Saturday, June 30, 2007

Fantastic Fajarowicz Finish

I swindled a win in the final round of today's Viking Quads in Mount Arlington, New Jersey. The opening was the Fajarowicz variation in the Budapest Defense.

With approximately five minutes left on both clocks in game/90 time control, my opponent played a startling exchange sacrifice that looked winning. Surely he could have drawn by repetition. He tried too hard to win, probably because he was ahead several pawns in the queen-and-pawn endgame. But in these endings, the player with the furthest advanced passed pawn has the winning chances, not the player with the most pawns.

After move 49, I stopped keeping score. In time trouble, White missed 50.Qd4+ Qxd4 51.exd4 b5 52.d5!. The remaining moves were reconstructed afterwards and may not be 100% precise, although the final position is accurate. At the end of the game, I had four seconds left on my clock.

Round Three: Budapest Gambit, Fajarowicz Variation

Paulo Santanna (USCF 2028) - Jim West (USCF 2202), Mount Arlington NJ 6/30/2007

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ne4 4.Nf3 Bb4+ 5.Nbd2 Nc6 6.a3 Nxd2 7.Bxd2 Bxd2+ 8.Qxd2 Qe7 9.Qc3 O-O 10.e3 Re8 11.Be2 Nxe5 12.O-O d6 13.Rac1 Bg4

14.Nd4 Bxe2 15.Nxe2 a5 16.Rfd1 Nd7 17.Nf4 a4 18.Nd5 Qd8 19.Rd4 c6 20.Nf4 Nc5 21.Rcd1 Qe7 22.Nh5 Qg5 23.Ng3 Rad8 24.Rxd6 Rxd6 25.Rxd6 h5

26.Qc2 g6 27.h3 h4 28.Nf1 Qe5 29.Rd4 g5 30.Nh2 Ne6 31.Rd7 Nc5 32.Ng4 Qe6 33.Rd4 Kg7 34.Qd1 Ne4 35.Qd3 Re7

36.Rxe4 Qxe4 37.Qc3+ f6 38.Qxf6+ Kg8 39.Qxg5+ Kf8 40.Qh6+ Rg7 41.Qf6+ Kg8 42.Qd8+ Kf7 43.Qf6+ Kg8 44.Qxh4 Qb1+ 45.Kh2 Qxb2

46.Nh6+ Kh7 47.Nf5+ Kg8 48.Qd8+ Kh7 49.Nxg7 Kxg7

50.Qe7+ Kg6 51.f4 b5 52.Qe6+ Kg7 53.Qxc6 bxc4 54.Qxa4 c3 55.Qd4+ Kf7 56.e4 Qd2 57.Qc4+ Ke7 58.e5 c2 59.Qc5+ Kd8 60.Qf8+ Kc7 61.Qe7+ Kc6 62.Qe6+ Kc5 63.Qc8+ Kb5 64.Qb7+ Ka4 65.Qa7+ Kb3 66.Qb6+ Ka2

67.e6 Qxf4+ 68.g3 Qd2+ 69.Kh1 c1=Q+ 70.Qg1 Qxg1+ 71.Kxg1 Qe1+ 72.Kg2 Qxe6 73.g4 Kxa3 74.Kg3 Kb4 75.h4 Kc4 76.g5 Kd4 77.h5 Ke4 78.g6 Qf5 79.Kh4 Qf4+ 80.Kh3 Qh6 81.Kg4 Ke5 82.Kh4 Kf4 83.Kh3 Qxh5+, White resigns.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Chess in "The Luzhin Defence"

The Luzhin Defence is a screen adaptation of Nabokov's novel The Defense which I reviewed in a previous post.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Chess in "Knight Moves"

Not to be confused with Night Moves, the motion picture Knight Moves stars Christopher Lambert as a chess champion trying to track down a serial killer.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Chess in "From Russia With Love"

The chess game Kronsteen-McAdams in the James Bond movie From Russia With Love is an adaptation of Spassky-Bronstein, Leningrad 1960.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Chess on "Columbo"

On March 4, 1973, an episode titled The Most Dangerous Match aired in the Columbo television series.

It features actor Laurence Harvey in the role of a grandmaster who schemes to murder his opponent on the eve of their chess match because he realizes that he can not defeat him at the board.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Chess on "Mission Impossible"

On January 14, 1968, an episode called A Game of Chess aired on the Mission Impossible television series.

The chess tournament scene would truly have been impossible because, at the time, chess computers were notoriously weak.

It is curious to note that the computer generated its chess moves in descriptive notation. Apparently, algebraic notation was not yet in vogue.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

My Other Blog

Besides this blog Jim West On Chess, I am maintaing another blog Jim West Talks Chess at

Already there are nine posts in that other blog.

I was surprised to see that Mark Weeks of learned of the revamped website through one of my posts.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Hamilton Quads 6/23/2007

Today I finished with a record of 1-1-1 in the top quad at Hamilton, New Jersey. The following are my two best games.

Round Two: French Defense

Jim West (USCF 2202) - Boris Privman (USCF 2231), Hamilton NJ Quad 6/23/2007

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 exd5 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Bd3 Bg4 6.c3 Qe7+ 7.Be3 O-O-O 8.O-O f6 9.Nbd2 Qf7 10.b4 Kb8 11.Qa4 g6 12.b5 Nce7

13.Ne5 fxe5 14.dxe5 d4 15.Bxd4 b6 16.Be4 Bg7 17.Nb3 Qf4 18.Rae1 Nh6 19.Nc5 Bf5 20.Na6+ Kc8 21.Qc4 Rd7 22.g3 Qg4 23.Bxf5 Nhxf5 24.e6 Rhd8 25.exd7+ Rxd7 26.Qe6 Bxd4 27.cxd4 Kd8 28.Nb4 c5 29.Nc6+ Nxc6 30.bxc6 Rd6 31.Qe8+ Kc7 32.dxc5 bxc5 33.Re4 Qf3 34.Rfe1 Rxc6 35.Qf7+ Kb6 36.Rb1+, Black resigns.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Round Three: Philidor Counter Gambit

Dragan Milovanovic (USCF 2225) - Jim West (USCF 2202), Hamilton NJ Quad 6/23/2007

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5 4.Nc3 fxe4 5.Nxe4 d5 6.Neg5 exd4 7.Nxd4 Qe7+ 8.Be2 h6 9.Ngf3 c6 10.O-O Qf6 11.Re1 Bb4 12.c3 Bd6

13.c4 Ne7 14.cxd5 cxd5 15.Bb5+ Kf7 16.Ba4 Rd8 17.Nb5 Nbc6 18.Nxd6+ Rxd6 19.h3 Kg8 20.Bxc6 bxc6 21.Be3 Nf5 22.Bc5 Re6 23.Qd2 Bd7 24.Rxe6 Bxe6 25.Re1 Bf7 26.Qf4 g5 27.Qc7 h5 28.Qe5 Qg6 29.Qc7 g4 30.hxg4 hxg4 31.Ne5 Qe6 32.Qxc6 Qxc6 33.Nxc6 Rc8 34.Ne7+ Nxe7 35.Bxe7 Re8 36.Bb4 Rxe1+ 37.Bxe1 Be6 38.Kf1 Kf7 39.Ke2 d4 40.b3 Bf5 41.Bb4 Bb1 42.Kd2 Be4 43.Bc5 a6 44.Bxd4 Bxg2 45.Kc3 Ke6 46.Kb4 Kd5 47.Ba7 Kc6, draw.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Michael Goeller Interviews Me

Last November, Michael Goeller of The Kenilworthian interviewed me in one of his posts. Not much has changed in my life since then, except that I too am now a chess blogger!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Flash Video by "Atomic Patzer"

Chess blogger Atomic Patzer has followed up on Tuesday's post with a flash video of his loss to Ziping Liu at this year's U.S. Amateur East tournament.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Evans Gambit 7.Qb3

In the Evans Gambit, after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4 Bxb4 5.c3 Ba5 6.d4 d6, White can avoid the Lasker Defense 7.O-O Bb6 by playing 7.Qb3.

The main line in ECO is now 7...Qd7. What happens if Black tries 7...Qe7 instead? In a footnote, ECO gives Keres's analysis 8.d5 Nd4 9.Qa4+ Qd7 10.Qxa5 b6 11.Nxd4 bxa5 12.Bb5 exd4 13.Bxd7+ Bxd7 14.cxd4 +/=.

Tim Harding, in his book on the Evans Gambit, gives 13...Kxd7! 14.cxd4 f5! =, Cranbourne-Juarez, River Plate 1984, as an improvement for Black. Besides 7...Qe7 8.d5 Nd4 9.Nxd4 exd4 10.O-O Bb6 11.Bb2 with compensation (Keres), Harding mentions that 11.Bb5+ Kf8 12.Nd2 is another positional continuation for White.

After 7...Qe7, the game Morphy-Ayers, Mobile 1855 proceeded in tactical fashion with 8.d5 Nd4 9.Bb5+ c6 10.Nxd4 exd4 11.dxc6 Qxe4+ 12.Kd1 Bg4+ 13.f3 Bxf3+ 14.gxf3 Qxf3+ 15.Kc2 Qe4+ 16.Kb2 Bxc3+ 17.Nxc3 dxc3+ 18.Qxc3 O-O-O 19.Re1 Qd5 20.cxb7+ Kxb7 21.Rb1 Nf6 22.Bc6+ Qxc6 23.Ka1+ Kc7 24.Qa5+ Kc8 25.Qxa7 Nd7 26.Bd2, Black resigns.

Recently* I have played several games as White against candidate master Ed Kopiecki at the Marshall Chess Club in which the same move order through 15.Kc2 has been followed.

In May 1995, Kopiecki omitted 15...Qe4+ in favor of 15...bxc6 16.Re1+ Ne7 17.Nd2 Qxc3+ 18.Qxc3 Bxc3 19.Bxc6+ Kd8 20.Bxa8 Bxa1 21.Ba3 Bc3 22.Bxd6 Nf5 23.Bf4 Kd7 24.Be4 Nd6 25.Bd5 Rc8 26.Bxd6 Kxd6 27.Bxf7 Ba5+ 28.Kd1 d3 29.Nc4+ +/-and White won in 47 moves.

In July 1995, Kopiecki played 15...Qe4+ 16.Kb2 bxc6, as recommended by Maroczy. Our game continued 17.Rd1 Ne7 18.Rxd4 (an improvement on Maroczy's 18.Bd3 Qh4) Qg2+ 19.Rd2 Qh1 20.Re2?! (20.Bd3!?) O-O 21.Bf4 Nd5 22.Bxd6 cxb5 23.Bxf8 Rxf8 when Black already stood better and won in 42 moves.

No doubt Kopiecki found an improvement for White in home analysis because, in our next game later that month, he varied with 18...Qe5 (instead of 18...Qg2+). But this led to victory for White in 37 moves after 19.Na3 Qxh2+ 20.Rd2 Qh4 21.Rd4 Qh2+ 22.Nc2 O-O 23.Bf4 Qh5 24.Bxd6 Nf5 25.Bxf8 Nxd4 26.Nxd4 Rxf8 27.Nxc6 +/-.

*{This article originally appeared in the November-December 1995 issue of Atlantic Chess News}

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

My Student Defeats "Atomic Patzer"

Last month, my chess student 12-year-old Ziping Liu defeated chess blogger Atomic Patzer in the booster section at the United States Amateur East tournament in Parsippany, New Jersey. Here are the moves.

Round Five: Pirc Defense

Atomic Patzer (USCF 1307) - Ziping Liu (USCF 1461), U.S. Amateur East 5/28/2007

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Be3 O-O 6.Qd2 Re8

Black plays this move to meet 7.Bh6 with 7...Bh8. But Black can exploit White's omission of h3 by harassing the dark-squared bishop with 6...Ng4.

7.Be2 e5

This pawn move looks premature. First, Black should complete his development by 7...Bg4 8.h3 Bxf3 9.Bxf3 Nc6.

8.dxe5 dxe5 9.Qxd8 Rxd8 10.Rd1 Rxd1+ 11.Kxd1 Nc6 12.Bc4 Bg4 13.h3 Bxf3+ 14.gxf3 Rd8+ 15.Kc1 Nd4

Despite some inaccuracies in the opening, Black has achieved a good middlegame position.

16.Rd1 Nh5 17.Nb5 a6 18.Na3 b5 19.Bf1 Rd6 20.c4 Rc6 21.Nc2 Nxc2 22.Rd8+ Bf8 23.Bh6 Ng7 24.Kxc2 Ne6

Black is living dangerously here. Instead, 24...g5 25.Bxg7 Kxg7 would break the bind and threaten 26...Bc5.

25.Rc8 Nd4+?

This should have lost a pawn after 26.Kb1 Ne6 27.cxb5 axb5 28.Bxb5.

26.Kc3 b4+ 27.Kd3 Ne6 28.Ke3 a5 29.b3 Rd6 30.Bxf8 Nxf8 31.Be2

White is too cautious. Instead, he gets the better endgame after 31.Rxc7 Rd1 32.Be2 Ra1 33.Rc5.

31...Rd7 32.Ra8 f5 33.exf5 gxf5 34.f4 exf4+ 35.Kxf4 Rd2 36.Ke3 Rxa2 37.Bd3 Ra3 38.Bc2 Kg7 39.Ra6 Kf7 40.Kd2

The correct move is 40.Kd4.

40...Ne6 41.Bxf5 Nc5 42.Ra7 Nxb3+ 43.Kc2 Nd4+ 44.Kb2 Nxf5 45.Rxc7+ Kg6 46.Rb7 Rxh3, White resigns.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Exhuming the Body

At his The Chess Coroner blog, John Moldovan gives his own analysis of Moldovan-Salisbury, Newark NJ 10/25/1987 which I featured in a previous post. Moldovan mentions that I do not provide pgn files for my readers at my Jim West On Chess blog. This is true. But I do have pgn files at my Jim West Talks Chess blog.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Marshall Chess Club Swiss 6/17/2007

In today's game/30 Swiss at the Marshall Chess Club, I finished with a record of 1-0-4. Here are my two best games.

Round Three: Philidor Defense

Yefim Treger (USCF 2204) - Jim West (USCF 2202), Marshall Chess Club 6/17/2007

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d6 3.Nc3 Nbd7 4.e4 e5 5.Bc4 Be7 6.dxe5 Nxe5 7.Nxe5 dxe5 8.Qxd8+ Bxd8 9.Be3 O-O 10.O-O-O Re8 11.f3 c6 12.g4 Bb6

13.Rhe1 Bxe3+ 14.Rxe3 h6 15.h4 Be6 16.Bxe6 Rxe6 17.g5 Nh7 18.Red3 hxg5 19.Rd8+ Re8 20.Rxa8 Rxa8 21.hxg5 Nxg5 22.Rd3 Kf8 23.Ne2 Ke7 24.Rb3 b6 25.Ra3 a5 26.Kd2 Rd8+ 27.Ke3 Rd1 28.Ng3 g6 29.b4 axb4 30.Ra6 Rg1 31.Kf2 Rc1 32.Rxb6 Rxc2+ 33.Ne2 Ne6 34.Ke3 c5 35.Ra6 Nd4 36.Ng1 Rc3+ 37.Kf2 Ra3 38.Rxa3 bxa3 39.Ke3 Nc2+ 40.Kd3 Nb4+ 41.Kc3 Nxa2+ 42.Kb3 Nb4 43.Kxa3 f5 44.exf5 gxf5 45.Kb3 Kd6 46.Kc4 Nc6 47.Nh3 Nd4 48.Ng5 Kc6 49.Kd3 Kd5 50.Ke3 c4 51.Nh3 f4+ 52.Kf2 c3 53.Ke1 Nxf3+ 54.Kd1 Kc4 55.Nf2 Nd4 56.Kc1 c2 57.Kb2 f3 58.Kc1 Kb3 59.Kd2 Kb2 60.Nd3+ Kb1 61.Nc1 e4 62.Ke3 Kxc1 63.Kf4 f2 64.Ke3 f1=Q 65.Kxe4 Qf2 66.Kd3 Kb2 67.Ke4 c1=Q 68.Kd5 Qc6+ 69.Ke5 Qe3#.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Round Four: Dutch Defense

IM Jay Bonin (USCF 2374) - NM Jim West (USCF 2202), Marshall Chess Club 6/17/2007

1.d4 e6 2.Nf3 f5 3.d5 Be7 4.dxe6 dxe6 5.Qxd8+ Bxd8 6.e4 fxe4 7.Ng5 Bxg5 8.Bxg5 Nf6 9.Nc3 Nbd7 10.Nb5 Kd8 11.O-O-O a6 12.Nc3 Ke8 13.Bc4 h6 14.Bf4 e5 15.Bg3 b5

16.Bd5 Nxd5 17.Nxd5 Ra7 18.Rhe1 c6 19.Nc3 Ke7 20.Nxe4 c5 21.Bxe5 Nxe5 22.Nxc5 Kf6 23.Rd6+ Kf5 24.Rd5 Re8 25.f4 Kxf4 26.Rdxe5 Rxe5 27.Nd3+ Kf5 28.Rxe5+ Kf6 29.Re8 Bb7 30.g3 Bc6 31.Rb8 Kf5 32.Rb6 Be8 33.h3 h5 34.b3 a5 35.Kd2 a4 36.c4 axb3 37.axb3 bxc4 38.bxc4 Ra2+ 39.Ke3 g5 40.Rb2 Rxb2 41.Nxb2 Bc6 42.Nd3 Bg2 43.Nf2 h4 44.gxh4 gxh4 45.c5 Ke6 46.Kd4 Kf5 47.Ke3 Ke6 48.Nd3 Bxh3 49.Nf4+ Ke5 50.Nxh3 Kd5, draw.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Cherry Hill Round Robin 6/16/2007

Only six players showed up for today's five-round Swiss at Cherry Hill, New Jersey. So the game/30 event turned into a round robin. Here is my best game.

Round One: Philidor Defense

Boris Baczynskyj (USCF 2206) - Jim West (USCF 2202), Cherry Hill NJ 6/16/2007

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d6 3.Nc3 Nbd7 4.e4 e5 5.Bc4 Be7 6.h3 O-O 7.Be3 c6 8.a4 h6 9.Ba2 a5 10.Nh4 exd4 11.Qxd4 Ne5 12.O-O-O Nh7

13.f4 Bxh4 14.fxe5 dxe5 15.Qxe5 Qe7 16.Qxe7 Bxe7 17.h4 Bg4 18.Rd2 Rad8 19.Rf2 Be6 20.Bb6 Ra8 21.g3 Bxa2 22.Nxa2 Nf6 23.Re2 Nd7 24.Be3 Nc5 25.Nc3 Ne6 26.g4 Bc5 27.Bxc5 Nxc5 28.Rd1 Rad8 29.Red2, draw.

Friday, June 15, 2007

My Games from National Playoff

On the last weekend in March 1999, I traveled to the USCF headquarters in New Windsor, New York. Here my teammates and I competed by telephone in the national playoff among the winners of the four regional tournaments that comprise the United States Amateur Team Championship.

Round One: Dutch Defense

GM Alexander Goldin (USCF 2715) - NM Jim West (USCF 2229), National Playoff 3/27/1999

1.d4 e6 2.c4 f5 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 Bb4+ 5.Nc3 O-O 6.Nf3 a5 7.O-O Bxc3 8.bxc3 Ne4 9.Qc2 b6 10.Ng5 d5 11.Nxe4 fxe4 12.cxd5 exd5 13.c4 Bf5 14.cxd5 Qxd5 15.Qxc7 Nd7 16.Bf4 Qxd4 17.Rad1 Qa4 18.Rd5 Rac8

19.Qb7 Qc6 20.Qxc6 Rxc6 21.Rxf5 Rxf5 22.Bxe4 Rxf4 23.Bxc6 Rd4 24.e3 Rd2 25.Bxd7 Rxd7 26.Rb1 Rd2 27.Rxb6 Rxa2 28.Rb7 h5 29.Kg2 Kh7 30.Kf3 Kg6 31.Rb5 a4 32.Ra5 a3 33.e4 Ra1 34.h4 a2 35.Kf4 Kf6 36.Ra6+ Kf7 37.Kg5 Re1 38.Rxa2 Rxe4 39.Kxh5 Re5+ 40.Kg4 g6 41.Ra7+ Kf6 42.f4 Rb5 43.Rh7 Ra5 44.h5 gxh5+ 45.Rxh5 Ra1 46.Rh6+, Black resigns

* * * * * * * * * * *

Round Two: Larsen's Opening

NM Jim West (USCF 2229) - IM Blas Lugo (USCF 2495), National Playoff 3/27/1999

1.b3 e5 2.Bb2 Nc6 3.c4 Nf6 4.e3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.a3 Bd6 7.d3 Be6 8.Nf3 f6 9.Nbd2 Qd7 10.Qc2 O-O-O 11.Ne4 Kb8 12.Nc5 Bxc5 13.Qxc5 g5 14.b4 g4 15.Nd2 a6 16.Rc1 Rhe8 17.Be2 f5 18.b5 axb5 19.Qxb5 Nb6 20.a4 Na7 21.Qxd7 Bxd7 22.a5 Nd5 23.Nc4 Nc6 24.O-O f4

25.Rfe1 Ndb4 26.Red1 Bf5 27.e4 Bc8 28.Rd2 Nd4 29.Bd1 f3 30.Bc3 Nbc6 31.Kf1 Re6 32.Ne3 Rh6 33.Kg1 Rg8 34.Nf1 fxg2 35.Kxg2 Ne6 36.Bb3 Nf4+ 37.Kh1 Rd8 38.Bc4 Nd4 39.Bxd4 Rxd4 40.Ne3 Nh3 41.Nd5 Ng5 42.f4 gxf3 43.Rf2 Bh3 44.Ne3 Rf6 45.Rg1 h6 46.Rg3 c6 47.Ng4 Bxg4 48.Rxg4 Nh3 49.Rf1 f2 50.Rh4 Ng5 51.Rg4 Rd8 52.h4 Nf7 53.Kg2 Nd6 54.Rxf2 Rxf2+ 55.Kxf2 Nxc4 56.dxc4 Rd4 57.Ke3 Rxc4 58.Rg6 Rc3+ 59.Kd2 Rh3 60.Rxh6 Ka7 61.Rh5 Ka6 62.Rxe5 Rxh4 63.Kd3 b5 64.axb6, draw.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Round Three: Evans Gambit Declined

NM Jim West (USCF 2229) - NM Robert Hurdle (USCF 2300), National Playoff 3/28/1999

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.d3 Nf6 5.c3 Qe7 6.b4 Bb6 7.a4 a5 8.b5 Nb8 9.O-O d6 10.Nbd2 Bg4 11.Bb3 Nbd7 12.Nc4 h6 13.Be3 Bxe3 14.Nxe3 Be6 15.Nh4 g6 16.Bxe6 Qxe6 17.c4 c5 18.Nd5 Nxd5 19.cxd5 Qe7 20.g3 b6 21.Ng2 O-O-O

22.Ne3 Rdf8 23.Qg4 h5 24.Qh3 h4 25.g4 Qg5 26.Kh1 Kc7 27.Rae1 Nf6 28.Re2 Ng8 29.f3 Ne7 30.Rg1 f6 31.Ng2 Qh6, draw.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

My Games from USATE 1999

These are my games from the United States Amateur Team East tournament in 1999 that was won by my team Clinton: Insufficient Losing Chances for which I played board one. Naturally my favorite is the Philidor Counter Gambit in round four, featuring a "student body left" mating attack by Black.

Round One: Larsen's Opening

Jim West (USCF 2229) - Eric Mark (USCF 1983), USATE 2/13/1999

1.b3 e5 2.Bb2 Nc6 3.c4 Nf6 4.e3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.a3 Bd6 7.d3 O-O 8.Nf3 f5 9.Nbd2 Qe7 10.Qc2 Bd7 11.e4 Nf4 12.g3 Ne6 13.Bg2 Bc5 14.b4 Bb6 15.exf5 Ned4 16.Bxd4 Nxd4 17.Nxd4 Bxd4 18.Rc1 Bxf5 19.O-O Rad8

20.Ne4 c6 21.Kh1 Bb6 22.Rcd1 Bg6 23.h4 Rd4 24.Ng5 Kh8 25.Qb3 Rfd8 26.Qe6 R8d7 27.Rfe1 Qxe6 28.Nxe6 Rxd3 29.Rxd3 Rxd3 30.Rxe5 Bxf2 31.Nf4 Rxa3 32.h5 Bxg3 33.hxg6 Ra1+ 34.Bf1 hxg6 35.Nxg6+ Kh7 36.Nf8+ Kg8 37.Rf5 Bd6 38.Ne6 Bxb4 39.Nd8 Ra5 40.Bc4+ Kh7 41.Rxa5 Bxa5 42.Nxb7 Bb6 43.Kg2 Kg6 44.Kf3 Kf6 45.Nd6 Bg1 46.Ke4 Bb6 47.Ne8+ Kg6 48.Ke5 Bc5 49.Be6 Bb4 50.Bd7 a5 51.Bxc6 Bc3+ 52.Ke4 Bf6 53.Nd6 Bc3 54.Kd5 Bb4 55.Be8+ Kf6 56.Nc4 Ke7 57.Bg6 Kf6 58.Be8 Ke7 59.Bg6 Kf6, draw.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Round Two: Sicilian Defense

Saul Wanetick (USCF 2168) - Jim West (USCF 2229), USATE 2/13/1999

1.d4 e6 2.e4 c5 3.Nf3 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Bd3 Nf6 6.O-O Qc7 7.Nc3 h5 8.Qe2 Ng4 9.Nf3 Nc6 10.g3 Bd6 11.Kg2 h4 12.Bd2 hxg3 13.fxg3 Nd4

14.Qd1 Nxf3 15.Rxf3 Rxh2+ 16.Kg1 Bc5+ 17.Be3 Bxe3+ 18.Rxe3 Nxe3 19.Qf3 Rg2+ 20.Kh1 Rxg3 21.Qh5 Rg6 22.Qh8+ Ke7 23.Qh4+ f6 24.Rg1 Rxg1+ 25.Kxg1 Qc5 26.Qf2 Qg5+ 27.Kh1 b5 28.Ne2 Bb7 29.Ng3 Rh8+ 30.Kg1 f5, White resigns.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Round Three: Center Counter Defense

Jim West (USCF 2229) - Scott Massey (USCF 2266), USATE 2/14/1999

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 c6 6.Bc4 Bf5 7.Bd2 e6 8.Qe2 Bb4 9.O-O-O Nbd7

10.a3 Bxc3 11.Bxc3 Qc7 12.Ne5 Nd5 13.Bd2 b5 14.Bb3 Nxe5 15.dxe5 h5 16.Bxd5 exd5 17.Bb4 O-O-O 18.Bd6 Qa5 19.Rd4 g6 20.Qd2, draw.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Round Four: Philidor Counter Gambit

Greg Acholonu (USCF 2312) - Jim West (USCF 2229), USATE 2/14/1999

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5 4.Nc3 fxe4 5.Nxe4 d5 6.Nxe5 dxe4 7.Qh5+ g6 8.Nxg6 Nf6 9.Qe5+ Kf7 10.Bc4+ Kg7 11.Nf4 h6 12.Be6 Bb4+ 13.c3 Nc6 14.Qf5 Qe8

15.O-O Bd6 16.Bxc8 Bxf4 17.Bxb7 Bxc1 18.Bxa8 Bxb2 19.Rab1 Ba3 20.Rb3 Bd6 21.Bb7 Ne7 22.Qa5 Qg6 23.c4 Nf5 24.c5 Bf4 25.d5 Rg8 26.d6 cxd6 27.c6 Kh8 28.Rg3 Nxg3 29.hxg3 e3 30.Qxa7 e2 31.Re1 Bd2 32.Rxe2 Qb1+ 33.Kh2 Ng4+ 34.Kh3 Qh1#.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Round Five: Modern Defense

Jim West (USCF 2229) - Ron Burnett (USCF 2450), USATE 2/15/1999

1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 a6 4.a4 d6 5.f4 Nc6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.h3 e5 8.dxe5 dxe5 9.Qxd8+ Nxd8 10.Bc4 O-O 11.Nge2 Be6 12.Bxe6 Nxe6 13.f5 gxf5 14.exf5 Nd4 15.Bxd4 exd4 16.Nxd4 Rfe8+ 17.Nde2 Rad8

18.Rd1 Rxd1+ 19.Kxd1 Ne4 20.Nxe4 Rxe4 21.b3 Be5 22.Rf1 Kg7 23.Rf3 Kf6 24.g4 Kg5 25.Ng3 Rd4+ 26.Ke2 Kh4 27.Nh5 Re4+ 28.Kd2 Rd4+ 29.Ke2 Re4+ 30.Kd2 Rd4+, draw.

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Round Six: Evans Gambit Declined

Jim West (USCF 2229) - Jacob Chudnovsky (USCF 2403), USATE 2/15/1999

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.d3 d6 5.c3 Nf6 6.b4 Bb6 7.a4 a5 8.b5 Ne7 9.O-O O-O 10.Nbd2 Ng6 11.Bb3 c6 12.Nc4 Bc7 13.Rb1 d5 14.b6 Bb8

15.exd5 cxd5 16.Na3 Ra6 17.Be3 Bg4 18.h3 Bh5 19.Nc2 Qd6 20.Nce1 Nh4 21.g3 Nxf3+ 22.Nxf3 Nd7 23.g4 Bg6 24.Bc2 Rc8 25.Rb3 f5 26.Rb5 Rxc3 27.Bb3 Bf7 28.Re1 fxg4 29.hxg4 Nxb6 30.Ng5, draw.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Pardon My French

I have learned that, when it comes to the classical variation of the French Defense, the opening manuals should carry a warning label: "Pardon my French." Now I know what the books mean when they say that opening theory has long neglected the classical French. Perhaps it has been a little too long!

ECO itself is not error-free, as the following example illustrates. After the opening moves 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e5 Nfd7 6.Bxe7 Qxe7 7.f4 O-O 8.Nf3 c5 9.Bd3 f5 10.exf6 Qxf6 11.Ng5 Qxf4 12.Bxh7+ Kh8 13.Qh5, Keres and Euwe give 13...Qf2+ 14.Kd1 Nf6 15.Qh3 e5 16.Bf5+ as equal.

I suppose that they did this because White can now force a repetition of position with 16...Kg8 17.Bh7+, etc. One evening, I sat at my chessboard for fifteen minutes trying to figure out how Black draws after 16...Kg8 17.Bxc8.

The answer is: he can't!

{This article originally appeared in Atlantic Chess News in 1990}

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

USCF Executive Board Election

Yesterday I received my June issue of Chess Life. Attached to it, there was the ballot for the election of members to the USCF executive board. I filled out my ballot and am mailing it today. Whenever I vote in any election (USCF or otherwise), I am never really sure that I voted for the right persons. But I vote anyway, on the theory that people who don't vote are in no position to complain when things go wrong.

I have a couple of recommendations for the four candidates who win the election, whoever they may be.

1) In theory, chess in the schools is a good idea. But, in chess, timing is everything. How smart is it to have chess in the schools when the endgame is lost? By that I mean, most of these kids will drop chess like a hot potato when they turn eighteen years of age. About thirty years ago, I had a conversation with a chess parent from my home town. His son, a strong candidate master, had given up chess for a career in life insurance. When I asked his father why, he gave me an answer that I will never forget, "Young man, chess is a game for boys. Selling life insurance is a job for a man." Unfortunately, little has changed in the past three decades. Until the USCF finds a way to market its game to adults, chess will continue to be perceived in America as a game for kids. Ironically, the unintended consequence of chess in the schools is to reinforce this stereotype. When I was growing up, I read comic books, collected baseball cards, and played chess at the playground during summer vacations. Two of those three pastimes are now socially acceptable for adults, and one is not. How come it is okay for adults to collect comic books and baseball cards, but chess is still a game for kids? The USCF must market its game to adults. This probably means outsourcing to marketing consultants. How about earmarking some of that money for chess in the schools to an advertising campaign aimed at adults? I live in an American society where adults participate in paintball competitions, but adult attendance is down at chess tournaments. And, I think all chess players will agree, we have a better product.

2) In recent years, there has been a sharp increase in television airtime for poker, but none for chess. In my opinion, this is because poker is televised in a viewer friendly way, while chess coverage is locked into the outdated format of a single game between two players. Sure, that format worked well when it was Spassky versus Fischer in 1972. But how often does a chess match of that magnitude happen? The USCF needs to explore the possibility of televising an entire tournament like the World Open and editing it into viewer friendly segments of an hour apiece. At appropriate intervals, there should be "up close and personal" interviews with chess celebrities such as grandmasters and tournament directors. Right now, I know more about the personal lives of famous poker players than I do about those of chess players! This needs to change.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Westfield Swiss 6/10/2007

Yesterday I played in a game/30 Swiss at Westfield, New Jersey. My final score was 2-0-2. Here are the games.

Game One: Budapest Gambit, Fajarowicz Variation

Mark Powell (USCF 1505) - Jim West (USCF 2202), Westfield NJ 6/10/2007

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ne4 4.Nf3 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Nxd2 6.Nbxd2 Nc6 7.a3 Bxd2+ 8.Qxd2 Qe7 9.e3 Nxe5 10.Be2 O-O 11.O-O d6 12.Rfd1 a5 13.Nd4 Bd7

14.f4 Ng4 15.Bxg4 Bxg4 16.Re1 Bd7 17.e4 f6 18.Re3 a4 19.Rae1 Qf7 20.Qc2 Rfe8 21.f5 Re7 22.Rg3 Kh8 23.Qe2 Rae8 24.Rg4 c5 25.Ne6 Bxe6 26.fxe6 Rxe6 27.Qf3 Re5 28.Rd1 Qxc4 29.Rxd6 Qc1+ 30.Kf2 Qxb2+ 31.Kg1 R5e7 32.Qd3 Qe5 33.Rd8 Rxd8 34.Qxd8+ Re8 35.Qd7 Qd4+, White resigns.

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Game Two: Caro-Kann Defense, Exchange Variation

Jim West (USCF 2202) - Anatoly Volovich (USCF 2424), Westfield NJ 6/10/2007

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Bd3 Nc6 5.c3 Nf6 6.Bf4 Bg4 7.Qb3 Qc8 8.Nd2 e6 9.Ngf3 Be7 10.O-O Bh5 11.Rae1 Bg6 12.Bxg6 hxg6 13.h3 O-O

14.Ne5 Nxe5 15.Bxe5 Nd7 16.Bh2 Qc6 17.Nf3 b5 18.a3 a5 19.Ne5 Nxe5 20.Bxe5 Rfc8 21.Re3 Ra7 22.Rfe1 Rb7 23.Qd1 Bd6 24.h4 Bxe5 25.Rxe5 b4 26.axb4 axb4 27.h5 gxh5 28.Rxh5 bxc3 29.bxc3 Qxc3 30.Rh3 Qb4 31.Qh5 Qxe1+ 32.Kh2 Kf8 33.Qh8+ Ke7 34.Qxc8 Qb4 35.Rh8 Kf6 36.Rh4 Qd6+ 37.g3 Rb8 38.Qc1 Rg8 39.Qb1 g5 40.Rh6+ Rg6 41.Rxg6+ fxg6 42.Qd3 Qc7 43.Qf3+ Kg7 44.Qe3 Qe7 45.Kh3 Qf6 46.Kg2 Qf5 47.f3 Kh6 48.Qc3 Qf6 49.Qc5 e5 50.dxe5 Qxe5 51.Qf8+ Kh7 52.Qf7+ Kh6 53.Qf8+ Qg7 54.Qd6 Qf7 55.g4 Kh7 56.Qh2+ Kg8 57.Qb8+ Kh7 58.Qh2+, draw.

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Game Three: Philidor Counter Gambit

Sameer Mujumdar (USCF 1960) - Jim West (USCF 2202), Westfield NJ 6/10/2007

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Nc3 f5 4.exf5 Bxf5 5.Bc4 Nf6 6.d3 Nc6 7.Bg5 Be7 8.Qd2 Qd7 9.O-O-O O-O-O 10.h3 h6 11.Bxf6 Bxf6 12.Nd5 Rhf8 13.Kb1 Kb8

14.Bb5 a6 15.Ba4 Qe8 16.Rhe1 Bd7 17.Nb4 Nxb4 18.Bxd7 Qxd7 19.Qxb4 Qb5 20.Qxb5 axb5 21.d4 c6 22.dxe5 Bxe5 23.Nxe5 dxe5 24.Rxd8+ Rxd8 25.Kc1 Rd5 26.Re4 Kc7 27.Rg4 Rd7 28.Rg6 Kd8, draw.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Game Four: Sicilian Defense, Accelerated Fianchetto

Jim West (USCF 2202) - Kevin Dresher (USCF 1842), Westfield NJ 6/10/2007

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Bc4 O-O 8.Bb3 Qa5 9.f3 b6 10.Qd2 Ba6 11.O-O-O Ne5 12.Kb1 Nc4 13.Bxc4 Bxc4 14.Nb3 Bxb3 15.axb3 d6

16.Nd5 Nxd5 17.Qxa5 bxa5 18.Rxd5 Rfc8 19.Rxa5 Rc7 20.Rc1 a6 21.Ra4 Rc6 22.Bd4 Bh6 23.Rd1 Rac8 24.Bc3 f5 25.exf5 gxf5 26.g4 e5 27.gxf5 Kf7 28.Rh4 Bf4 29.Rxh7+ Kf6 30.Rd7 Bxh2 31.R1xd6+ Kxf5 32.Rf7+ Kg5 33.Bd2+ Bf4 34.Bxf4+ exf4 35.Rxc6 Rxc6 36.Rg7+ Kf5 37.Kc1 Re6 38.Rc7 Kg5 39.Kd2 Kh4 40.Rg7, Black resigns.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Queen Sacrifice versus McCormick

My best queen sacrifice is probably the one that I played against Life Master Edgar McCormick nearly twenty years ago.

Edgar McCormick - Jim West, Somerset NJ Quads 6/5/1988

1.e4 c5 2.c3 Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.d4 cxd4 5.Qxd4 e6 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Qe4 d6

8.g3 Bd7 9.Bg2 dxe5 10.Nxe5 Nf6 11.Qe2 Nxe5 12.Qxe5 Qb6

The threat is 13...Qxf2+! 14.Kxf2 Ng4+ followed by 15...Nxe5.

13.O-O Bc5 14.Nd2?

White should play 14.Qg5.

14...Bxf2+! 15.Kh1 Bc6 16.Ne4 Nxe4 17.Bxe4 O-O

To prevent my queen sac, White must now play a move like 18.Bg2.

18.Bg5?? Qc7!!, White resigns.

White's queen is lost, since 19.Qxc7 Bxe4# is unplayable.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Pisarsky - Del Rosario

This Philidor Counter Gambit was played at the Kolty Chess Club in Campbell, California. A detailed analysis of it can be found in the September-December 2003 issue of California Chess Journal beginning on page 6.

Lev Pisarsky (USCF 1983) - Frisco Del Rosario (USCF 2065), Kolty Chess Club Championship 2003

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5 4.dxe5 fxe4 5.Ng5 d5 6.c4 Bb4+

7.Bd2 e3 8.Bxb4 exf2+ 9.Kxf2 Qxg5 10.Qd2 Qxe5 11.Bc3 Qf5+ 12.Kg1 Nf6 13.Bxf6 Qxf6 14.Qe2+ Be6 15.cxd5 Qd4+ 16.Qf2 Qxf2+ 17.Kxf2 O-O+ 18.Kg3 Bxd5

19.Nc3 Bf7 20.Bb5 c6 21.Ba4 Nd7 22.Rhe1 Nc5 23.Bc2 Rae8 24.a3 Bb3 25.Bxb3 Nxb3 26.Rad1 Rxe1 27.Rxe1 g6

28.Re7 Rf7 29.Re8 Kg7 30.Ne4 h6 31.h3 Rd7 32.Kf4 b6 33.g4 c5 34.g5 hxg5+ 35.Kxg5 Nd4 36.Kg4 Nf5 37.Kf4 Rd4 38.Kg5 Kf7 39.Re5 Ng7 40.Kf4 Ne6+ 41.Ke3 Rd1 42.Ng5+ Nxg5 43.Rxg5 Rh1

44.Rg3 Rh2 45.b3 b5 46.Ke4 Rd2 47.Rg5 Rd4+ 48.Ke3 Rh4 49.Rxc5 Rxh3+ 50.Kf4 Rxb3 51.Rc7+ Kf6 52.Rxa7 g5+ 53.Kg4 Re3 54.Rb7 Re5 55.Rb6+ Ke7 56.Ra6 Kd7

57.Ra5 Kc6 58.Kh5 Kb6 59.Ra8 Kc5 60.Ra5 Kc4 61.a4 g4+ 62.Kxg4 Rd5 63.Rxb5 Rxb5 64.axb5 Kc5 65.b6 Kc6 66.b7 Kc7, draw.