 BxN 11 PxB Qxc3 12 Rb1 Qa5 13 Ba2 Qc5 14 Bb4 Nf4??

This just plain drops a piece.

15BxQ NxQ+ 16 BxN Nxe4 17 Bd4 0-0 18 Bd3 f5 19 Re1 d5 20 Re2 h6 21 Rbe1 g5 22 Nd2 Rf7 23 f3 NxN 24 RxN Bd7 25 R2e2 b6 26 Re7 RxR?

This move gives me control of my 7th rank. Instead, 26...Rd8 would maintain the battle for control of this rank. After the move played, black is lost.

27 RxR Rd8 28 Rg7+ Kf8 29 Rh7 c5 30 Rh8+ Ke7 31 Bf6+! KxB 32 RxR Ke6 33 Bxf5+

Interesting that this is the same combination I executed two moves earlier!

33...KxB 34 RxB  And black finally resigned on move 50.  1-0

                                                                  ***
William Schill II(2235) - chessart(1895), Rd. 3, Sicilian Dragon, B76

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 g6 6 Be3 Bg7 7 f3 0-0 8 Qd2 Nc6 9 g4

I was well-prepared for this move, having studied it after facing it two weeks earlier in the Portland Chess Club's May blitz tournament. My conclusion is that it is playable, but not as enterprising as the other white lines against the Dragon, 9 0-0-0 and 9 Bc4, both of which are played much more often than 9 g4.

9...Nxd4 10 Bxd4 Be6 11 0-0-0 Qa5 12 Kb1

Usual is 12 a3 Rab8 13 h4 b5 14 h5 b4 15 Nb1.

12...Rfc8 13 a3 Rab8 14 Bxf6 Bxf6 15 Nd5 Qxd2 16 Nxf6+ Kg7! 17 Nh5+

This move was the source of some controversy after the game. Some preferred 15 Rxd2 Kxf6 for white. I disagree, as I would have been perfectly happy with my king on f6. He would then be safe from attack, as well as being well-positioned to take an active part in the coming endgame. Oddly enough, a database I consulted shows 17 Ne8+ as scoring best for white among the three alternatives.

17...gxh5 18 Rxd2 hxg4 19 fxg4

Here we see the problem with 17 Nh5+. White's King-side pawns are very weak.

Kf6

19...Bxg4?? 20 Rg1 loses a piece.

20 h3 Rh1 21 Be2 Ke5 22 Re1 Rbg8 23 Rd3 Bc4?

The start of a flawed plan to exchange Bishops. This is wrong because black's bishop is far superior to white's. After the bishop trade, black's advantage has evaporated.

24 Rc3 Bxe2 25 Rxe2 Rc8 26 Rf3 f6 27 Rf5+ Ke6 28 Rh5 Rc5 29 Rh6 Kf7 30 Kc1 Kg7 31 Rh4 Kg6 32 Kd2 Rhc8 33 c3 h5 34 Rg2 hxg4 35 Rhxg4 Rg5 36 e5!

The exclam for this move is given for its ingenuity and surprise value, not because it confers any advantage on white. If black responds correctly with 36...dxe5, he maintains equality. After my move, however, black drifts into an inferior position.

RxR? 37 RxR+ Kf5 38 ed ed 39 Rg7 Rh8 40 Rxb7 Rxh3 41 Rxa7 Rh2+ 42 Kc1 Ke4 43 Re7+ Kd3 44 Kb1

Preventing the threatened 44...Ra1#.

d5 45 Rf7 Rf2 46 a4 Kc4 47 Rb7

Otherwise 47...Kb3 would give me the double threat of 48...Rf1# and 48...Kxa4,

Kc5 48 Ka2 Kc6 49 Rf7 Kb6 50 Ka3 Rf3 51 b3 Rxc3 52 RxP+ Ka5?

I was convinced that passive defense was hopeless, hence this odd-looking move. My opponent's face showed a combination of a grin and a grimace as he studied the position. Ultimately, he came up with the idea of putting me in zugzwang.

 53 Rd6 Rd3 54 Rc6 d4 55 Rd6

And here is the dreaded zugzwang. My rook is doing double duty, guarding the d-pawn on the file, as well preventing mate on the rank. Since passing was not an option, I elect to give up my pawn rather than my king! However, the position is now hopeless for black.

Rh3 56 RxP Kb6 57 Rd5 Rh4 58 Rb5+ Ka6 59 Rg5 Rf4 60 Rg3 Kb6 61 b4 Rh4 62 Kb3 Ka6 63 Rg6+ Kb7 64 a5 Ka7 65 b5 Kb7 66 Rg7+ Kb8 67 a6 Ka8 68 Re7 Rg4 69 b6 Rg8 70 Kc4 Rh8 71 Kd5 Rh5+ 72 Kd6 Rh6+ 73 Kc7 Re6 74 b7+ Black resigns  1-0

                                                                               ***
chessart(1895) - Roland Eagles(1742), Rd. 4

1 e4 c5 2 d4 e6 3 d5 Nf6 4 f3? Nxe4 5 fe Qh4+ 6 Kd2 Qf4+ 7 7 Kc3 Qxe4 8 de fe 9 a3 Nc6 10 Nf3 Be7 11 Bd3 Bf6+ 12 Kd2 Qg4 13 Qe2 0-0 14 Nc3 d5 15 h3 Qg3 16 b3 Nd4 17 NxN PxN 18 Na2 Bg5+ 19 Kd1 Rf2 20 Qh5 Bxc1 21 KxB g6 22 Qh6 Bd7 23 Kb7? c5? (missing 23...QxB!) 24 Raf1 Raf8 25 RxR RxR 26 Rf1 e4 27 RxR QxR 28 Qg5 PxB 29 Qd8+ Kg7 30 QxB+ Kh6 31 Qg4 QxP+ 32 Ka1 Qe2 33 Qh4+ Kg7 34 QxP+ Kh6 35 Qh4+

I'm glad Roland didn't play 35...Qh5, offering to trade queens. As tired as I was from the long day, I might have blundered and traded queens, or moved my queen to the wrong square. Had the queen trade occurred, white is probably lost, even though he has the only piece on the board!

Kg7 36 Qd4+ Draw agreed 1/2-1/2

After the game Roland and  I had an enjoyable analysis session. We were both in good spirits. Roland was happy for drawing a higher-rated player, and I was happy for drawing after getting such a horrible position early on. And I think we both were happy that the long day of chess had finally ended.  For me, it was a day in which I played a total of 220 moves!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

An Appreciation of Renata Adler

Renata Adler's collection of nonfiction essays and articles, called "After the Tall Timber", was published earlier this year. After reading this wonderful book, I can only say that Adler is a national treasure, and her writings should be read and reread for their brilliant insight into public affairs.

I cannot begin to summarize all of the 21 essays that appear in this book, so I will delve into just a few of them. Adler's thoroughness is in full evidence in her article on the Starr report, which led up to the Clinton impeachment. She observes that the report "is, in many ways, an utterly preposterous document: inaccurate, mindless, biased, disorganized, unprofessional, and corrupt." She then continues by backing up this assertion with an exquisitely detailed account of the many flaws in the Starr report.

From reading the entire report, Adler says that to call Monica Lewinsky a stalker is a gross understatement. Even after Clinton told her the "affair" was over and had her transferred to a job at the Pentagon, she continued stalking him. She phoned and paged Clinton's secretary at all hours of the day and night, and once stood outside the White House screaming for an hour and a half.

Linda Tripp, the woman who befriended Lewinsky and began taping their conversations, comes in for severe criticism. She was horribly evasive in her Grand Jury testimony, and flat-out lied about her contacts with the special prosecutor's office. (She says the first contact was in 1998, when an FBI report, ignored by the Starr report but uncovered by Adler through an FOIA request, shows that she first contacted that office in 1994 to relay concerns about the death of Vincent Foster.)

Tripp set up Lewinsky to be delivered to the prosecutors for interrogation on January 16, 1998. The president's deposition was due to be taken the next day, and the prosecutors, who still had nothing on Clinton despite years of work and many millions of dollars spent, hoped to gain evidence that Clinton had induced Lewinsky to lie on an affidavit she was submitting. (All of this pertained to the Paula Jones lawsuit, which the Supreme Court allowed to go forward during Clinton's presidency, in one of the worst decisions it has ever made.)

A bunch of prosecutors and FBI agents took Lewinsky to a hotel room and interrogated her for eleven hours, illegally denying her a chance to call either her lawyer or her parents. They repeatedly threatened her with perjury charges if she didn't cooperate, even though at the time they didn't even know what was in her affidavit, as it was in transit (they merely assumed she had lied in it). They wanted her to visit the president wearing a wire, to try to get him to incriminate himself, but she refused.

After Adler's article on the Starr report was published in Vanity Fair in December, 1998, a worker at the special prosecutor's office wrote to the magazine to dispute the facts in the article. Adler responded with another six pages in which she documented the truth of her factual assertions.

At the beginning of 2000, Adler published a book which rocked the literary/publishing world, describing how badly the "New Yorker" magazine had gone downhill. In this book she described being asked to review a book by Judge John Sirica, and declining this request. She wrote that her reason for declining was that she had noticed "astonishing discrepancies and revelations" in the book.

In her book about the "New Yorker", Adler wrote one sentence about Sirica, a sentence which was to become famous in all of the attacks upon her which followed. That sentence was this: "Contrary to his reputation as a hero, Sirica was in fact a corrupt, incompetent, and dishonest figure, with a close connection to Senator Joseph McCarthy and clear ties to organized crime". That was it, no more discussion of, or reference to, the judge who had become famous during the Watergate era.

Sirica's son wrote to the publisher and demanded a retraction. The New York Times published no less than eight pieces attacking her for this sentence. Adler then began writing her response, which documented her assertions in great detail, most of the material coming directly from Sirica's autobiography. This five-page "afterword" was published in due course, but not, of course, in the New York Times, which never retracted its unwarranted criticism of her. Adler says if a name had been misspelled, they would have published a correction, but the paper never publishes a correction when there is a substantive error in its reporting.

The title for the book comes from Mary McCarthy's phrase "the last of the tall timber". Adler looks at the sorry state of journalism today and concludes that the "tall timber" is now all gone, hence the book's title. What has replaced it is "the phenomenon of celebrity". There are two factors which Adler feels have led to where journalism finds itself today. One is the use of the byline, which had led to reporters seeing themselves as celebrities. Adler says there is very little hard news anymore; rather, a news story is more like the reporter's review of what happened yesterday, rather than an unbiased account of it. Adler writes that "There is no longer any vestige or pretense, on the part of the print journalist, of any professional commitment to uninflected coverage of the news".

The other factor is the use of the anonymous source. Many times these anonymous sources are government officials, and getting stories in this fashion has become a substitute for the good, old-fashioned legwork that used to be the hallmark of good journalism.

Much as I admire Adler's work, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that many of her conclusions are a result of inferences drawn from the known facts. An example of where her inferences have turned out to be wrong is her assertion that Watergate's "Deep Throat" cannot possibly be an actual human being, but rather must be, at best, some sort of composite. In 2005 former FBI Associate Director Mark Felt was revealed as being Deep Throat. It is to Adler's credit that she did not excise this portion of that particular essay from her new book, which just came out this year.


Of course TV has influenced the situation tremendously in luring print reporters toward celebrityhood. Print reporters see TV reporters becoming famous, and in today's world print reporters appear daily on network shows, happy to have the celebrityhood which these appearances represent bestowed upon them.

Print reporters thus have become reviewers more than reporters. And reviewers have become caricatures of themselves, as she meticulously documents in her savage review of Pauline Kael's movie review books. Like this writer, Adler had always enjoyed Kael's weekly reviews in the "New Yorker", but when faced with the task of reading a whole book of them and then having to review the book in a responsible way for "The New York Review of Books", she realized that Kael had gone off the deep end in many ways.

Adler discusses many of Kael's rhetorical conceits. The one which resonated the most with me is Kael's repeated use of the second person, when she really means the first person, as in "You are caught up emotionally and flung about the room", when she means "I was caught up emotionally and flung about the room".

Adler's piece on Kael is probably her most controversial work. However, it would be a shame if that piece overshadows all the great reporting she has done in so many areas--the Selma civil rights march, the six-day war, Watergate, the state of journalism today, the Starr Report, the Supreme Court's ridiculous decision in Bush vs. Gore, and many others.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

An Interesting Smith-Morra Game



chessart(1618) – Kemosabe (1695), 6-7-15

1 e4 c5 2 d4 cd 3 c3 dc 4 Nxc3 d6 5 Bc4 a6 6 Nf3

Whenever black delays playing ...e6, there is always the question of whether he can effectively play ...Bg4. Here, …Bg4 is not yet a threat, because of Bxf7+, followed by Ng5+ and QxB.

6…e6

If black tries 6…Nf6, to prepare …Bg4, then 8 e5! is quite strong, almost winning. If black tries 6…Nc6, then perhaps I need to play 7 h3 to stop …Bg4.                                              

7 0-0 Nc6 8 Qe2 Be7 9 Rd1 Qc7 10 Bf4 Qb8

There is no need for him to play this move now, as I don’t yet have a rook on the c-file. The 365chess database only shows one game with this move, compared to 70 for 10…Nf6 and 57 for …Ne5.

11 Rac1 Bd7 12 a3 Ne5 13 Ba2 NxN+ 14 QxN Nf6 15 Rd2 0-0 16 Rcd1 e5 17 Bg5 Bg4

This wins the exchange for black. What is so amazing about this game is that I still win in a few more moves, despite being the exchange and a pawn down!

18 Qe3 BxR 19 RxB Rd8 20 BxN BxB 21 Nd5!

An incredible dilemma has arisen for black. He cannot prevent me from doubling his f-pawns.

21…Rf8 22 NxN+ gf 23 Qh6 Qd8

Black has nothing better. If 23…Kh8, I simply play 24 Qxf6+, chasing the king back to g8, and then Rd1-d3-g3 ends the game.

24 Rd3

This simple rook lift decides the game. Rarely has the king-side win been easier or faster after the doubling of black’s f-pawns.

24…Kh8 25 Rh3 Black resigns 1-0