Friday, August 31, 2007

NJ Open Starts Tomorrow

Tomorrow through Labor Day, the 61st New Jersey Open chess tournament will be held at the Somerset Ramada Inn.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

NJKO Draw Match

On Monday, the New Jersey Knockouts drew their inaugural match in the U.S. Chess League.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Ziping Wins Westfield Quad

My 12-year-old chess student Ziping Liu had been in a slump since the World Open in July. But he regained his form this past Sunday by winning his quad at Westfield with 2 wins and 1 draw.

Ziping's most tactical position occurred in his victory as Black against Patrick Mazzillo.

Patrick has just played 11.h4. Ziping now answered with 11...exd4 12.Nxd4 Nxd4 13.Qxd4 Nxe4! and won without too much difficulty after 14.Qg1 Nxc3.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Goeller Wins Honorable Mention

Congratulations to Michael Goeller of The Kenilworthian for winning an Honorable Mention in the Best Review category from the Chess Journalists of America in 2007!

Here is Goeller's award-winning article.

Monday, August 27, 2007

NJ Knockouts Start Season

Tonight, at Lincoln Park, the New Jersey Knockouts play their first match against the Queens Pioneers in the U.S. Chess League.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Ippolito - Shabalov

Today's chess column in The New York Times features a victory by New Jersey international master Dean Ippolito.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Birthday Present

I celebrated my birthday by drawing the following Philidor Counter Gambit at an all-masters Viking Quad in Mount Arlington, New Jersey.

Gerald Bailleau (USCF 2246) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Mount Arlington NJ 8/25/2007

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5 4.Nc3 fxe4 5.Nxe4 d5 6.Ng3 e4 7.Ne5 Nf6 8.f3 Bd6 9.fxe4 O-O 10.Be2 Nxe4 11.Bf3 Qh4 12.O-O Nc6

13.Bxe4 dxe4 14.Rxf8+ Bxf8 15.Nxc6 bxc6 16.Qe2 Bd7 17.Qc4+ Kh8 18.Qf7 Rd8 19.Bf4 Be6 20.Qxc7 Rxd4

21.Be3 Qd8 22.Qxd8 Rxd8 23.Nxe4 Kg8 24.Bxa7 Ra8 25.Bc5 Bd5 26.Bxf8 Bxe4 27.Bb4 Bxc2 28.a3 Rd8 29.Kf2 Rd1 30.Rxd1 Bxd1

31.Ke1 Ba4 32.Kd2 Kf7 33.Kc3 Ke6 34.b3 Bb5 35.Kd4 Kd7 36.Bf8 g6 37.Kc5 Kc7 38.a4 Bf1 39.g3 h5 40.Be7 Be2

41.Bf6 Bd1 42.Kc4 Kb6 43.Bd8+ Ka6 44.Kc3 Kb7 45.Kb4 Ka6 46.Bg5 Bc2 47.Kc3 Bd1 48.Be3 Kb7 49.Kc4 Ka6 50.Bd2 Kb7 51.a5 Be2+ 52.Kc5 Bd3 53.Kd6 Bc2 54.b4 Bd3 55.Ke5 Ka6

56.Kf6 Kb5 57.h3 Ka6 58.Be1 Kb5 59.Ke5 Bf5 60.Kd6 Bxh3 61.Kc7 Bg2 62.Bd2 Ka6 63.Be3 Bf3 64.Bc5 Be4 65.Be7 Bf3, draw.

Friday, August 24, 2007

An Interesting Game

Frederic Fournier [FIDE 1907] of Paris in France, homeland of Francois Andre Philidor in the 18th century, has started his own blog on the Contre Gambit Philidor (a/k/a Philidor Counter Gambit).

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bruehl - Philidor

Although there are no known examples of Philidor playing his own defense, the following game comes close. The only difference is that White does not develop his knight to f3. What makes this victory remarkable is that Philidor played it blindfold as part of a simultaneous exhibition!

John Bruehl - Francois Andre Philidor, London 5/8/1783

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 c6 3.Qe2 d6 4.c3 f5 5.d3 Nf6 6.exf5 Bxf5 7.d4 e4 8.Bg5 d5 9.Bb3 Bd6 10.Nd2 Nbd7

This position is similar to one that could arise from the Philidor Counter Gambit.

11.h3 h6 12.Be3 Qe7 13.f4 h5 14.c4 a6 15.cxd5 cxd5 16.Qf2 O-O 17.Ne2 b5 18.O-O Nb6 19.Ng3 g6 20.Rac1 Nc4

Both players have completed their development. Although the overall position is approximately equal, Black has an advantage in the center where White's dark-squared bishop is a "tall pawn" forced to blockade Black's passed e-pawn.

21.Nxf5 gxf5 22.Qg3+ Qg7 23.Qxg7+ Kxg7 24.Bxc4 bxc4 25.g3 Rab8 26.b3 Ba3 27.Rc2 cxb3 28.axb3 Rfc8 29.Rxc8 Rxc8 30.Ra1 Bb4 31.Rxa6 Rc3 32.Kf2 Rd3 33.Ra2 Bxd2 34.Rxd2 Rxb3

Black's more active rook and better minor piece give him the better chances in this endgame.

35.Rc2 h4 36.Rc7+ Kg6 37.gxh4 Nh5 38.Rd7 Nxf4 39.Bxf4 Rf3+ 40.Kg2 Rxf4 41.Rxd5 Rf3 42.Rd8 Rd3 43.d5 f4

The connected passed pawns are difficult to stop.

44.d6 Rd2+ 45.Kf1 Kf7 46.h5 e3 47.h6?? f3, White resigns.

Bruehl missed 47.Rd7+ Kf6 48.Rd8 with a likely draw. Philidor "saw" everything!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Caro-Kann at

My post on the Caro-Kann has gotten many "reads" at Jim West Talks Chess.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Philidor at

To date, there have been 186 "reads" of my post on the Philidor Defense at Jim West Talks Chess.

One of them was by Atomic Patzer.

Monday, August 20, 2007

French at

Another post with many "reads" at my Jim West Talks Chess blog is this one, on the French Defense.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Marshall Chess Club Swiss 8/19/2007

Today I scored 3-2-0 in a game/30 Swiss at the Marshall Chess Club.

Here are my three wins, including a couple of king-and-pawn endings that would probably have been drawn except for my opponents' time pressure.

Round One: Budapest Gambit, Fajarowicz Variation

Spencer Shen (USCF 1512) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Marshall Chess Club 8/19/2007

1.Nf3 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 e5 4.dxe5 Ne4 5.Nbd2 Bf5 6.Nxe4 Bxe4 7.Ng5 Bc6 8.e4 Be7 9.h4 dxe5 10.Qf3 Bb4+ 11.Ke2 Qf6 12.a3 Qxf3+ 13.Nxf3 Bd6 14.Kd3 a5

15.c5? Bxc5 16.Nxe5 Bxf2 17.Nxc6 Nxc6 18.Bf4 Bb6 19.Rc1 O-O 20.Kc4 Rfe8 21.Bd3 Ne5+ 22.Bxe5 Rxe5 23.Rhf1 Rd8 24.Rf5? Rd4+ 25.Kc3 Rxf5 26.exf5 Rxh4 27.Re1 Kf8 28.Be4 a4 29.Bxb7?? Ba5+ 30.b4 axb3+, White resigns.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Round Three: Philidor Counter Gambit

Tony Blum (USCF 1861) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Marshall Chess Club 8/19/2007

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5 4.Nc3 fxe4 5.Nxe4 d5 6.Nc3 e4 7.Ne5 Nf6 8.Bg5 Bb4 9.Be2 O-O 10.O-O c6 11.Kh1 Qe8 12.f3 Bxc3 13.bxc3 Nbd7 14.Nxd7 Bxd7 15.Bxf6 Rxf6 16.fxe4 dxe4 17.Bc4+ Kh8 18.Rb1 b6 19.Qe2 Qe7 20.Qe3 Raf8

21.Kg1 Rxf1+ 22.Rxf1 Rxf1+ 23.Bxf1 h6 24.g3 Bf5 25.Bg2 Qe6 26.a3 Bg6 27.Kf2 Qd5 28.c4 Qxc4 29.Bxe4 Bxe4 30.Qxe4 Qf7+ 31.Qf3 Kg8 32.Qxf7+ Kxf7 33.Ke3 b5 34.g4 g5 35.h3 Ke6 36.Ke4 a6 37.c3 a5 38.Ke3 Kd5 39.Kd3 c5 40.dxc5 Kxc5 41.Kc2 Kc4 42.Kb2 Kd3 43.Kb3 Ke3 44.a4?? bxa4+ 45.Kxa4 Kd3 46.Kb3 a4+ 47.Kxa4 Kxc3 48.Ka3 Kd3 49.Kb3 Ke3 50.Kc3 Kf3 51.Kd3 Kg3 52.Ke3 Kxh3 53.Kf3 Kh4 54.Kf2 Kxg4 55.Kg2 h5 56.Kh2 h4 57.Kg2 Kh5 58.Kh3 g4+ 59.Kg2 Kg5 60.Kf2 Kf4 61.Kg2 h3+ 62.Kh2 Kf3 63.Kg1 g3 64.Kh1 g2+ 65.Kh2 Kf2,White resigns.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Round Four: Sicilian Defense, Najdorf Variation

Jim West (USCF 2200) - Sarkis Agaian (USCF 2123), Marshall Chess Club 8/19/2007

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nf6 4.Nc3 cxd4 5.Nxd4 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 b5 8.O-O Be7 9.Be3 O-O 10.f4 Bb7 11.e5 dxe5 12.fxe5 Nd5 13.Nxd5 Bxd5 14.Bxd5 Qxd5 15.Nf5 Nc6

16.Qxd5 exd5 17.Nxe7+ Nxe7 18.Bc5 Rfe8 19.Bd6 Rac8 20.c3 Nc6 21.Rfe1 d4 22.Rac1 h6 23.Re4 dxc3 24.Rxc3 Na5 25.Rxc8 Rxc8 26.Kf2 Rc2+ 27.Re2 Rxe2+ 28.Kxe2 Nc4 29.b3 Nxd6 30.exd6 f6?? 31.d7, Black resigns.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

King's Indian Defense 3.e3

Earlier today I participated in the Hamilton quads where the following game was played.

Round One: King's Indian Defense

Mark Kernighan (USCF 2200) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Hamilton NJ Quad 8/18/2007

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d6 3.e3 g6 4.Bd3 Bg7 5.O-O O-O 6.c4 Nbd7 7.Nc3 e5 8.Qc2 c6 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.e4 Qc7 11.Na4 Re8 12.c5 Nf8 13.Nc3 Bg4 14.Ne2 Ne6 15.Be3 Nh5

16.Ng5 Bxe2 17.Bxe2 Nhf4 18.Nxe6 Nxe2+ 19.Qxe2 Rxe6 20.Rfd1 Bf8 21.Rd3 Ree8 22.Rad1 Rad8 23.a3 Be7 24.Kf1 Rxd3 25.Rxd3 Rd8 26.Rxd8+ Qxd8 27.Qc2 Bg5 28.Bxg5 Qxg5 29.h3 Qd8 30.Ke2 Qd4 31.b4 Kg7 32.Qd3 Qb2+ 33.Kf3 h5 34.h4 Qc1 35.g3 Qh1+ 36.Ke3 Qe1+ 37.Kf3 Qh1+ 38.Ke3 Qe1+ 39.Kf3, draw.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Damiano Redux?

In the April-June 2006 issue of Atlantic Chess News, I analyzed Damiano's Defense, arriving at the conclusion that it was refuted. But Sam Sloan made an attempt to revive the line in round eight of this year's United States Open chess tournament at Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Daniel Aldrich (USCF 1658) - Sam Sloan (USCF 1955), U.S. Open 8/4/2007

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f6 3.Nxe5 fxe5 4.Qh5+ Ke7 5.Qxe5+ Kf7 6.Bc4+ d5 7.Bxd5+ Kg6 8.h4 h6 9.Bxb7 Bd6 10.Qa5 Nc6

Obviously, Black can not play 12...Bxb7?? and allow 13.Qf5#.

11.Bxc6 Rb8 12.Nc3 Nf6 13.d3 Rf8 14.Be3 Rxb2

White has already missed several easy wins including 12.h5+ or 13.e5. He misses another one now with 15.O-O-O Bb4 16.Qxa7 Bxc3 17.Qa3 Be5 18.d4.

15.Bc5 Rxc2 16.Kd1 Rb2 17.Kc1 Rb8 18.e5 Bxe5 19.Bxf8 Bf4+ 20.Kc2 Qxf8 21.Be4+ Kf7 22.Rab1 Rb6

Up an exchange and a pawn, White is still clearly winning.

23.Rxb6 axb6 24.Bd5+ Kg6 25.Qb5 Qa3 26.Qa4?? Qxa4+ 27.Nxa4 Nxd5

Now it is Black who is winning, thanks to White's careless 26th move. Instead, 26.Qb3 would have won easily for White.

28.Re1 Bf5 29.a3 Bd6 30.Kb3 Nf4 31.d4 Nd3 32.Rf1 Kh5, White resigns.

On 33.g3 Bh3 34.Rh1 Nxf2, White loses more material.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Pirc at

The post with the most "reads" at my Jim West Talks Chess blog is the one on the Pirc Defense.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

PCG at

At my Jim West Talks Chess blog, these are some posts on the Philidor Counter Gambit: here, here, and here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Fajarowicz at

At my other blog Jim West Talks Chess, I have posted entries on the Fajarowicz Variation in the Budapest Gambit, here, here, and here.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Sunday, August 12, 2007

By Any Other Name

In today's issue of The New York Times, chess columnist FM Dylan McClain refers to "a rare variation of the Pirc" where Black "did not fianchetto his black-squared bishop."

I might have called it a Philidor where White did not develop his king knight to f3!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Cherry Hill Swiss 8/11/2007

A dozen players participated in today's game/30 Swiss at Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Five, including myself, were masters. My final score of 4-1-0 was good enough to win second place prize money of $75. The only game I lost was to Michael Katz (USCF 2232) who swept the field with a perfect score of 5-0-0.

It was a tournament of many upsets. So, in at least one game, I got paired against a lower rated player who had defeated a master in a previous round. Consequently, in none of my victories was the other player rated above USCF 2000!

The following game illustrates a common theme in my four wins: my opponent dropping a piece.

Round Five: Sicilian Defense

Jim West (USCF 2200) - Craig Gross (USCF 1937), Cherry Hill NJ 8/11/2007

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 b5 7.Bb3 e5?! 8.Nf5 Bxf5 9.exf5 Nbd7 10.O-O Be7 11.Be3 O-O

12.a4 b4 13.Nd5 Nxd5 14.Bxd5 Rb8 15.a5 Rb5?! 16.Bc6 Rb8 17.Qe2 Qc8 18.Bxd7 Qxd7 19.Qxa6 Ra8?! 20.Qd3 d5 21.Bb6 Rfc8 22.Rad1 d4 23.c3 bxc3 24.bxc3 Rxc3?? 25.Qxc3!, Black resigns.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Quick Draw in PCG

Lev Zilbermintz recently played the following quick draw in the Philidor Counter Gambit. The position after 3.Bc4 f5 is also known as the Lopez Counter Gambit.

IM Vojislav Milanovic (ICC 2404) - Lev Zilbermintz (ICC 2106), Internet Chess Club 7/28/2007

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bc4 f5 4. d3 Nf6 5. Nc3 c6 6. Bb3 Na6 7. h3, draw.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Sidney Bernstein's Perfect Quad

Michael Goeller of The Kenilworthian posted a nice article on Sidney Bernstein and his book Combat: My Fifty Years at the Chessboard.

It was 25 years ago this month that I had the tournament of my life at the Bar Point in Manhattan.

In round one, I sacrificed a pawn as Black and beat IM Israel Zilber (a/k/a "The Sheriff" in Searching for Bobby Fischer).

My next game was as White against Bernstein, and I defeated his unusual defense in the Ruy Lopez.

Next, in round three as Black, I survived a piece sacrifice by future IM Jay Bonin and won an undeserved victory.

So, here I am, paired as White against GM Michael Rohde (a game I wound up losing), bragging to Bernstein about my above-average performance. He quickly put me back in my place by telling me of a quad that he won 3-0 as a young man. As I recall, Bernstein's three opponents were Reuben Fine, Anthony Santasiere, and Arnold Denker!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

NJ Players Excel at U.S. Open

Appropriately, the United States Open chess tournament in Cherry Hill was won on tie-break by New Jersey resident GM Boris Gulko with 7 1/2 points.

Other NJ players had plus results as well, including international masters Mikhail Zlotnikov and Dean Ippolito with 7 points.

Chess blogger Atomic Patzer, who lives in New Jersey, tied for first in the Class D section.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Zilbermintz Wins with PCG

Lev Zilbermintz thinks he has found a way to defeat WGM Martha Fierro. Regarding the following game, he writes, "I dragged her into the Philidor Counter Gambit. This forced her to play against gambits, in an open position, which is Fierro's weak spot."

A year ago, Zilbermintz beat the same opponent with the PCG in a game/30 simultaneous.

Here the time control was four minutes for White and five minutes for Black.

WGM Martha Fierro (ICC 2694) - Lev Zilbermintz (ICC 2137), Internet Chess Club 7/29/2007

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5 4.Nc3 fxe4 5.Nxe4 d5 6.Ng3 e4 7.Ne5 Nf6 8.Bg5 Be7

Morphy preferred 8...Bd6 in his celebrated game against Bird.

9.Be2 O-O 10.O-O Nbd7 11.f3 exf3 12.Bxf3 c6 13.Qd2 Nxe5 14.dxe5 Ng4 15.Bxe7 Qxe7 16.Bxg4 Bxg4 17.Rfe1 Rae8 18.h3 Be6

White already stands worse because of the isolated e-pawn. Her next move further weakens her pawn structure.

19.b4 Qh4 20.Kh2 Rf4 21.a3 Ref8 22.Rf1 Rxf1 23.Rxf1 Rxf1 24.Nxf1 Qe4 25.Qg5 h6 26.Qd8+ Kh7 27.Qc7 Qf4+

Now, if 28.Kg1, Black wins by 28...d4 followed by 29...Bc4.

28.Ng3 h5 29.Qe7 h4 30.Qxe6 hxg3+, White resigns.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Final Standings

Here are the final standings for the United States Open chess tournament, held at Cherry Hill.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Last Day for U.S. Open

The United States Open chess tournament in Cherry Hill enters its last day with a 5-way tie for first place.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Rohde - Liu

Yesterday, in round seven of the United States Open chess tournament at Cherry Hill, grandmaster Michael Rohde of New York defeated Elliott Liu of California.

GM Michael Rohde (FIDE 2484) - FM Elliott Liu (FIDE 2332), U.S. Open 8/3/2007

1.Nf3 g6 2.e4 Bg7 3.d4 d6 4.Bc4 Nf6 5.Qe2 O-O 6.Nbd2 Nc6 7.c3 e5

The opening has transposed into the Pirc defense.

8.dxe5 Nxe5 9.Nxe5 dxe5 10.Nf3 Nh5 11.O-O h6 12.Be3 Qf6 13.Rad1 Bg4 14.Rd3 Rad8 15.Rfd1 Rxd3 16.Rxd3 Nf4

Black plays for the two bishops with an equal position. Ceding the bishop pair would yield an advantage to White after 16...Bxf3 17.Qxf3 Qxf3 18.gxf3.

17.Bxf4 Qxf4 18.h3 Bc8 19.Nh2 Qf6 20.Ng4 Qb6?!

Black should have played 20...Qh4, preventing White's next move.

21.Ne3 Be6 22.Bd5 Re8 23.Qd2 Bxd5 24.Rxd5 Qc6 25.Qd3 Bf6 26.Rd7 Re7 27.Ng4 Qe6

Now the superiority of White's knight to Black's bishop is apparent.

28.Rd8+ Kg7 29.Ra8 Rd7?? 30.Qxd7!, Black resigns.

White wins a piece after 30...Qxd7 31.Rg8+! Kxg8 32.Nxf6+ Kg7 33.Nxd7.

Friday, August 3, 2007

More from U.S. Open

The United States Open chess tournament continues in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Bartell - De Sa

Here former New Jersey state champion Tommy Bartell wins in round two of the United States Open chess tournament in Cherry Hill.

Tommy Bartell (FIDE 2427) - Christopher Matthew De Sa (FIDE 2200), U.S. Open 7/31/2007

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.g3 O-O 5.Bg2 d5 6.cxd5 Nxd5 7.O-O Nc6 8.e4 Nb6 9.d5 Nb8 10.Nc3 c6 11.Re1 h6

White's 11th move was uncommon. Usually White plays 11.Nd4. Black's last move prevents 12.Bg5.

12.Bf4 g5 13.Be5 f6 14.Bxb8 Rxb8 15.Nd4 c5 16.Nb3 Nd7 17.Bh3 b5 18.Be6+ Kh8 19.Rc1 Qb6 20.Kg2 f5

This position is slightly better for White.

21.exf5 c4 22.d6 Qxd6 23.Qxd6 exd6 24.Na5 Ne5 25.Nd5 Bxe6 26.fxe6 Nd3 27.e7 Rfe8 28.b3 c3 29.Red1 Nxc1 30.Rxc1 Kg8

Up an exchange, Black has a winning position.

31.b4 Rec8 32.Rc2 Kf7 33.Kf3 Ke6 34.Ke4 g4 35.e8=Q+ Rxe8 36.Nc7+ Kd7 37.Nxe8 Rxe8+ 38.Kd3 Rf8

A pawn ahead, Black still has a winning position.

39.Nb3 Rf5 40.Re2 Rd5+ 41.Ke4 Rd1 42.Kf5 Rb1 43.Kxg4 Rb2 44.Kf3 h5 45.Ke3 d5 46.Kd3 Rxe2 47.Kxe2 Ke6 48.Kd3 d4 49.Ke4 Kd6 50.a3 Ke7 51.f4 Kd6

Black has misplayed a won game into an inferior position. He should have swapped rooks by 41...Re5+. Even 42...h5 was still winning for Black.

52.h3 h4 53.g4 c2 54.g5 d3 55.Kxd3 Kd5 56.Kxc2 Ke4 57.Nc5+ Kf3 58.f5 Kg3 59.f6 Bh8 60.f7, Black resigns.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Atomic Master?

After three rounds of the U. S. Open chess tournament, fellow chess blogger Atomic Patzer is off to a good start.

If this pace continues, he may want to consider a name change to Atomic Master.