Friday, October 17, 2008

Anderssen - Dufresne, Berlin 1852

White sacrifices a piece to open the central files against the uncastled Black King, and despite his seemingly adequate development and counterattacking chances Black comes out a tempo short in one of the finest combinations on record, known as the “Evergreen Game.”

Anderssen – Dufresne
Berlin, 1852
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. b4

The Evans Gambit, in which White sacrifices a flank pawn for rapid development and a powerful center.

4. ... Bxb4 5. c3 Ba5 6. d4 exd4 7. 0-0 d3 8. Qb3 Qf6 9. e5 Qg6 10. Re1 Nge7 11. Ba3 b5

Black in turn gives back a pawn to complete his development, but White’s control of the center makes it difficult for Black to coordinate his forces.

12. Qxb5 Rb8 13. Qa4 Bb6 14. Nbd2 Bb7 15. Ne4 Qf5 16. Bxd3 Qh5 17. Nf6+

A temporary piece sacrifice to exploit the exposed position of the Black King. But this is not without risk, as Black now obtains an open g-file for counterplay.

17. ... gxf6 18. exf6 Rg8 19. Rad1!

Offering a second piece, and far stronger than the defensive 19. Be4.

19. ... Qxf3


20. Rxe7+ Nxe7

Black cannot escape with 20. ... Kd8, in view of 21. Rxd7+! Kc8 22. Rd8+ Kxd8 (or 22. ... Rxd8 23. gxf3) 23. Be2+, winning.

21. Qxd7+ Kxd7 22. Bf5+ Ke8 23. Bd7+ Kd8 24. Bxe7 mate

Monday, October 13, 2008

Westwood Fall Open

Turnout at the Westwood Fall Open (LACC, October 12) was a slightly disappointing 35. Top-rated IM Enrico Sevillano took clear first with 4.5 out of 5, followed stepson John Daniel Bryant with 4 and Joel Banawa (3.5). Juan Paul Rodriguez scored 4.5 to take clear first in the Reserve (U1800).

(Photos: The decisive last-round games on boards 1 and 2 – Sevillano faces Tatev Abrahamyan, while Bryant battles IM Andranik Matikozyan.)

Prize winners:

Open: 1st: IM Enrico Sevillano, 4.5/5; 2nd: John Daniel Bryant, 4; 3rd: Joel Banawa, 3.5; U2200: Show Kitagami, Garnik Baghdasaryan, 3; U2000: David Cody Oldham, Austin Hughes, 3.

Reserve: 1st: Juan Paul Rodriguez, 4.5/5; 2nd/U16000/U1400-unrated: Mitchell Jayson, Numen Adbul-Mujeeb, Shaunak P. Tivedi, 3.5; U1200: Jonah Blume-Kemkes, Yechiel Goldberger, 2.5.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Paulsen - Morphy, New York, 1857

Paul Morphy competed in only one tournament in his brief career, the First American Chess Congress in 1857. In the final round of this knock-out event, he defeated German master Louis Paulsen by a score of +5=2-1. In this game he demonstrates both his superior grasp of positional play — Black’s control of the center files makes a marked contrast to White’s flailing on the flanks — and his combinative ability, as he finishes the game with a startling Queen sacrifice.

Paulsen - Morphy
New York, 1857


1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bb5 Bc5 5. 0-0 0-0 6. Nxe5 Re8

Rather than permit the “fork trick” 6. ... Nxe5 7. d4, Black sacrifices a pawn for rapid development.

7. Nxc6 dxc6 8. Bc4 b5 9. Be2

The seemingly more logical 9. Bb3 fails to 9. ... Bg4 10. Qe1 (or 10. Ne2 Rxe4, winning the pinned Knight) 10. ... b4, and if 11. Na4 Rxe4 traps the White Queen.

9. ... Nxe4 10. Nxe4 Rxe4 11. Bf3 Re6 12. c3?

If White were able to follow up with d2-d4 this would be a good move, but it can’t be done. He should reconcile himself to the modest 12. d3.

12. ... Qd3! 13. b4 Bb6 14. a4 bxa4 15. Qxa4 Bd7 16. Ra2 Rae8

Threatens mate with 17. ... Qxf1+. White’s reply defends against this sacrifice, but allows another, which, however, Paulsen can hardly be blamed for missing. Relatively best was 17. Qd1.

17. Qa6


17. ... Qxf3! 18. gxf3

Morphy took twelve minutes to decide on 17. .. Qxf3, an unusually long time for him. Paulsen, a notoriously slow player, thought for over an hour before capturing the Queen.

18. ... Rg6+ 19. Kh1 Bh3 20. Rd1

Black threatened 20. ... Bg2+ 21. Kg1 Bxf3 mate, and 20. Rg1 fails to 20. ... Rxg1+ 21. Kxg1 Re1+. The key line, which Paulsen probably missed on move 17, is 20. Qd3 (hoping to return the Queen with Qxg6) 20. ... f5!, and White is helpless.

20. ... Bg2+ 21. Kg1 Bxf3+ 22. Kf1 Bg2+ 23. Kg1 Bh3+ 24. Kh1 Bxf2 25. Qf1 Bxf1 26. Rxf1 Re2 27. Ra1 Rh6 28. d4 Be3, White resigns