Saturday, August 08, 2009

Back from the fires and still playing chess!

As reported in the previous post, I lost my house, two cats, and all belongings in the fires at Kinglake on February 7, 2009.

This has become known as ‘Black Saturday’ in Australia. Many lost their lives and in our own particular area all the houses were burned to the ground and three neighbours lost their lives. Since then, my wife and I have been busy dealing with the recovery phase.

We have relocated to Melbourne until I can rebuild my home in Kinglake. We hope to have our replacement home built by January 2010. Meanwhile we are trying to replace our belongings as economically as possible and manage the whole process of rebuilding.

The following games are posted with light or non-existent notes, just to maintain the momentum with this blog and keep a record of interesting games played by my humble self.

As you can appreciate, I have little free time at present, and what I have, does not allow for much effort with prose or chess analysis. At some time in the future I will return to my normal approach of self-deprecating humour and detailed analysis. Even a few thimbles of chess-wisdom may find their way into the postings.

The first game I won since the fires, was on the White side of a particularly interesting Dutch Defence.

The game was part of a small correspondence chess tournament I had entered in 2008. I wanted to play in the old-fashioned way by snail-mail.

One of my opponents turned out to be Mark Roberts, someone I knew from a previous life in Melbourne when I played cross-board chess at the old Essendon Chess Club in the 1980’s. I only realised who I was playing in this CC game when my opponent in our mini-match of 2 games, played the exchange French as White and the Dutch as Black. It was then I realised the connection, because the Mark I recalled, always liked to play the French as Black and the exchange against the French. Against d4 he liked to try and go into the French with an e6 first move reply. Mark has an attacking style, tending towards complexity, much like mine. He was a very strong cross-board player.

In this first game I had white and decided to try and play a Queen-side opening. We crossed over into a rare and dangerous variation, where I opted for an untested line. The result was one of my best recent efforts in solid, aggressive, chess (my favourite style). Mark made an error under great positional pressure and that was it.

CCLA 4/2 Tournament 2777
White: George Eraclides VERSUS Black: Mark Roberts
Dutch Defence – Crazy Variation (only the crazy venture on this line)

1. d4 e6
2. c4 f5
3. Nc3 Nf6
4. Nf3 d5
5. Bf4 c6
6. e3 Be7
7. Bd3 0-0
8. Qc2 Ne4
9. g4 Qa5
10. gxf5 Bb4
11. Kf1 Bc3
12. bxc3 e5
13. Nxe5 Bxf5
14. Rc1 Bh3+

All this is in Nunn’s Chess Openings – 1999; White can also play 14. f3 but I prefer Rc1 – it is more solid and White still gets a strong, aggressive, position.

15. Ke2 Na6?!

This is unfortunate, but he has to develop quickly or fall even further behind White in development. I now saw a strong combination with the possibilities of a crushing attack.

16. cxd5! cxd5
17. Bxe4 dxe4
18. Qb3+! Kh8
19. Rhg1!!

A smothered mate with 19. Nf7+ would be fun after Kg8 but Black does not have to oblige White and instead can cause trouble as follows: 19.....Rxf7! 20. Qxf7 Bg4+ and suddenly it is White who has problems.

20. Nf7+ Kg8
21. Nh6+

If 21. Ng5+ Kh8 22. Nxh3 Qh5+.

22. Be5! Resigns

Any move loses for Black

One of my best recent efforts in correspondence chess and a useful addition to the theory of how to play this wild line of the Dutch.

The second game against Mark was a French Defence and ended in an interesting draw. Mark played the quite strong Bf4 line in an Exchange French, a line I myself like. Kasparov himself has played the Exchange French for White and it is not as harmless as many players of the Black side suppose. I was able to neutralise White’s threats and the draw was a logical outcome.

CCLA 4/2 Tournament 2777
White: Mark Roberts
Black: George Eraclides

French Defence – Exchange Variation

1. e4 e6
2. d4 d5
3. exd5 exd5
4. Bf4 Bd6
5. Qd2 Nf6

It is obvious that White is aiming for Queen-side castling and King-side attack

6. Nc3 0-0
7. 0-0-0 Bf5

This is good as it stops the White Bishop getting to its most dangerous square, d3; White might have done better to play Bd3 first, then castle.

8. f3 c6

8...Nc6 is a line others have played but my analysis lead me to believe it leads to the loss of a Pawn and ultimate defeat for Black.

9. g4 Bg6
10. h4 Bxf4!

Now is the perfect time to disrupt White’s piece configuration.

11. Qf4 h5

So far as per my calculations from move 7.

12. g5 Nh7

I preferred this retreat so I could later play Nf8 to defend the Bishop on g6 if I had to.

13. Bh3 f6!

This is quite good at stopping White’s plans – note his vulnerable Queen on f4.

14. gxf6 Rxf6
15. Qg3 Na6

Time to be generous and let this poor Knight into the game – note the similarity to the previous game above with Mark, where he also played Na6 in a different position.

16. Nge2 Qf8
17. f4 Re8

Classical positional ideas as I wait for Mark to commit himself.

18. Rhg1 b5

An investment in the future as you will see; besides, a little threat of counter-attack never goes astray.

19. Rd2 Qf7
20. Kb1?! Bf5
21. Bxf5 Rxf5
22. Ka1?! Nf6
23. Qg6 Qxg6

I had anticipated all this and planned a strong rejoinder.

24. Rxg6 Kf7!
25. Rg1 b4!
26. Nb1 Ne4
27. Rd3 Nf2
28. Rd2 Ne4
Draw offered and accepted.

White has no future and Black’s chances of a win without serious risk are negligible.

I would play this line myself as White but with a different attack structure.

Now for some games from the itsyourturn website where I play under the name ‘The Palooka’.

Let me remind you, dear reader, that on this site, I have been playing against the one opponent called Tayhk for a number of years. After the first match of 24 games, the score between Tayhk and Eraclides was: The Palooka 9, Tayhk 9, and draws: 6. See previous postings.

I wish to acknowledge the generosity of my opponent Tayhk, who was able to send me the scores of the first match, which I lost in the fires, so I now have those games back for future referral and analysis.

The games against Tayhk, as with the ones above against Mark Roberts, are worthy of careful analysis but lack of time prevents me from presenting them as I would ideally have liked.

However, the games are so interesting that they are still worth posting. I hope you enjoy the following three games.

White: The Palooka
Black: Tayhk
Nimzovich Defence

The ending is particularly pleasing. As usual, my opponent goes his own way and gets a dreadful position. His tactical gifts allow him to survive until I can find the knockout punch to put him away.

1. e4 Nc6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 f6 4. f4 h5 5. Bd3 Rh6 6. c3 a6 7. f5 Rh8 8. e6 Qd6 9. Nh3 g5 10. O-O b6 11. Be2 h4 12. Bh5+ Kd8 13. b3 Na7 14. c4 Bb7 15. Ba3 c5 16. Nc3 Kc7 17. dxc5 bxc5 18. Nxd5+ Bxd5 19. cxd5 Nb5 20. Bb2 Bh6 21. Be2 g4 22. Bxg4 Be3+ 23. Kh1 Nh6 24. Bh5 Rad8 25. Qd3 Bd4 26. Bxd4 Nxd4 27. Rac1 Qxd5 28. Nf4 Qc6 29. Ng6 Rhg8 30. Qh3 Nhxf5 31. Rxf5 Nxf5 32. Qxf5 Rd5 33. Qf4+ Kb7 34. Qxh4 Kb6 35. Nf4 Rd4 36. Bf3 Qd6 37. g3 Qd8 38. Qh7 Rg5 39. Qc2 Qd6 40. Rd1 Re5 41. Rxd4 cxd4 42. Qc4 Ka7 43. Qc8 Kb6 44. Nd3 Rb5 45. Qb7+ Ka5 46. b4+ Ka4 47. Bc6 1-0
February 2008

White: The Palooka
Black: Tayhk
English Defence

I play like a duffer after Tayhk plays a theoretically weak defence. If someone knows what I was doing, please tell me, because I sure as hell had no idea.

1. e4 e6 2. d4 b6 3. Bd3 Bb7 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. Qe2 g6 6. O-O d6 7. Bg5 h6 8. Bh4 g5 9. Bg3 Bg7 10. c3 Nbd7 11. Nbd2 Nh5 12. Qe3 Ndf6 13. Rad1 Ng4 14. Qe2 Qe7 15. h3 Nxg3 16. fxg3 Nf6 17. g4 O-O-O 18. a4 h5 19. Nh2 hxg4 20. Nxg4 Nh5 21. Kh2 Nf4 22. Qe3 f5 23. Nf2 e5 24. d5 g4 25. Bc2
Rh5 26. g3 Nxh3 27. Nxh3 Rxh3+ 28. Kg2 f4 0-1
June 2009

White: Tayhk
Black:The Palooka
Sicilian Defence

Tayhk speculates with a sacrifice and comes undone, as The Palooka turns the tables on him after careful play. That’s how I like it!

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. Nf3 e6 4. Bc4 d6 5. d4 cxd4 6. Nxd4 Nf6 7. Nxc6 bxc6 8. Be3 d5 9. Bb3 Bb4 10. exd5 cxd5 11. Bd4 O-O 12. a3 Ba5 13. O-O Ba6 14. Re1 Bb6 15. Na4 Bxd4 16. Qxd4 Ne4 17. Rad1 Qf6 18. f3 Qxd4+ 19. Rxd4 Nf6 20. Nc5 Bb5 21. a4 Bc6 22. Ba2 a5 23. Kf2 Nd7 24. Nxe6 fxe6 25. Rxe6 Bb7 26. Re7 Rad8 27. c4 Rf7 28. Re3 Nf6 29. Rb3 Kf8 30. Rb5 Rfd7 31. c5 Ra8 32. Bb1 Bc6 33. Rb6 Rb7 34. Rxc6 Rxb2+ 35. Kg3 Rxb1 36. Rc7 Rc1 37. Kf4 Rc4 38. Ke3 Re8+ 39. Kd3 Rc1 40. g4 Rd1+
July 2009

The score in our developing second match of 24 games, currently stands at 2 : 2 with one game drawn.

Regards until next time.

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