Friday, July 20, 2012

A trap in the Franco-Sicilian

The Franco-Sicilian (1.e4 e6 2.d4 c5!?) is a tricky line that usually transposes to a standard Sicilian Defense after 3.Nf3 cxd4, to a Schmid Benoni after something like 3.d5 Nf6 4.Nc3 d6, or to standard Benoni lines after something like 3.d5 d6 4.c4. After 3.d5 Nf6 4.Nc3, my opponent played the weaker 4...exd5?!, allowing the strong 5.e5!. Now Black would not be too happy after 5...Ng8 6.Qxd5 or 5...Qe7 6.Qe2, and would drop a pawn after 5...Ne4 6.Nxe4 dxe4 7.Qd5. Instead, he played the tit-for-tat 5...d4??, as several other of my Internet opponents have done. This sort of thing may work OK in lines like the Alekhine-Scandinavian 1.e4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e5 d4, but not here. I played 6.exf6 dxc3 7.Qe2+!, forcing Black to drop a piece with 7...Be7. Black resigned. Note that the clever 6...Qa5!? 7.Bd2 dxc3 8.Bxc3 Qb6 9.fxg7 would not have helped Black.

An old chestnut

It's been a long time since anyone has blundered into this trap against me. It's one of the oldest known opening traps. This entire game was first noted (and perhaps played) by Greco in 1619. Note that 6...Bg7!, as in Lombardy-Regan, New York 1974, is a big improvement over 6...Nf6?? Unfortunately for Black, as I've previously written, that line is busted too. My opponent lost the old-fashioned way, 1619 style.

See you at the Chicago Class!

Still time to enter on site tonight or tomorrow a.m.!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Jon Burgess made me post this game

Both Marty Wilber and I were a bit embarrassed by our play.  But the proud father of the tournament winner made nineteen excellent moves before falling for a coffeehouse tactic.

The best thing about tripled pawns... that there are three of them.

In the last round of Saturday's Evanston Tri-Level, Matthew Wilber never really let me in the game.  While I was worried about getting mated, White shifted attention to the queenside and won in spite of the tripleton.  Or because of it!

With this smooth performance, Matthew won the "Liberté" section of the Bastille Day Tri-Level, scoring 3½-½.  NM Jon Burgess, Matthew Stevens, Zachary Holecek, Abe Sun, and Bill Brock tied for second with 3-1 scores. 

Ansari Amir won the Egalité section with a perfect 4-0; David Sye took clear second with 3-1.

Michael Feldmann won the Fraternité section with 3½-½; Kevin Taylor, Brandon Zborowski, Jerry Neugarten, and Blake Wolf tied for second with 3-1.

Thanks to Maret Thorpe and Evanston Chess for hosting fifty players at the Levy Senior Center!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Only a few hours left for Chicago Class early entry

You can still enter online for this weekend's event (it's in Wheeling, July 20-22 or 21-22, take your pick) after Monday, July 16, but it'll cost more.

I don't like to play chess for money: I find it a distraction.  On the other hand, I do cash my prize checks, and I bet you do, too.  This weekend's guaranteed prize fund is $20,000!  (As always, not guaranteed by me, but Bill Goichberg has been doing this since the 1960s....)

So enter now!

Details on ICA Tournament Calendar.

Preregister for the Illinois Open in Oak Brook this Labor Day weekend

$64, such a deal!  GMs Nikola Mitkov and Dmitry Gurevich are among the preregistrants.  (Yury Shulman is coaching the U.S. team at the Olympiad, and Mesgen Amanov may be repeating his Board 1 appearance for Turkmenistan, so you only have to fight your way past two Grandmasters this year.)  Angelo Young and Albert Chow are among the many-time winners looking to add another title to the collection.

Here's a link.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Albert Chow annotates...

Albert selected some interesting games from the Chicago Open to annotate for the ICA website.  In this first installment, 1.e4 (best by test) is featured.